WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is again trying to question an aide to Donald Trump, who was seen on security camera footage moving boxes of classified documents at the former president’s Florida estate, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Walt Nauta has already been interviewed by investigators investigating the possible mishandling of classified government data at Mar-a-Lago, and prosecutors want to speak to him again as they try to understand how boxes had to be moved from a storage area at the property, said the person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.
A Justice Department spokesman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
The Justice Department is investigating possible violations of multiple criminal laws, including unlawful retention of national defense information and obstruction. It is not clear if anyone will be charged.
The obstructionism aspect of the investigation came to the fore in August when prosecutors described in a lawsuit how classified documents had been “probably hidden and removed” from a storage facility in Mar-a-Lago in a possible attempt to obstruct the investigation and hinder the Ministry of Justice. attempts to restore the records.
The Justice Department issued a subpoena in May requesting the return of classified documents brought from the White House to Mar-a-Lago after Trump’s term ended.
Law enforcement officers came to collect the files on June 3 and were given an envelope containing 38 documents with classification markings. They also instructed Trump’s legal team to keep the boxes of classified documents in the storage area until further notice.
But FBI agents began to believe that more documents were left in the house and that attempts had been made to hinder their investigation. They returned on August 8 with a court-authorized search warrant and collected more than 100 documents marked as classified, including at the highest secret level.
The person who spoke to the AP declined to characterize Nauta’s precise account to authorities. The Washington Post reported earlier this month that a Trump aide, since identified as Nauta, had told the FBI that he had moved boxes at Trump’s express direction.
The New York Times, which reported earlier Monday that prosecutors wanted another interview with Nauta, also quoted a person briefed on the case as saying Nauta said he had acted on Trump’s behalf. But the paper quoted another person describing Nauta as being less specific about what he was told.
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