Special counsel investigated Trump trip to Mar-a-Lago that aides ‘kept quiet’ ahead of FBI search

Investigators have looked into a previously unreported trip weeks before the law enforcement raid, ABC News reports

Alex Woodward
Monday 24 June 2024 15:14 BST
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Donald Trump reportedly visited Mar-a-Lago a few weeks before federal law enforcement agents searched the Florida property, a trip that special counsel Jack Smith and investigators scrutinized as part of a wider probe into whether the former president had obstructed law enforcement in the classified documents case.

Trump’s aides tried to keep that trip “quiet,” according to ABC News, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Investigators probed that previously undisclosed visit — reportedly in July of 2022, less than a month before the FBI searched the compound — as part of a broader investigation into whether the former president had obstructed the government’s attempts to retrieve classified documents that were allegedly unlawfully in his possession.

Trump normally spends the summer at his Bedminster club in New Jersey, and his home would have been under construction at the time of the three-day visit, which confused Mar-a-Lago staff who didn’t know where he could stay, according to ABC.

“They were keeping this one quiet ... nobody knew about this trip,” one witness who spoke with investigators told ABC.

The former president faces 40 separate charges stemming from allegations that he withheld hundreds of documents after leaving the White House, then conspired to obstruct the government’s attempts to get them back.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Special counsel Jack Smith, whose office is leading an investigation into whether Donald Trump illegally withheld classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago property and then obstructed law enforcement attempts to get them back
Special counsel Jack Smith, whose office is leading an investigation into whether Donald Trump illegally withheld classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago property and then obstructed law enforcement attempts to get them back (AP)

His co-defendants Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira, who are accused of helping Trump mishandle documents at the Florida property, have also pleaded not guilty.

The revelation of the previously unreported trip follows allegations that Trump changed a lock on one of his closets while an attorney was searching for documents in a basement storage room. FBI agents did not check the locked closet during the August 2022 search.

A superseding indictment also accuses Nauta of making a similarly unplanned trip to Mar-a-Lago, where he allegedly conspired with De Oliveira to delete security camera footage.

Attorneys for the former president and special counsel lawyers are in federal court this week to continue a three-day series of hearings on whether Smith’s office was unlawfully created and funded.

Prosecutors have also been granted a hearing on their request for Judge Aileen Cannon to impose a limited gag order in the case, which would block Trump from making statements that pose a “significant, imminent, and foreseeable danger” to law enforcement.

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