Trump lawyer was discouraged from searching office for documents: report

One of Donald Trump’s attorneys has said he was “waved off” from searching the former president’s office for classified documents in the weeks before FBI agents found more than 100 such records during a court-authorised search.

According to The Guardian, Evan Corcoran has told associates that several of the ex-president’s aides had told him he needed only to look in a storage room at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club when conducting a search so he could respond to a subpoena for the documents on Mr Trump’s behalf.

He eventually discovered 38 documents with classified markings in the boxes stored there, and turned them over to the Department of Justice along with a statement, signed by another attorney, which said those documents were the entirety of classified materials being held at the ex-president’s property.

As it turned out, the statement was false because many of the most highly classified documents which had been retained by Mr Trump were being kept in his office.

Prosecutors are currently examining whether Mr Trump ordered his longtime valet, Walter Nauta, to remove boxes with classified documents from the storage room in the days before and after a subpoena was issued to compel the ex-president to return classified documents to the government.

They have reportedly obtained surveillance tapes showing boxes being removed and returned to the storage area before the FBI executed a search warrant there on 8 August 2022.

Mr Corcoran’s account of his actions before the FBI search has been put into evidence after prosecutors convinced a judge to invoke an exception to attorney-client privilege which pierces the privilege when it is more likely than not that legal advice was used to commit a crime.

He reportedly told a grand jury that Mr Trump did not personally mislead him on where classified documents could be found, but he also said the ex-president didn’t tell him to look anywhere other than the storage room.