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Trump's Concerns Over Returning Classified Docs Amid Subpoena Revealed in Sealed Notes

Trump's Concerns Over Classified Documents and Legal Strategy Revealed in Sealed Notes

New revelations from transcripts of audio notes reviewed by ABC News shed light on Donald Trump's private concerns following a May 2022 subpoena demanding he surrender potentially classified documents. According to these notes, Trump feared that complying could lead to criminal charges. Prosecutors allege that instead of handing over documents, Trump chose to conceal them from his own lawyers. Subsequently, federal agents seized 102 classified documents, including 17 top secret ones, during a search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in August 2022.

The audio notes, previously reported by ABC News, have become central in a legal battle surrounding Trump's federal classified documents case. Prosecutors argue that these notes provide crucial evidence that Trump attempted to obstruct justice by hiding documents from investigators. Today, Judge Aileen Cannon is presiding over hearings where Trump seeks to limit the use of these notes and dismiss the entire case.

Two months before the Mar-a-Lago search, notes from Trump's former lead attorney, Evan Corcoran, detail Trump's actions and statements. These notes indicate Trump blamed his legal woes on "political enemies," resisted allowing prosecutors to review boxes potentially containing classified documents, and allegedly engaged in conduct aimed at misleading his attorneys about the retention of classified materials.

In one notable excerpt from Corcoran's notes, Trump questioned whether providing additional documents to the Department of Justice could backfire legally. "Isn't it better if there are no documents?" Trump reportedly asked, expressing concerns about potential repercussions from prosecutors.

The ongoing legal proceedings continue to unravel the complexities of Trump's handling of classified materials and his legal strategy amidst mounting scrutiny and accusations of obstruction.

Trump Campaign Spokesperson Accuses Prosecutors Amid Controversy Over Classified Documents

Steven Cheung, spokesperson for the Trump campaign, has sharply criticized prosecutors following recent developments in the ongoing legal saga involving Donald Trump and classified documents. Contacted by ABC News, Cheung accused prosecutors of dishonesty and illegal leaks, describing the entire case as a political sham that should be dismissed outright.

Prosecutors, however, allege in court filings that Trump attempted to involve his former attorney, Evan Corcoran, in what they describe as a corrupt scheme. They assert that Trump suggested to Corcoran to falsely inform the FBI that Trump did not possess classified documents, or to conceal or destroy them instead of complying with a subpoena. According to prosecutors, Trump's actions aimed to manipulate his attorney into aiding his efforts to evade legal scrutiny.

Trump, who pleaded not guilty last year to a 40-count indictment related to mishandling classified materials, has consistently denied any wrongdoing, labeling the investigation as a partisan witch hunt. Defense attorneys have argued for the protection of Corcoran's notes under attorney-client privilege. However, a federal judge ruled last year that the notes could be admitted as evidence, contending that Trump had deliberately misled his attorneys in furtherance of potential criminal activities, thereby piercing the privilege.

The legal battle intensifies amid revelations from Corcoran's recordings, where Trump expressed reluctance to allow scrutiny of documents stored at his Mar-a-Lago estate. During a meeting with Corcoran and attorney Jennifer Little, Trump reportedly brought a box containing various materials, insisting he did not want anyone inspecting its contents.

As the case unfolds, it continues to draw significant attention, highlighting complex legal arguments and allegations of misconduct surrounding Trump's handling of sensitive information during his presidency.

Corcoran's Notes Detail Trump's Response to Subpoena and Legal Strategy

In detailed notes reviewed as part of ongoing legal proceedings, Evan Corcoran documented Donald Trump's reactions and conversations regarding a subpoena for potentially classified documents. According to Corcoran, Trump repeatedly expressed a belief that he was targeted by political adversaries, emphasizing the numerous legal challenges he faced.

During their discussions, Trump asserted, "I have ten different actions against me. They are trying to get me. They're going after me. These people are ruthless," while highlighting achievements during his administration such as economic improvements, tax reductions, and border wall construction.

Corcoran recounted steering the conversation back to the subpoena and cautioning Trump about the consequences of non-compliance. When Trump queried about the possibility of ignoring or withholding information from investigators, Corcoran explained the potential for legal repercussions, including the issuance of a search warrant.

Trump allegedly revisited whether it would be advantageous to deny possessing any relevant documents. Corcoran's notes indicate Trump's persistent inquiry about the implications of such an assertion.

Jennifer Little, another attorney present, corroborated aspects of Corcoran's account during interviews with investigators. She affirmed warning Trump about the gravity of the subpoena and its potential legal ramifications.

Later that day, as they awaited Trump's next meeting, Corcoran mentioned Trump suggesting that the attorneys enjoy a walk along the beach, hinting at romantic sparks between them. However, Little cautioned that pushing Trump to comply with the subpoena could provoke a vehement response.

The unfolding revelations from these notes underscore the complexity and contentious nature of Trump's legal defense strategy amidst allegations of obstructing justice related to classified documents.

Trump's Strategic Discussions on Subpoena Response Unveiled in Mar-a-Lago Meeting

Detailed accounts from Evan Corcoran shed light on a pivotal meeting at Mar-a-Lago on May 23, 2022, where Donald Trump, alongside attorney Jennifer Little, deliberated over legal strategies in response to a subpoena. Corcoran described how Trump, insistent on privacy, directed them to leave their phones outside before convening in a small library.

During the meeting, Trump reportedly voiced concerns about potential legal consequences if he complied with the subpoena, suggesting that prosecutors were determined to pursue him through any means possible. He attributed the investigation to political adversaries aiming to undermine his presidential aspirations.

Trump emphasized his desire to understand the optimal approach to handle the investigations, expressing apprehensions that returning additional documents could escalate into criminal liability. Corcoran's notes indicate Trump questioned the advantage of having no documents to hand over, echoing earlier sentiments.

Throughout their discussion, Trump also referenced a past controversy involving Hillary Clinton's emails, praising her lawyer's handling of the situation. "He was great, he did a great job," Trump remarked, according to Corcoran's account.

Prosecutors contend that during these interactions, Trump sought to gauge Corcoran's willingness to evade the subpoena. Despite their planning to review documents responsive to the subpoena, prosecutors allege Trump subsequently altered course. They claim Trump enlisted his associate Walt Nauta to relocate boxes of materials, thwarting Corcoran's intended search.

As legal proceedings unfold, these revelations underscore the complexities of Trump's defense strategy and the ongoing scrutiny surrounding his handling of classified materials. The case continues to evolve, prompting further examination of Trump's actions and assertions during pivotal moments at Mar-a-Lago.

In the period between Donald Trump's meeting with Evan Corcoran on May 23 and Corcoran's subsequent review of boxes at Mar-a-Lago on June 2, prosecutors allege a coordinated effort by Trump and his associate Walt Nauta to relocate 64 boxes to Trump's personal residence. Text messages between Nauta and a Trump family member suggest Trump intended to personally select items from these boxes.

When Corcoran returned to Mar-a-Lago for the review, only about half of the boxes moved by Nauta had been returned for examination. Describing the process as laborious and uncomfortable due to the cramped conditions and humid weather, Corcoran documented a trove of materials inside the boxes. These included thousands of Post-it notes, magazines, emails with senators and foreign leaders, books, notebooks, and briefing materials, offering a revealing glimpse into Trump's mindset during his presidency.

Corcoran remarked in his notes that presidential biographers would have found the contents invaluable, akin to being in heaven. He also noted the eclectic mix within the boxes, ranging from presidential memorabilia and Make America Great Again hats to personal items like clothing, toiletries, and gifts from foreign dignitaries. Many boxes were sealed with white duct tape and labeled with destinations such as "W-H to M-A-L.

Trump explained to Corcoran that the boxes served as catch-all repositories for the immense volume of materials he reviewed daily in the White House residence. "I had to read these things at night so that I could be ready for calls or meetings the next day," Trump explained, describing how he would discard items into boxes in his bedroom after reviewing them.

Despite Trump's assertion that he instructed others to declassify documents brought into his residence, he acknowledged to Corcoran that merely bringing documents home did not automatically declassify them, highlighting potential legal complexities in the handling of sensitive materials.

As legal proceedings continue, the contents of these boxes and Trump's handling of classified information remain pivotal points of contention, shedding light on his presidency's inner workings and the controversies that have followed.

In the aftermath of Evan Corcoran's search at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump's handling of classified documents came under intense scrutiny. Corcoran's efforts yielded a modest stack of classified materials, which he carefully sealed in a redweld envelope secured with duct tape. Trump eagerly inquired about the findings, asking Corcoran if they were "bad" or "good," and suggesting that any sensitive items could be discreetly removed.

The next day, Corcoran facilitated a visit by Jay Bratt from the Department of Justice's National Security Division and FBI agents to retrieve the documents. Trump, however, reacted with alarm upon learning of the impending visit, expressing concerns about their intentions and questioning why senior officials like Bratt were involved.

Despite Corcoran's reassurances that the visit was routine, Trump remained apprehensive, questioning the unusual presence of high-ranking officials. He eventually relented and personally directed showing Bratt and the FBI agents the storage room against Corcoran's advice.

Prosecutors later revealed that despite Corcoran's efforts, Trump retained a significant number of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, which federal agents discovered during a subsequent search warrant execution. This discovery included documents Trump allegedly concealed from Corcoran in an attempt to evade compliance with the subpoena.

Throughout the ordeal, Trump maintained his innocence, insisting to Corcoran that he had "nothing to hide" and urging transparency during the federal agents' visit in June. The incident underscores ongoing legal challenges surrounding Trump's handling of sensitive materials and the implications for his presidency's legacy.

Later that day, the scene unfolded as Donald Trump entered the meeting where Evan Corcoran handed over classified documents to federal officials, warmly greeting Jay Bratt and the FBI agents with handshakes. "I'm glad you're here. I appreciate what you're doing. If you need anything at all, just ask Evan," Trump affirmed, as recounted by Corcoran.

Once Trump departed, Corcoran escorted the officials to the storage room housing Trump's boxes at Mar-a-Lago, allowing them to inspect the area while maintaining strict control over the boxes themselves.

Later, as Corcoran recounted in his notes, he received a phone call from Trump, who was en route to New Jersey for the summer aboard his plane. "Well, we're taking off. But look, Evan, don't call me with any bad news, okay? Don't call me with any bad news," Trump instructed, reflecting his heightened sensitivity to developments regarding the ongoing investigation.

In conclusion, the events surrounding Donald Trump's handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago paint a picture of heightened tensions and strategic maneuvers. Despite Evan Corcoran's efforts to comply with federal subpoenas and facilitate the retrieval of documents, Trump's actions suggest a complex approach to transparency and legal compliance.

Trump's interactions with federal officials, including his personal greeting and cautious supervision of their access to the storage room, underscore his awareness of the gravity of the situation. His directive to Corcoran not to deliver any "bad news" during his departure further reflects his apprehension and ongoing concerns regarding the investigation's implications.

As legal proceedings continue, these events provide crucial insights into Trump's presidency and his handling of sensitive materials, with implications that extend beyond the immediate legal challenges to the broader narrative of accountability and governance. The outcome of these investigations will likely continue to shape public perception and historical assessments of Trump's tenure in office.