Federal investigators have fresh evidence pointing to possible obstruction by former president Trump in the investigation into top-secret documents found at his Mar-a-Lago home, reports the Washington Post. The additional evidence comes as investigators have used emails and text messages from a former Trump aide to help understand key moments last year. The new details highlight the degree to which special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the potential mishandling of hundreds of classified national security papers at Trump’s Florida home and private club focused on the obstruction elements of the case — whether the former president took or directed actions to impede government efforts to collect all the sensitive records.
Presidents and vice presidents routinely deal with classified documents, but strict guidelines from a variety of statutes have clear guidelines. The emphasis on obstruction marks a key distinction so far between the Mar-a-Lago investigation and a separate Justice Department probe into how a much smaller number of classified documents ended up in an insecure office of President Biden, as well as his Delaware home. The Trump investigation is much further along than the Biden probe, which began in November and is being overseen by a different counsel, Robert Hur. Biden’s lawyers say they have quickly handed over all classified documents found in Biden’s possession. The Trump investigation team has focused on events after Trump’s advisers received a subpoena in May demanding the return of all documents with classified markings. Smith is trying to determine if Trump or others mishandled national security documents, and if there is enough evidence to ask a grand jury to charge him with obstructing the investigation.