First on CNN: 2 people who searched Trump properties for classified documents testified before federal grand jury in Mar-a-Lago probe
By Kaitlan Collins and Katelyn Polantz, CNN
Two people who found two classified documents in a Florida storage facility for Donald Trump have testified before a federal grand jury in Washington that’s looking at the former president’s handling of national security records at his Mar-a-Lago residence, according to sources familiar with the investigation.
The two individuals who were hired to search four of Trump’s properties last fall were each interviewed for about three hours in separate appearances last week.
They were hired to search Trump’s Bedminster golf club, Trump Tower in New York, an office location in Florida and a storage unit in Florida last October, months after the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago. The extent of information they offered the grand jury remains unclear, though they didn’t decline to answer any questions, one of the sources said.
The development comes at the same time federal prosecutors are pushing to look at files on a laptop of at least one staff member around Trump at Mar-a-Lago, according to multiple sources. At times, the special counsel’s office has been unwilling to negotiate with defense attorneys over recent subpoenas, leading to tense conversations.
By pushing for access to computers, investigators are trying to determine if there is an electronic paper trail regarding the classified documents, another source said.
Taken together, the investigative moves underscore that there is continued grand jury activity in the Mar-a-Lago documents case, at a time when the Justice Department has newer inquiries into unsecured national security records underway involving President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence.
The Justice Department declined to comment to CNN, as did an attorney for Trump.
Federal prosecutors have taken a more aggressive stance in the Trump inquiry since last summer, when the Justice Department disclosed it had evidence that records Trump kept in Florida had been concealed or removed, raising the need for an obstruction investigation.
The Biden and Pence situations have been markedly different. While they also highlight sloppiness around the tracking of classified papers, both Biden’s and Pence’s teams have readily handed them back to intelligence officials.
The discovery of additional records by the two people Trump’s lawyers hired came in November, well after Trump’s team and the FBI under a court-approved warrant unearthed hundreds of other classified pages in his possession following his presidency. At that time, Trump’s lawyers were locked in a dispute with the Justice Department over whether they had adequately searched his properties and turned over all classified records still in his possession. The DOJ was unsatisfied, and their investigation has continued.
A court fight where the DOJ tried to hold Trump in contempt for not fulfilling a May 2022 subpoena for all records also remains unresolved.
Since investigators sent that subpoena, lawyers for Trump have three times responded in writing that they had performed diligent searches.
Special counsel Jack Smith and prosecutors who now work for him have used the federal grand jury nearly weekly to question witnesses in the Mar-a-Lago investigation.
The witnesses last week answered all questions they were asked, with no attempts to assert any confidentialities, one of the sources said.
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