Former President Donald Trump speaks at CPAC on August 6, 2022 in Dallas, Texas.
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The FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home last week to recover sensitive government records.
NYT reporter Maggie Haberman speculated that some of the documents Trump took could have pertained to the Russia investigation.
She said on the “Hacks on Tap” podcast that Trump had a habit of keeping documents if he thought “something was cool” or it was “personally advantageous.”
The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman speculated this week that former President Donald Trump — who she has spent decades covering — could have taken documents pertaining to the FBI’s Russia investigation when he left the White House.
The FBI executed a search warrant last week at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club and private residence and recovered boxes of government records, including 11 sets of classified documents, some of which were marked top secret.
Haberman, who broke the news about Trump’s habit of ripping up and flushing documents down White House toilets, was asked Tuesday about what she thought Trump might have taken when he left office.
She said on the “Hacks on Tap” podcast that the former president had a habit of keeping materials if he thought “something was cool” or “personally advantageous.”
“But it also could be that some of this material somehow relates to the investigation into whether his campaign was conspiring with Russia,” Haberman told podcast hosts David Axelrod and Mike Murphy, making it clear that she doesn’t know because there is a lot unknown about the documents.
She did not provide evidence or cite sources to support the claim. She also noted that the FBI’s manifest of items seized in the search doesn’t specifically mention documents connected to the Russia probe.
According to the newly unsealed records, among the items FBI agents removed were binders of photos, a handwritten note, information related to the “President of France,” and the executive grant of clemency for Trump’s ally Roger Stone.
Trump has repeatedly claimed that the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election was a “hoax” and criticized it as a politically motivated fishing expedition.
Then -special counsel Robert Mueller’s office put out a 448-page report in 2019 detailing the Russian government’s meddling in favor of Trump’s candidacy, and the ways the Trump campaign “expected it would benefit” from the Kremlin’s interference.
The report also laid out 11 instances in which Trump potentially obstructed justice in the course of the investigation.
Mueller’s team did not pursue criminal obstruction charges against Trump, citing a longstanding Justice Department policy against indicting a sitting president.
Overall, Mueller’s team indicted or secured guilty pleas or convictions from 34 people and three entities, including Stone; former national security advisor Michael Flynn; former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort; former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates; former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen; and former campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos.
Trump pardoned or commuted the sentences of Stone, Manafort, Flynn, and Papadopoulos shortly before leaving office. He did not offer clemency to Cohen, who had vocally criticized Trump and extensively cooperated with Mueller and other federal investigators after striking a plea deal.