Aileen Cannon Working Hard to Protect Stan Woodward; Doing Nothing to Protect Walt Nauta or Carlos De Oliveira

In this post, I noted all the things in DOJ’s reply on their motion for a Garcia hearing that had to have come from the grand jury, and assumed that DC Chief Judge James Boasberg must have permitted DOJ to share it.

As described here, yesterday’s reply on the motion for a Garcia hearing in the stolen documents case revealed a good deal of grand jury information about Yuscil Taveras’ testimony.

It revealed:

  • Trump’s IT worker, Taveras, testified (falsely, the government claims) in March
  • DOJ obtained two more subpoenas for surveillance footage, on June 29 and July 11, 2023 (the existence of those subpoenas, but not the date, had already been disclosed in a discovery memo)
  • It included the docket number associated with the conflict review — 23-GJ-46 — and cited Woodward’s response to the proceedings
  • James Boasberg provided Taveras with conflict counsel
  • Taveras changed his testimony after consulting with an independent counsel

Under grand jury secrecy rules, DC Chief Judge Boasberg would have had to approve sharing that information, but the docket itself remains sealed and Boasberg has not unsealed any of the proceedings.

A filing submitted from DOJ shows that I was right.

It also shows that Judge Aileen Cannon and Walt Nauta attorney Stan Woodward are engaged in a game that is doing nothing to ensure that Nauta’s getting unconflicted legal representation, but it is protecting Trump’s protection racket.

Let’s review the timeline.

On August 2, DOJ filed their original motion for a Garcia hearing, describing, generally, that Yuscil Taveras had testified against Nauta, which presented a conflict for Woodward, even before you consider the three other possible trial witnesses — of seven remaining witnesses — he also represents. DOJ submitted a sealed supplement with information on those three as well as other information, “to facilitate the Court’s inquiry.” Five days later, Cannon ordered that filing stricken, stating that, the government had, “fail[ed] to satisfy the burden of establishing a sufficient legal or factual basis to warrant sealing the motion and supplement.” In her drawn out briefing schedule on the question, she instructed Stan Woodward to address, “the legal propriety of using an out-of-district grand jury proceeding to continue to investigate and/or to seek post-indictment hearings on matters pertinent to the instant indicted matter in this district.”

On August 17, Woodward responded. He contended that Garcia hearings only covered when an attorney represented two defendants, but ultimately argued that, rather than adopt a more traditional method of resolving such a conflict (such as replacing Woodward), Judge Cannon should exclude Taveras’ testimony.

The government’s reply — filed on August 22 — is the one that made public more, damning, information on what went down in June and July.

Three more days passed before Woodward submitted a furious motion requesting opportunity to file a sur-reply. In it, filed 23 days after DOJ’s original submission and sealed filing, he accused DOJ of contravening, “a sealing order issued by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia,1” though in a rambling footnote, he admitted maybe DOJ had requested to unseal this ex parte.

1. Defense counsel is not currently aware of any application by the government to unseal defense counsel’s submission. To have done so ex parte is arguably less professional than deliberately violating the Court’s sealing order. The government did not solicit defense counsel’s position on the unsealing of defense counsel’s own submission, but appears to have deliberately misled both the District Court for the District of Columbia and this Court. Of course, if they did seek such an application ex parte, this would be the second time in as many weeks that the government has done so – a particularly ironic approach given the Special Counsel’s objection to the Court conducting any ex parte inquiry of Mr. Nauta.

In a fit of Trumpist projection, Woodward also complained that DOJ was doing things that might lead to tampering with witnesses.

2 In the time since the government’s submission, defense counsel has received several threatening and/or disparaging emails and phone calls. This is the result of the Special Counsel’s callous disregard for how their unnecessary actions affect and influence the public and the lives of the individuals involved in this matter. It defies credulity to suggest that it is coincidental that mere minutes after the government’s submission, at least one media outlet was reporting previously undisclosed details that were disclosed needlessly by the government.

Projection, projection, projection.

Well, it worked. Judge Cannon granted Woodward’s motion, even giving him one more day than he asked, until August 31 instead of August 30 (remember that she scheduled a sealed hearing sometime in this timeframe). Which will mean that because of actions taken and inaction by Aileen Cannon, Walt Nauta will go the entire month of August without getting a conflict review.

Meanwhile, on August 16, DOJ filed a motion for a Garcia hearing to discuss the three witnesses represented by Carlos De Oliveira’s attorney who may testify against him. Best as I can tell, Cannon is simply ignoring that one. Fuck De Oliveira, I guess.

After Cannon assented to yet more delay before she addressed the potentially conflicted representation of two of three defendants before her (someday, Cannon may even have to deal with conflicts Todd Blanche has, since he also represents Boris Epshteyn), DOJ submitted notice sharing a filing they submitted before the DC grand jury, assenting to Woodward’s request, filed just yesterday morning (that is, three days after their reply), asking to unseal stuff that was already unsealed.

It includes the Woodward filing, from which DOJ’s reply quoted, that Woodward claims DOJ cited out of context.

The full filing doesn’t help Woodward.

Indeed, Woodward’s own filing suggests that if Taveras wanted to cooperate with the government, that would entail seeking a new attorney.

Ultimately, this is little more than a last-ditch effort to pressure [Taveras] with vague (and likely nonexistent) criminal conduct in the hopes that [Taveras] will agree to become a witness cooperating with the government in other matters. See Government Filing, p. 10 (“A conflict may arise during an investigation if a lawyer’s ‘responsibility to his other clients prevents the lawyer from exploring with the prosecutor whether it might be in the interest of one witness to cooperate with the grand jury or to seek immunity if the witness’s cooperation or testimony would be detrimental to the lawyer’s other client.’ [] ‘Professional ethics prevent [an attorney] from advising a witness to seek immunity or leniency when the quid pro quo is testimony damning to his other clients, to whom he also owes a duty of undivided fidelity[.] [] In many cases, however, that advice is precisely what the client needs to hear, even, or perhaps especially, when it ‘is unwelcome’ advice that ‘the client, as a personal matter, does not want to hear or follow.’ [] (internal citations omitted)). Ultimately, [Taveras] has been advised by counsel that he may, at any time, seek new counsel, and that includes if he ultimately decided he wanted to cooperate with the government. However, [Taveras] has not signified any such desire and that means counsel for [Taveras] can continue to represent [Taveras] both diligently and competently. [my emphasis]

And the filing makes clear that DOJ addressed at more length the conflict presented because Woodward was being paid by Save America PAC; while I’m uncertain about the local rules in SDFL, in DC there is a specific rule 1.8(e), requiring informed consent when an attorney is paid by someone else. While Woodward addressed it (see below), Woodward’s own description that Taveras could get another lawyer if he wanted to cooperate would seem to conflict with that rule’s independence of representation, and when he addresses the rule, Woodward doesn’t address confidentiality.

Furthermore, when Woodward addresses why being paid by Save America PAC is only natural for Taveras because Taveras worked for Trump, he makes an argument that wouldn’t explain the entirety of his representation for Nauta — or, for that matter, Kash Patel, a known Woodward client who testified in the stolen documents case.

While the government has often sought to imply an illicit purpose for the Save America PAC covering the legal costs of certain grand jury witnesses, the truth has always been very simple and legitimate: many of the grand jury witnesses, including [Taveras], are only subject to this investigation by virtue of their employment with entities related to or owned by Donald Trump. Save America PAC has placed no conditions on the provision of legal services to their employees. Ultimately and in compliance with Rule 1.8, [Taveras] was advised that Save America PAC would pay his legal fees, that [Taveras] could pursue other counsel than Mr. Woodward if he so desired, that Save America PAC was not Mr. Woodward’s client, that [Taveras] was Mr. Woodward’s client, and that [Taveras] could always make the decisions relating to the trajectory of [Taveras]’s grand jury testimony. [my emphasis]

Taveras is only a witness because Trump paid him to do IT work. But for much of the conduct about which Kash must have given testimony, represented by Woodward, he was the Acting Chief of Staff at the Pentagon. That’s the period when, per Kash, Trump conducted a wild declassification spree in his last days as President before packing up boxes to move to Mar-a-Lago.

And while most of Nauta’s exposure as a witness (and now defendant) arises from things Nauta did as Trump’s valet after both left the White House, ¶25 of the superseding indictment, describing the process by which Trump and Nauta packed up to leave, entails conduct from before Nauta left government employ.

If Trump were to be charged with 18 USC 2071, Nauta would be a witness to that.

In other words, brushing off the financial conflict with Taveras is one thing, but this conflict is also about Nauta. And Nauta is now being prosecuted for conduct that may have begun when American taxpayers were paying him, not Donald Trump. One of the things Nauta may be hiding by not cooperating are details about Trump’s overt intentions as they both packed up boxes.

And that’s not even the most damning part of the filing DOJ submitted yesterday.

DOJ also submitted its initial motion to unseal grand jury materials, submitted on July 30, in advance of the Garcia motion.

That motion reveals, first of all, that DOJ informed Judge Cannon of the conflict hearing on June 27.

On June 27, 2023, the government filed a sealed motion asking the Court to conduct an inquiry into potential conflicts of interests arising from attorney Stanley Woodward, Jr.’s simultaneous representation of [Taveras] and Waltine Nauta (“conflicts hearing motion”); and a separate sealed motion seeking Court authorization to disclose the conflicts hearing motion by, among other things, attaching a copy of the motion to a sealed notice to be filed in United States v. Donald J. Trump, Waltine Nauta, and Carlos De Oliveira, No. 23-cr-80101 (S.D. Fla.) (“Florida case”). The Court granted both motions, and the government filed the sealed notice, with a copy of the conflicts hearing motion attached, the same day.

As DOJ noted in its reply, that’s what the sealed docket entries 45 and 46 are.

That is, Aileen Cannon knew this was happening in real time. DOJ wasn’t hiding anything from her.

That motion to unseal also describes that DOJ intended to file “all information related to the conflicts hearing,” including the appointment of Michelle Peterson to represent Taveras, in a sealed supplement to its motion for a Garcia hearing.

The government therefore moves for an order permitting it to disclose to the court in the Florida case all information related to the conflicts hearing, including the fact and dates of the hearing, the resulting appointment of AFPD to represent [Taveras], and, if necessary, any filings, orders, or transcripts associated with the conflicts hearing. The government initially intends to include such information only in a sealed supplement to its motion for a Garcia hearing.

In other words, these two docket entries that Judge Cannon ordered be stricken, five days after they were posted and therefore made available to both Cannon and Woodward?

They include the material that, Woodward claims, he had never seen before DOJ’s reply.

Judge Cannon just gave Woodward another bite at the apple, as well as another six days before his client gets a Garcia hearing, based off Woodward’s claim that he had never seen information DOJ had shared (and which would have been available to Woodward for five days) but then Cannon herself had removed from the record. DOJ did provide this information in its initial motion. But because of actions Cannon took — the judicial equivalent of flushing that information down the toilet — Woodward (after waiting three days himself before first asking Judge Boasberg to share the information) claimed that he had never seen it before.

DOJ may have had a sense of where this was going, because back on July 30, in the same paragraph where they asked for permission to submit this information as part of a sealed supplement, DOJ also asked for permission to share it in unsealed form if things came to that.

[T]o ensure that it does not need to return to the Court for further disclosure orders, the government also seeks authorization to disclose information related to the conflicts hearing more broadly in the Florida case, as the need arises, including in briefing and in-court statements related to the Garcia hearing.

Things did, indeed, come to that.

And Woodward may have gotten notice of all that from Judge Boasberg’s order on July 31.

Things are going to get really testy going forward (if they haven’t already under seal) because, in a filing that DOJ did not first ask permission to file (but which I suspect would be authorized by a sealed order elsewhere in the docket, not to mention general ethical obligations requiring DOJ to inform her of everything going on in DC), DOJ just revealed that Judge Cannon threw out precisely the information that she’s now using to grant Woodward’s request for a sur-reply and — between the three days he waited to ask and the six she granted him to respond — nine more days to delay such time before Walt Nauta might be told about the significance of all the conflicted representation Woodward has taken on.

But I also expect that this will escalate quickly in one or another forum. Aileen Cannon was informed weeks ago of two significant conflicts in the representation of defendants before her, and rather than attend to those conflicts (or decide, simply, that she was going to blow them off, which in some forms might be an appealable decision), she has helped Woodward simply stall any resolution to the potential conflict.

Remember how I’ve promised I would start yelling if I believed that Cannon was doing something clearly problematic to help Trump? I’d say we’re there.

Update: Corrected my own math on the delay, which I said was 11 days but is 9. Ignoring that Cannon asked for lengthy briefing on a topic that most judges would just issue an order on, the key delays are:

  • 5 days before Cannon flushed the sealed supplement down the judicial toilet
  • 3 days between the DOJ reply and Woodward’s panicked demand for a sur-reply based on a claim that DOJ hadn’t previously raised the things Cannon flushed
  • 6 days of delay before Woodward will submit his sur-reply

Trump Changed the Lock in His Residence before Changing the Lock on the Storage Room

In another motion for a Garcia hearing in the Trump stolen documents case, DOJ revealed that Trump changed a lock on a storage closet in his own residence on June 2, before changing the lock on the storage closet where his classified documents had been stored for months.

At issue is one of three clients of Carlos De Oliveira’s attorney, John Irving, that DOJ says may testify at trial.

Recall that Stan Woodward represents seven clients interviewed in this matter, and did represent Yuscil Taveras before he got a new lawyer and cooperated against Woodward client Walt Nauta. DOJ tried to describe those conflicts under seal, which Judge Aileen Cannon refused, which may be why DOJ has laid out these conflicts in an unsealed court filing.

The three witnesses whom Irving represents include a Trump Employee 3 — the person who told Nauta that Trump wanted to see him before Nauta flew to Mar-a-Lago and allegedly tried to delete surveillance video, a former Trump assistant (possibly Chamberlain Harris?) who knew of movements of boxes to Mar-a-Lago, and the head maintenance worker at MAL whom De Oliveira replaced, referred to as Witness 1 in the filing.

The most damning testimony the Witness 1 provided debunked the excuse De Oliveira made to explain why he was taking pictures of surveillance cameras at MAL.

Witness 1 was a maintenance worker at Mar-a-Lago who served as head of maintenance before De Oliveira took over that position in January 2022. Witness 1 has information demonstrating the falsity of statements De Oliveira has made to the Government. In addition to the false statements De Oliveira made to the FBI that are the basis for the false-statements charge in Count 42 of the superseding indictment, he also made false statements in an April 2023 interview with the FBI and members of the Special Counsel’s Office in Washington, D.C. In particular, when confronted with video footage appearing to show him photographing surveillance cameras in the tunnel at Mar-a-Lago near the storage room where the FBI recovered some of the classified records, De Oliveira claimed he was (1) looking for a shutoff valve because a water pipe had ruptured on the grounds of Mar-a-Lago, and (2) documenting a broken door below one of the cameras. Witness 1 has information about when the pipe broke and the door needed repairs that is inconsistent with De Oliveira’s statements.

But the more interesting testimony is that De Oliveira changed the lock on “a closet inside Trump’s residence … on June 2, 2022” after moving boxes with Walt Nauta.

Witness 1 also has information about De Oliveira’s loyalty to Trump and about De Oliveira’s involvement in the replacement of a lock—at the direction of Trump—on a closet inside Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago on June 2, 2022, the day Nauta and De Oliveira moved boxes as described in paragraphs 62-63 of the superseding indictment.

De Oliveira’s the guy who changed the lock on the storage room after Jay Bratt instructed Evan Corcoran to secure it, then gave away the key to some whose identity he claimed to forget when the FBI showed up on August 8 last year.

Agents had another concern: The lock on the door to the storage room was flimsy. The officials urged staff to put a better lock on the door, which De Oliveira did — using a hasp and a padlock to keep it secure, the people said. If there were still highly sensitive classified documents in the room, such a lock was far from sufficient, but it was better than nothing.


When FBI agents arrived at Mar-a-Lago the morning of Aug. 8 with a court-issued search warrant, De Oliveira was one of the first people they turned to. They asked him to unlock a storage room where boxes of documents were kept, people familiar with what happened said. De Oliveira said he wasn’t sure where the key was, because he’d given it to either the Secret Service agents guarding the former president or staffers for Trump’s post-presidency office, the people said.

Frustrated, the agents simply cut the lock on the gold-colored door. The incident became part of what investigators would see as a troubling pattern with the answers De Oliveira gave them as they investigated Trump, the people said.

But apparently, sometime before that, De Oliveira added a lock to a closet within Trump’s residence, one that may have stored some subset of the roughly 35 boxes that didn’t get moved back into the storage closet so Corcoran could search them.

Perhaps that lock was designed to ensure that Evan Corcoran didn’t accidentally find the other 35 boxes full of classified documents.

The fact that he changed that lock makes his paltry efforts to secure the main storage closet all the more damning.

How 9 Months of Camera Footage became 8 Years

Even while Trump’s attorneys argued that he should be permitted to discuss classified information on private property that was already targeted by foreign spies before it became clear he was hoarding boxes of classified records there and may not have turned everything back, they argued that to investigate what happened with the stolen classified documents while in Trump’s custody, the FBI had to get 8 years worth of camera footage.

Actually, more than that. Trump’s response claimed that three-quarters of the total surveillance video turned over to date makes up 8 years, meaning the total would amount to around 128 months of surveillance footage.

To be sure, this is part of competing efforts to inflate (Trump) or understate (DOJ) the amount of discovery in this case.

I’m tracking those competing claims about what has been turned over in this table.

The latest claims — that would suggest that DOJ had turned over around 128 months worth of surveillance footage — reflect an evolving methodology on Trump’s part. On July 10, Trump’s lawyers described the initial batch of surveillance footage to be “approximately nine months of CCTV footage.”

The initial production also included some 57 terabytes of compressed raw CCTV footage (so far there is approximately nine months of CCTV footage, but the final number is not yet certain).

On July 18, Todd Blanche described that the footage Trump’s discovery vendor had uploaded as of that morning amounted to 1,186 days — or “over three years” worth of video.

Your Honor, just starting with a question you asked Mr. Bratt a while ago about just one part of the discovery, which is the CCTV footage, which is extraordinarily significant to this case, not only as what’s obvious from the indictment, but it also in part gave rise to the search warrant, the affidavit, and the probable cause to search Mar-a-Lago. As of this morning, there’s 1,186 days of footage that we have uploaded so far, and our vendor is not finished uploading it. And again, I’m not questioning Mr. Bratt’s position about the time period, but there’s multiple cameras that were subpoenaed and that have been produced to us as Rule 16 discovery; and as of today, it’s over three years’ worth of video.

Now, I’m not suggesting to the Court that we’re going to sit for three years and watch three years’ worth of video, but it’s a tremendous amount of data and information, and we’re just — I’m just talking right now about the CCTV footage. While the Government is correct that they have pointed us to the few days that they believe are the most significant to them as it relates to the charges in the indictment and presumably the search warrant, they’re not the most significant to us. I mean, the movement of boxes and where boxes were on given days is extraordinarily significant not only to the justification for the search warrant of the President’s residence but also to the defense of the case. And so the CCTV footage alone, over 1,186 days, makes the schedule the Government proposed pretty disingenuous, Your Honor.

Yesterday’s filing describes that when Trump’s vendor finished uploading that first batch of surveillance footage — which was 57 terabytes out of 76 total — it amounted to 8 years of footage.

Furthermore, the government has produced approximately 76 terabytes of compressed raw CCTV footage, which is itself an incredible volume of material. Last week defense counsel finally finished processing the intake of CCTV footage that the government produced on June 21—the 57 terabytes of CCTV footage produced on June 21 totals nearly eight years of video. On July 31, the government produced an additional 19 terabytes of CCTV footage, including, according to the government’s production letter, “footage that was produced to the government in May that was not included in the government’s first discovery production.” Counsel recently received a hard drive with CCTV footage referenced in the government’s July 31 letter, and we are still processing that discovery to assess the total length of additional video the government produced.

That’s where my 128 months estimate comes from: if 57 terabytes amounted to eight years, then 76 might amount to 10.66.

To be sure, this effort to maximize the scope of the surveillance footage is just meant to impress Judge Cannon and it might well work.

But it also provides some way to reverse engineer what the scope of the surveillance footage really is.

For example, if the scope of this includes footage spanning 9 months of time, as Trump originally claimed, then 10.66 years of footage might suggest 10 cameras were ultimately obtained; according to the search affidavit, there were 4 cameras — from the hallway outside the storage room — covered by the initial production, and by counting using Trump’s new method, 2 months of footage from four cameras would amount to eight months of surveillance footage.

It’s funny math, but now there’s more than 16 times that.

Note that in July, Bratt confirmed the unsurprising detail that some of the footage is from Bedminster (which is probably why DOJ hasn’t done a search on Bedminster — because they could validate the thoroughness of the search done in November or December).

MR. BRATT: So it covers a nine-month period, but not all the cameras were — but it is not all the cameras at Mar-a-Lago or Bedminster; not all the cameras were always running. And the retention period that the Trump organization had varied from camera to camera, so it is not a solid nine months of video footage.

Now, I’m interested in the scale of the footage for several reasons. Yesterday’s motion pointed to the 8 years of footage as proof that nothing ever got deleted.

As relevant here, the charges allege various obstruction-related conduct arising out of false claims of efforts to destroy certain video tapes. No videotapes were deleted or destroyed and the government does not so allege; indeed, President Trump has produced to the Special Counsel’s Office what amounts to more than eight years of CCTV footage.

It’s certainly possible that when DOJ started the investigation that led to multiple obstruction charges, they were just trying to figure out why Trump totally blew off the part of the initial subpoena that asked for locations in addition to the hallway outside the storage room (which I laid out here).

Particularly given that the claim accompanied the suggestion that the alleged attempt to delete footage in June 2022 was “false,” I certainly wouldn’t credit the amount of footage eventually obtained by the government as proof that nothing was deleted. It’s not even clear that all the footage comes from Trump Organization, much less the guy who used to be President.

But the other reason I remain obsessed about the amount and types of surveillance footage here (besides, perhaps, my PhD in literature), has to do with the types of questions investigators may have been trying to answer.

Take, for example, the claim by Bratt on July 18 that the movement of boxes key to the initial obstruction conspiracy happened on May 24 through June 2.

With respect to the closed circuit television and the movement of boxes, I would just note that the movement of boxes occurred between May 24th and June 2nd. So it’s not years’ worth of video with respect to the movement of boxes.

If so, that would suggest Nauta’s movement of a single box on May 22 was something besides an attempt to obstruct the subpoena response.

Or consider the way Trump’s lawyers boast about what an unusual place Mar-a-Lago is.

We similarly reminded the government of the uniqueness of President Trump’s residence, including that it is in a highly protected location guarded by federal agents that previously housed a secure facility approved for not only the discussion, but also the retention, of classified information. The government’s Motion suggesting we anticipated discussing classified information in an unsecure area is wrong, and they are fully cognizant of that fact. Similarly, the government’s statement to the court in its Motion that President Trump’s personal residence should be compared to the residence of “any private citizen” is misleading. This is especially true given the necessary protections afforded to our nation’s leaders after they leave office and the uniqueness of the location of President Trump’s residence, coupled with the fact that a secure location already existed for the relief sought herein and can be re-established with appropriate safeguards.6

6The statement comparing President Trump’s personal residence at Mar-a-Lago to that of “any private citizen” is all the more disingenuous considering a member of the prosecution’s trial team has visited the Mar-a-Lago property during the course of the investigation and is therefore personally aware of the differences between President Trump’s residence and that of “any private citizen.”

This neglects to explain why no sane person would want to restore a SCIF at Mar-a-Lago as explained very easily in the indictment.

The Mar-a-Lago Club was located on South Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach, Florida, and included TRUMP’s residence, more than 25 guest rooms, two ballrooms, a spa, a gift store, exercise facilities, office space, and an outdoor pool and patio. As of January 2021, The Mar-a-Lago Club had hundreds of members and was staffed by more than 150 full-time, part-time, and temporary employees.

Between January 2021 and August 2022, The Mar-a-Lago Club hosted more than 150 social events, including weddings, movie premieres, and fundraisers that together drew tens of thousands of guests.

Mar-a-Lago shouldn’t be compared to the residence of “any private citizen,” sure, but for entirely different reasons than Trump’s lawyers want to admit: it’s a counterintelligence nightmare, and was long before Trump started hoarding classified documents in the gaudy shower, and was even ignoring the known targeting of the compound by foreign spy services.

One thing those surveillance videos are going to show is people besides Walt Nauta who got into the storage closet, perhaps to stash their guitar there, and in the process knocking over and discovering classified records that as a result have to be burned.

If there really is over 10 years worth of video surveillance, spread across a bunch of cameras and two properties, it’s likely some of the surveillance will show stuff Trump didn’t control, but stuff for which he should be held accountable.

Update: Added the quote about Bedminster bc as coalesced notes, Bratt’s comment about retention period is also worth noting.

Shorter DJT: Mexico Will Pay for My New SCIF

In Trump’s response to DOJ’s motion for a classified protective order in the stolen documents case, his lawyers clarified that they didn’t so much want to discuss classified documents with Trump while sitting in his offices, which is how the government represented their request, but instead wanted to restore the SCIF at one or another of his resorts.

Even there, the response itself says that Trump wants to review classified materials in a restored SCIF, while a footnote disavows that, then says he wants the space where he used to review such material, with another footnote disavowing a plan to transport classified documents there now.

President Trump opposes any portion of the Proposed CIPA Protective Order that prohibits counsel from simply discussing the relevant purportedly classified material with President Trump inside an approved secure location other than the designated SCIFs in the Southern District of Florida where the classified discovery will be housed. President Trump respectfully requests that the Proposed CIPA Protective Order be modified to approve re-establishment of a secure facility in which President Trump was permitted previously to discuss (and review2 ) classified information during his term as President of the United States.3

2 To be clear, President Trump is not asking for the proposed CIPA Protective Order to be modified to permit any classified materials to be transported to or reviewed or stored in, this location.

3 Counsel can provide additional information about President Trump’s proposed secure location but respectfully request that such information be provided in camera because of security concerns.


So that President Trump and his legal team may discuss classified information in a substantive manner as regularly as necessary to prepare an adequate defense, we respectfully request that the Court approve re-establishment of a secure facility in which President Trump previously discussed (and reviewed5 ) classified information during his term as President of the United States.

5 Again, President Trump is not requesting that any classified materials be transported to or reviewed or stored in this location. [my emphasis]

Throughout this filing, Trump refers to purportedly classified material in the body of his argument, then disavows wanting to transport classified material in a footnote.

To that end, President Trump requests that the Court approve the renewed use of the previously approved and appropriately secure location so that he is then able to discuss the relevant classified information with his counsel without the need to mobilize his security detail and state and local law enforcement every time he has a conversation regarding his defense as it relates to purportedly classified information.8

8 Again, President Trump is not asking for the proposed CIPA Protective Order to be modified to permit any classified materials to be transported to, or stored in, this location.


Indeed, the government has the authority to discuss the purported classified material in other approved facilities outside of a Court designated SCIF, and we anticipate it does so regularly. That is not inconsistent with the law so long as they are having those discussions in a secure, approved facility. Our request is to have the same opportunity. We are seeking the Court’s permission to discuss classified information in a secure facility that was long approved for such use and met then, and could easily meet now, the standard required by our nation’s intelligence community to ensure protection of information deemed classified. [my emphasis]

All the reassurances that Trump doesn’t want to store classified material back at Mar-a-Lago modify claims that it might not be classified. Given those caveats, there’s a big question whether stolen classified documents will end up right back at Mar-a-Lago.

Put aside the gimmick here — Trump is demanding that the government make his home a legal place for classified information, which still amounts to seeking, “permission to do so in the very location at which he is charged with willfully retaining the documents charged in this case.”

This is also a filing about Secret Service. The response and Todd Blanche’s related declaration describes that this proposal is based on, “multiple communications with several individuals who are familiar with the required security protocols surrounding President Trump and his family.” But it doesn’t describe any consultation with the people whose job it is to protect classified records.

6. When President Trump was in office, there was a designated, secure location where classified information was approved to be housed and discussed. We have had discussions with officials familiar with this arrangement.

Blanche says that because he had discussions with the Secret Service agents who know where the SCIF was, it’s the same as discussing security arrangements for building and maintaining one.

That is, this filing is about conflating the protection of Trump with the protection of classified records.

Indeed, Trump repeatedly minimizes the risk of storing classified records at Mar-a-Lago, with all the spies targeting it (which I’ll return to), because of the Secret Service detail there.

Similarly, the government’s statement to the court in its Motion that President Trump’s personal residence should be compared to the residence of “any private citizen” is misleading. This is especially true given the necessary protections afforded to our nation’s leaders after they leave office and the uniqueness of the location of President Trump’s residence, coupled with the fact that a secure location already existed for the relief sought herein and can be re-established with appropriate safeguards.6

6 The statement comparing President Trump’s personal residence at Mar-a-Lago to that of “any private citizen” is all the more disingenuous considering a member of the prosecution’s trial team has visited the Mar-a-Lago property during the course of the investigation and is therefore personally aware of the differences between President Trump’s residence and that of “any private citizen.”


President Trump objects to the Proposed Protective Order insofar as it does not allow him and his counsel to discuss the relevant purportedly classified material inside an appropriate secure facility at or near his personal residence. Limiting any discussions with counsel to the government offered SCIFs is an inappropriate, unnecessary, and unworkable restriction, given the unique circumstances of President Trump’s access to security—namely that he resides and works in a secure location that is protected at all times by members of the United States Secret Service, and that the proposed alternate location previously housed an area approved for not only the discussion, but also the storage and review, of classified information


The government’s Motion dismisses this fact and compares President Trump’s request herein to any other defendant’s request to discuss classified information in their “private” or “personal residences” or offices. (See ECF No. 84 ¶¶ 13–14). This characterization is misleading and misconstrues the facts of this case. Donald J. Trump served as President of the United States for four years, and he, along with other Presidents and senior government officials, have had access to remote facilities for the purposes of reviewing and discussing sensitive information while in office, and at times after leaving office.

Of course, Trump didn’t have access to classified information after he left office, at least not after Biden ended Trump’s classified briefings in February 2021.

But this dispute is likely partly an attempt to manufacture some conflict between the President and the guy who wants to replace him.

The argument here is based on inflated claims about how hard it is for Trump and his Secret Service detail — who are making multiple trips a week to give speeches in places like New Hampshire high school gymnasia — to travel from Mar-a-Lago to a SCIF in South Florida.

2. If President Trump travels to a public facility in the Southern Division of this District, most circumstances would require an overnight stay in the local area by his protective detail, including members of the Secret Service, as well as an overnight stay by President Trump, due to the distance between his residence and the public facility.


5. In any of these scenarios, the required security measures take significant planning and effort, as well as financial resources.

6. The alternate secure location in which President Trump seeks to discuss (but not review) classified information is under 24-hour a day full security protection, whether President Trump is present or not. Furthermore, the government can re-establish a restricted area within the proposed secure location in which President Trump and his legal team can discuss classified information in a manner that is consistent with government security protocols.

7. Between 2017 and 2021, with reasonable effort and expense, a secure facility was established and approved at President Trump’s residence in the Southern District of Florida. In that facility, President Trump was permitted to review and discuss classified information. Reestablishing this secure facility is readily possible if the Court so directs.

Donald J. Trump — the same guy who never missed a chance to bilk the Secret Service for space in his own residences or hotels — is demanding that the US Government minimize the inconvenience of secure travel by him to defend himself for stealing classified information even as he is traveling all over the country — incurring the same costs and inconveniences for those around him — campaigning with nary a care about the cost that imposes on tax payers.

And he’s not offering to pay the US government to rebuild the SCIF in his beach resort.

Multiple people on Xitter joked that he’ll probably just ask Mexico to pay for it, and that’s about right: Trump is promising that the government can build something instantaneously without cost.

But given that Aileen Cannon is involved, it may well work.

This is not a good faith offer. It is an attempt to create a conflict that, if and when it is appealed to the 11th Circuit, will present closer calls than the ones on which Judge Cannon got her ass handed to her last year.

Judge Cannon Blows Off Concerns about Walt Nauta’s Conflicted Representation

Before I attempt to explain the substance of the order that Aileen Cannon issued in response to DOJ’s request for a Garcia hearing, let me point out how it looks on the docket.

Before DOJ filed its motion for a hearing on potential conflicts, it tried to submit something under seal in dockets 95 and 96 — probably details on the two other witnesses whose representation by Stan Woodward may present a conflict. Judge Cannon said the government hadn’t provided sufficient reason to seal, and so ordered the request, and the sealed information, to be struck.

Simultaneously, the Special Counsel moves for leave [ECF No. 95] to file under seal a “Supplement” containing additional information “to facilitate the Court’s inquiry” [ECF No. 96; see ECF No. 97 p. 2 n.2, p. 6]. The Special Counsel states in conclusory terms that the supplement should be sealed from public view “to comport with grand jury secrecy,” but the motion for leave and the supplement plainly fail to satisfy the burden of establishing a sufficient legal or factual basis to warrant sealing the motion and supplement.

2. The Special Counsel’s motion for leave to file under seal [ECF No. 95] is DENIED.

3. The Clerk is directed to STRIKE from the docket sealed entries 95 and 96.

Before her order, there were two more docket entries missing — numbers 98 and 99. I’m not familiar enough with SDFL’s docketing rules to understand whether there’s something under seal in those dockets or not, but there could be. Perhaps Stan Woodward submitted something?

Then there’s Cannon’s order. Rather than scheduling a Garcia hearing to see whether Woodward can adequately represent Nauta going forward, she instead ordered briefing — adding two more weeks of delay, but more importantly, delaying the question of whether Woodward can represent Nauta without conflict.

Her order for briefing focuses primarily on something else: whether DOJ was pulling a fast one by using a non-SDFL grand jury to pursue matters pertinent to the SDFL matter before her.

Waltine Nauta shall file a response to the Motion for a Garcia hearing [ECF No. 97] on or before August 17, 2023. Among other topics as raised in the Motion, the response shall address the legal propriety of using an out-of-district grand jury proceeding to continue to investigate and/or to seek post-indictment hearings on matters pertinent to the instant indicted matter in this district. The Special Counsel shall respond to that discussion in a Reply in Support of the Motion [ECF No. 97], due on or before August 22, 2023. The remaining Defendants may, but are not required to, file briefs of their own related to the grand jury issue referenced herein, but any such briefs are due by August 17, 2023, and may be submitted in combined or individual fashion.

1 This request for supplemental briefing is not intended to substitute and/or to limit any future motion brought pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 12(b). [my emphasis]

Contrary to some commentary on this, Cannon did not disclose the continued activity in the DC grand jury (bolded above). That was made clear both in DOJ’s motion for a Garcia hearing and in other materials.

The grand jury in this district and a grand jury in the District of Columbia continued to investigate further obstructive activity, and a superseding indictment was returned on July 27, 2023.

Woodward and Trump’s lawyers have been outspoken that they intend to question whether DOJ should have investigated this from the start in DC, or whether it should always have been in SDFL supervised by SDFL’s chief judge.

That issue was frivolous: DOJ didn’t know when the investigation was predicated where potential crimes happened.

This may be frivolous too. After all, most witnesses who testified before May testified in DC. So if one of them committed perjury, they would have to clean that up in DC (and that may be what happened with Taveras, either on his own or as part of a plea agreement).

But Cannon — perhaps prompted under seal by one of the defendants — seems intent on making it a big deal. And she made it clear that this set of briefing will be in addition to further motion practice, including motions complaining about misuse of a grand jury.

And it may well not be frivolous. DOJ is not permitted to use grand juries to continue to investigate an already charged crime. DOJ was explicit that it was not. It was investigating other kinds of obstruction. But we don’t know. And because Cannon struck DOJ’s sealed motion, she may have struck a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this, and instead left a sealed one from the defense.

This would be not dissimilar to a stunt Woodward pulled before Judge Trevor McFadden a few weeks ago, where he showed up late for Freddie Klein’s representations and — without prosecutors present — made accusations about what went down in a grand jury session that day with another of his clients.

The thing that matters in the short term, though, is Cannon seems to have no interest in walking Nauta through ways that Woodward’s continued representation of him may be a problem. And whatever other inquiry she may feels is necessary — whether frivolous or meritorious — she is causing at least two more weeks of delay before she’ll deal with that potential conflict.

Discoveries in the Stolen Document Discovery

As I noted in this post, the government provided a supplemental discovery notice yesterday. It included the following:

  • CCTV provided by Trump Org on May 9 and May 12 in response to an April 27 subpoena
  • CCTV obtained after June 8 pertaining to new obstruction allegations (DOJ does not confirm whether this came from Trump Org or not)
  • All 302s finalized by yesterday (302s are what the FBI calls interview reports)
  • All grand jury transcripts in government’s possession

The discovery confirms that the government took certain steps after June 8 to add Carlos De Oliveira to the indictment. There are two kinds of surveillance footage that appear in that section of the indictment: from De Oliveira and Walt Nauta’s stomping around trying to understand what surveillance footage there would be, including looking right at the key cameras in the hallway outside the storage room, as well as their discussions in the bushes just off Mar-a-Lago property.

The reference to location data may mean they obtained De Oliveira’s phone account.

The discovery also means that, if DOJ was using another grand jury, in addition to the DC and SDFL ones, Trump is now aware of it, because DOJ has turned over all transcripts in their possession (past notices had specified the two grand juries).

Finally, the discovery also describes that DOJ subpoenaed Trump Organization for yet more surveillance footage in April, which Trump Org turned over on May 9 and 12. That subpoena was already public; NYT reported it in May.

Prosecutors have also issued several subpoenas to Mr. Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, seeking additional surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago, his residence and private club in Florida, people with knowledge of the matter said. While the footage could shed light on the movement of the boxes, prosecutors have questioned a number of witnesses about gaps in the footage, one of the people said.

The timing is interesting though. It comes after — per this WaPo report — Carlos De Oliveira was informed he might be charged after he claimed not to remember the dates when Trump returned to Mar-a-Lago in July 2022 (note: this “proffer” session sounds more like an interview conducted under a limited proffer before a grand jury appearance).

For one thing, De Oliveira said he did not remember his boss coming back to Mar-a-Lago in July, the people said. Trump tended to stay away from the Florida summer heat, and it did not seem likely to some investigators that De Oliveira would forget the former president showing up twice in two weeks.

The prosecutors’ dissatisfaction came to a head in mid-April, when De Oliveira was given a proffer session — an interview in which a prosecutor and a defense lawyer meet with a person to decide if they have valuable information to offer an investigation, the kind that could lead to a plea deal.

If prosecutors grew convinced De Oliveira was lying, they may have pulled his grand jury appearance. His charged false statements were in a January 13, 2023 interview at his Florida residence, not this appearance in what may still have been DC.

In the same time frame as this subpoena for additional surveillance footage, DOJ also subpoenaed Trump’s business records from the Saudi LIV tournament.

One of the previously unreported subpoenas to the Trump Organization sought records pertaining to Mr. Trump’s dealings with a Saudi-backed professional golf venture known as LIV Golf, which is holding tournaments at some of Mr. Trump’s golf resorts.

A later NYT story reported that the subpoenas were broader: to include foreign deals with a variety of countries.

The subpoena — drafted by the office of the special counsel, Jack Smith — sought details on the Trump Organization’s real estate licensing and development dealings in seven countries: China, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, according to the people familiar with the matter. The subpoena sought the records for deals reached since 2017, when Mr. Trump was sworn in as president.

And then, after those subpoenas but before Trump Org complied with them, the Matthews Calamari testified about why Walt Nauta sent Calamari senior a text in the time frame when he and De Oliveira were allegedly stomping around Mar-a-Lago attempting to implement Trump’s order to destroy surveillance footage.

Both Calamaris testified to the federal grand jury in Washington on Thursday, and were questioned in part on a text message that Trump’s valet, Walt Nauta, had sent them around the time that the justice department last year asked for the surveillance footage, one of the people said.

The text message is understood to involve Nauta asking Matthew Calamari Sr to call him back about the justice department’s request,

In that same April time frame, DOJ was also asking about loyalty oaths before being given Trump-paid attorneys to represent them — the fruit of which questions likely show up in ¶91 of the superseding indictment.

Another line of inquiry that prosecutors have been pursuing relates to how Mr. Trump’s aides have helped hire and pay for lawyers representing some of the witnesses in investigations related to the former president. They have been trying to assess whether the witnesses were sized up for how much loyalty they might have to Mr. Trump as a condition of providing assistance, according to people briefed on the matter.

It was after that, though, after the first indictment on June 8 which may have helped demonstrate the seriousness of this inquiry, when per CNN reporting the following happened with Yuscil Taveras, the IT guy who said he didn’t have the rights, on his own, to delete surveillance footage:

  • Receives a target letter
  • Decides he wants to be more forthcoming
  • Gets a new lawyer (reportedly after a conflict review instigated by a judge)
  • Testifies about the request De Oliveira made inside the sound room and his own response that De Oliveira would have to call people who might be one of the Calamaris

In that same period, per yesterday’s discovery letter, that DOJ obtained more surveillance footage and possibly the warrant tracking location data.

One note: If people testified before the grand jury in DC before Jack Smith moved to present charges in SDFL, they would have separate exposure for perjury there.

Here’s my track of what DOJ has turned over when (with links to the documents below).


June 21, 2023: Response Discovery Order

June 23, 2023: Motion to Implement Special Conditions

July 6, 2023: Supplemental Response Discovery Order

July 10, 2023: Defendants Response Motion for Continuance

July 13, 2023: Government Reply Motion for Continuance

July 17, 2023: Supplemental Response Discovery Order

July 18, 2023: Status Hearing (Lawfare account)

July 31, 2023: Supplemental Response Discovery Order

Update: Answered two questions I’ve gotten up in the text above: First, I used “provided by Trump Org” and “obtained” in the bullets above because that’s how the filing describes these. As I’ve noted, the video showing De Oliveira and Nauta in the bushes might well have come from a different property owner.

Second, I defined 302s, which are what the FBI calls interview reports.

How Trump Clouded Journalists’ Heads about Surveillance Video

In a story demoting Trump’s alleged co-conspirators to “minor characters” and omitting Yuscil Taveras’ reference to “the supervisor of security for TRUMP’s business organization” who could provide him the rights allowing him to delete security footage, NYT states as fact that Trump’s corporate person did turn over the surveillance tapes.

The Trump Organization ultimately turned over the surveillance tapes, and the indictment does not accuse any Mar-a-Lago employees of destroying the footage.

Until I noted it, NYT also reported that Taveras said he didn’t have the “right,” as opposed to “rights” to do so.

NYT is not the only outlet making this conclusion, noting that prosecutors obtained video and so concluding that Trump must have turned it over.

Such conclusions are wildly premature.

Trump, certainly, is making the claim.

But Trump’s tweet includes one demonstrable falsehood: any video turned over was compelled via subpoena, not handed over voluntarily (this repeats a false claim Trump made last summer about voluntarily turning over early tranches of documents). And Trump’s claim that he “never told anybody to delete them” conflicts with Taveras’ testimony about Carlos De Oliveira’s instruction, that “‘the boss’ wanted the server deleted.”

So, even ignoring he’s a pathological liar, there’s no reason we should credit Trump’s claim the tapes (at least some parts of them) were not deleted.

It is true that the current indictment does not yet charge Trump and his corporate person with deleting video. It is also true that the indictment stops at 3:55PM on June 27, 2022, more than a week before some surveillance footage was turned over on July 6, 2022. We only know part of what happened during the first five days after Trump Org was alerted to the subpoena. That leaves a lot of time for shenanigans.

There’s a lot of this story that prosecutors have not yet told.

Even in what prosecutors have revealed so far, it is clear Trump’s initial subpoena response fell short of complying with the subpoena, though there may be reasonable explanations for that. DOJ had subpoenaed five months of footage, from January 10 through the date of subpoena, June 24 (which would have captured the days leading up to Trump’s return of 15 boxes in January 2022). But Trump Org only provided footage from April 23 through June 24.

That’s a curious length of time: 62 days. It suggests Trump Org normally deletes surveillance footage after 60 days, not the 45 days Taveras believed they kept. But if that’s the case, to have 62 days of footage, Trump Org started preserving footage when Jay Bratt first alerted them to the subpoena on June 22. Importantly, if Trump Org’s surveillance footage is automatically written over after 60 days, then someone would have had to take action to start preserving it on June 22 for April 23 and 24 to have been included. That action would have happened before (at least as portrayed in the superseding indictment) anyone spoke to Taveras at Mar-a-Lago. Probably, then, that action occurred in New York.

More suspect is Trump’s failure to provide video footage of all the locations subpoenaed.

There’s a redaction in the citation of the subpoena in the warrant affidavit where it describes the locations requested.

It was never clear before last week whether the redaction hid another subpoenaed location. But the superseding indictment describes that the subpoena asked for footage from “certain locations,” plural, one of which was the basement hallway.

The search affidavit describes that the disk provided on July 6 included footage only from four cameras in the basement hallway. Here, too, though, there could be a reasonable explanation: it may be Mar-a-Lago simply didn’t have cameras in the other requested positions. There’s another redaction in the search affidavit that might provide that explanation.

Certainly, when Walt Nauta and De Oliveira scouted out surveillance cameras with a flashlight on June 25, they’re only described as doing so in the basement hallway.

Many outlets are concluding that Trump Org must have turned over everything from that hallway since the search affidavit relied heavily on security footage to describe Nauta (then referred to as Witness 5) moving in and out of the storage room. But even that may overstate things. As I noted, there’s one movement of boxes that appears in the indictment but does not appear in the search affidavit: When Nauta entered the storage room on May 22, spent 34 minutes in there, and then left carrying a single box.

53. On May 22, 2022, NAUTA entered the Storage Room at 3:47 p.m. and left approximately 34 minutes later, carrying one of TRUMP’s boxes.

This is not proof that the footage wasn’t on the disk turned over on July 6. Perhaps the FBI wasn’t all that interested in this single box retrieval and so didn’t include it in the search affidavit. But it is a piece of footage the prosecutors may have obtained later, perhaps via other means.

This was only the first subpoena for video, however. Earlier this year, CNN described follow-up subpoenas after the August search, followed later by a preservation request before De Oliveira flooded the server room in October. The second subpoena, which may have been an attempt to learn when and how the remainder of the boxes were moved back into the storage closet, where they were found on August 8, might have obtained the footage of De Oliveira and Nauta scouting out the surveillance cameras. Once the FBI saw that, I’m sure they scrutinized what they had obtained far more closely, if they hadn’t already.

But there must be more than that: some weeks ago, the defense said they had received “approximately nine months” of surveillance footage.

The initial production also included some 57 terabytes of compressed raw CCTV footage (so far there is approximately nine months of CCTV footage, but the final number is not yet certain).

If DOJ never got footage before April, they may have footage from some part of every month through December, when the last known search occurred (and if DOJ got a video of the search conducted at Bedminster, it may explain why the FBI hasn’t conducted their own search).

Importantly, defense attorneys don’t know how much surveillance footage they’ll eventually get. If all of it was coming from Trump Org, they would. (Though even the superseding indictment appears to rely on surveillance footage, capturing Nauta and De Oliveira in bushes just off Mar-a-Lago property, that could have come from a neighboring property owner.)

That’s why NYT’s earlier reporting may indicate that Trump Org didn’t “ultimately turn[] over all the surveillance tapes.” As NYT reported in May, DOJ also subpoenaed the software company that handles Trump’s surveillance footage.

But hoping to understand why some of the footage from the storage camera appears to be missing or unavailable — and whether that was a technological issue or something else — the prosecutors subpoenaed the software company that handles all of the surveillance footage for the Trump Organization, including at Mar-a-Lago.

Once DOJ identified suspected gaps they would do what DOJ does in all criminal investigations: find another source.

Especially when dealing with an entity, Trump Org, that in recent years had what the Senate Intelligence Committee described as “known deficiencies in [] document responses.”

When SSCI subpoenaed Trump Org for any documents showing ties between the campaign and Russia in 2016, Trump’s corporate person didn’t turn over everything. For example, they didn’t turn over (to Congress at least) an email from Paul Manafort describing how to “secure the victory,” predicting that Hillary “would respond to a loss by ‘mov[ing] immediately to discredit the [Trump] victory and claim voter fraud and cyber-fraud, including the claim that the Russians have hacked into the voting machines and tampered with the results'” — precisely the strategy Trump used in 2020, albeit with the true statement that Russia was tampering with election facilities, though not the vote tallies.

I keep coming back to this, but one of those deficiencies — one of the things Trump Org didn’t provide in 2017, at least to the two congressional committees investigating Trump’s ties to Russia — were the emails showing that Michael Cohen directly contacted the Kremlin in January 2016 and got a response from Dmitri Peskov’s assistant. Mueller got a copy of it, though. He cited it in the report.

On January 20, 2016, Cohen received an email from Elena Poliakova, Peskov’s personal assistant. Writing from her personal email account, Poliakova stated that she had been trying to reach Cohen and asked that he call her on the personal number that she provided.350

There’s a ready explanation for how Mueller got an email showing that Trump’s fixer was in direct contact with the Kremlin during the election when it wasn’t included in Trump Org’s subpoena responses, at least to Congress: because on August 1, 2017, Mueller obtained Cohen’s Trump Org emails using a warrant served on Microsoft.

At least in 2017, as laid out in the warrant affidavit, Microsoft was the enterprise provider for Trump Org’s email.

55. On or about July 20,2017 and again on or about July 25, 2017, in response to a grand jury subpoena, Microsoft confirmed that the Target Account was an active account associated with the domain Microsoft also provided records indicating that email accounts associated with the domain “” are being operated on a Microsoft Exchange server. According to publicly available information on Microsoft’s website, Microsoft hosts emails for clients on Microsoft Exchange servers, while allowing customers to use their own domain (as opposed to the publicly available email domains supplied by Microsoft, such as According to information supplied by Microsoft, the domain continues to operate approximately 150 active email accounts through Microsoft Exchange, meaning that data associated with still exists on Microsoft’s servers.

That meant that, even though Trump Org didn’t turn over those damning emails (and Cohen testified to Congress as if they didn’t exist), Mueller got a copy anyway from the vendor, Microsoft, providing the cloud services to Trump Org.

The same may have happened with Trump’s surveillance footage: DOJ went to a cloud provider to obtain their version of it, without any gaps.

That warrant was, in part, a Foreign Agent warrant, so people in DOJ’s National Security Division working with Jay Bratt likely would have had a heads up. Bratt and Julie Edelstein, both on this investigative team, may well remember Trump Org’s recent, “known deficiencies in [] document responses,” and so knew to look for another source.

If that happened, then Nauta and De Oliveira may have initially testified believing certain events weren’t on surveillance footage turned over to DOJ when DOJ actually had such footage, just like Michael Cohen testified to Congress (and initially, to Mueller) as if those emails didn’t exist.

Here’s a point I keep coming back to. The surveillance footage turned over on July 6 had really damning footage: showing Nauta first emptying then half refilling the storage room. That footage, showing Trump withholding documents from Evan Corcoran’s search, was central to DOJ’s probable cause to obtain the warrant to search Trump’s beach resort on August 8.

If there are or were gaps, they served to hide something still more damning than proof that Trump was playing a shell game with his own attorney.

What we know (and Jay Bratt and Julie Edelstein likely knew when they started this investigation) is that in 2017 during the Russian investigation, all the known “deficiencies in [] document responses” in Trump Org’s subpoena compliance pertained to precisely the thing investigators most feared they would find: Direct ties between Trump and Russia.

Which undoubtedly would have made them all the more determined to fill any real or perceived gaps in Trump Org’s production of surveillance video.

Update: The government reveals it was still obtaining surveillance until recently, pointing to both footage obtained with an April 27 subpoena and footage — it doesn’t say from where — after the June 8 indictment.

Included in Production 3 is additional CCTV footage from The Mar-a-Lago Club that the Government obtained from the Trump Organization on May 9 and May 12, 2023, in response to a grand jury subpoena served on April 27. On July 27, as part of the preparation for the superseding indictment coming later that day and the discovery production for Defendant De Oliveira, the Government learned that this footage had not been processed and uploaded to the platform established for the defense to view the subpoenaed footage. The Government’s representation at the July 18 hearing that all surveillance footage the Government had obtained pre-indictment had been produced was therefore incorrect. See 7/18/2023 Tr. at 8. With this production, which also contains CCTV footage obtained after the original indictment was returned that pertains to the new obstruction allegations in the superseding indictment, the Government has produced all the CCTV footage it obtained during its investigation.

And if there’s a non-public grand jury, then Trump knows about it.

With the completion of Production 3, the Government has also now disclosed all unclassified memorialization of witness interviews finalized by today’s date and all grand jury transcripts in the Government’s possession.

“Rights” and Wrongs: Where the Stolen Documents Investigation Is Headed

I want to start this post about where the stolen documents investigation may be headed with an observation a commenter here made about this passage of the superseding indictment: the import of the word, the “rights,” coming from an IT guy who would think in terms of access privileges.

The passage comes in the midst of the Keystone Cops routine where Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira try to figure out how to achieve Trump’s apparent order — probably given during a 24-minute phone call to De Oliveira on June 23 and to Nauta face-to-face at Bedminster sometime between 3:44 and 5:02PM on June 24 — to delete the surveillance server. They were stomping around, squawking about how sensitive this mission was. Nauta sent someone texts with shush emojis and De Oliveira told a valet Nauta’s visit should remain secret.

The evening of June 25 — one day after DOJ sent Trump Organization a subpoena for surveillance video — they get a flashlight and go to inspect what the surveillance cameras would pick up; by moving in front of the surveillance cameras, which we now know are motion activated, they would have triggered the cameras, thereby creating more damning surveillance footage.

Imagine the video exhibit at trial, as both Nauta and De Oliveira point a flashlight at the surveillance camera that, weeks earlier, caught both of them moving just half the boxes full of classified documents back into the storage room, two earnest faces looking straight into the camera. That footage wouldn’t be covered by the subpoena they were, at that moment, trying to defy; it would probably be covered by the next subpoena.

Two days later (there’s no indication of how Nauta spent his day on Sunday June 26), on June 27, De Oliveira walks into the IT room and asks Yuscil Taveras in front of a witness (possibly in front of another security camera) to step away so they could speak. They go to what they call an “audio closet” (which could be the decommissioned SCIF) and De Oliveira tells Taveras that “the boss” wants the surveillance server deleted.

Taveras says three things in response:

  1. He doesn’t know how to accomplish that
  2. He doesn’t have the “rights” to do that
  3. To accomplish the task, De Oliveira would have to reach out to one of the Matthew Calamaris

The words, “rights,” here hasn’t gotten enough attention. Taveras was saying that he did not have the computer privileges to just delete the surveillance server: one of the Matthew Calamaris in New York would have to be involved to make such a thing happen.

So after that, De Oliveira checks back in with Nauta (who has flown to Florida to accomplish this task, along with whatever he did on June 26), they stomp around some more in suspicious ways that are visible to yet more surveillance cameras, and then two hours later Trump speaks to De Oliveira for 3.5 minutes. As described, Trump calls De Oliveira, not the other way around.

Remember how I said — of the January 6 investigation — that the January 6 investigation would take more time than the Watergate investigation because, unlike Nixon, Trump is not known to have wiretapped himself?

Well, on the stolen documents investigation, he did, effectively, wiretap himself, or at least all the employees he sent to accomplish his corrupt mission. And then Trump tried, over and over, to Rosemary Woods away incriminating video, at least this first time, captured on video again.

But amid all the Keystone Cops stomping around talking about secrets while on surveillance camera and sending shush texts, what Taveras said is an important hint of where this investigation may go next (as I laid out here).

Thus far, this story — and the conspiracy as charged so far — is just a story of a failed attempt to destroy surveillance video. De Oliveira: Can you delete the server? Taveras: Nope. I don’t have the rights. Stomp stomp stomp, almost all of it on surveillance video.

The Keystone Cops caper ends with Trump calling De Oliveira at 3:55PM on June 27, with no word of what led Trump to call De Oliveira and no word of whether whatever video got deleted was deleted in Florida or New York, or somewhere else.

The superseding indictment doesn’t mention, for example, the text that Nauta sent Calamari Sr — possibly even between 1:50PM when he and De Oliveira were stomping in bushes adjacent to Mar-a-Lao and the phone call that Trump made to De Oliveira at 3:55PM.

Both Calamaris testified to the federal grand jury in Washington on Thursday, and were questioned in part on a text message that Trump’s valet, Walt Nauta, had sent them around the time that the justice department last year asked for the surveillance footage, one of the people said.

The text message is understood to involve Nauta asking Matthew Calamari Sr to call him back about the justice department’s request,

Calamari was the guy, Taveras told De Oliveira, who would have the privileges to delete surveillance footage. And sometime in that period, Nauta texted him about the surveillance request.

Thus far, this is a story and a crime about an alleged attempt to delete surveillance footage. But we can be pretty certain that surveillance video was, in fact, deleted. That’s because reporters have reported on witnesses being asked that for months. There would be no reason to obtain nine months of surveillance video — 57 terabytes of raw video, if you can believe the defense attorneys — unless there was a whole bunch more to learn from the surveillance videos.

The initial production also included some 57 terabytes of compressed raw CCTV footage (so far there is approximately nine months of CCTV footage, but the final number is not yet certain).

And there would be no reason for Trump, on August 26, to get Nauta to verify De Oliveira’s loyalty (stomp stomp stomp) before arranging to provide him a lawyer if what came next, what happened after Trump’s phone call to De Oliveira on June 27 isn’t even more damning.

Indeed, that’s why it matters that — buried in a Devlin Barrett story opining that De Oliveira’s, “alleged actions could bolster the obstruction case against the former president” because apparently Devlin hasn’t learned his lesson about presenting evidence of more serious crimes and calling it obstruction — Trump (unusually) came back to Mar-a-Lago twice between June 3 and August 8: once from July 10 to 12, and once again on July 23, and that De Oliveira told the FBI he had given away the key to storage when they showed up on August 8.

The Keystone Cop caper, in part because it is so colorful and in part because it is charged as an unsuccessful attempt, has distracted most commentators from the fact that there was a more successful attempt, and that more successful attempt didn’t hide the movement of boxes in and out of the storage closet. As I’ve noted, all the movement of boxes in May and June shows up in the search affidavit relying on what DOJ did get from Trump, save one: Nauta’s retrieval of a single box on May 22.

The superseding indictment describes that the subpoena asked for footage from “certain locations,” plural, of which the basement hallway is just one. And the most recent unsealing of the affidavit reveals that the only cameras included on the hard drive of surveillance footage turned over on July 6 were four cameras in the basement hallway. So one way or another, footage of those other locations was not turned over in response to the first subpoena.

Everyone treats this indictment as a terminal indictment — and if that’s as far as Jack Smith gets, it’s still far more damning than most everyone imagined on June 8. But multiple public references — the discussion on July 13 of continued efforts to fully exploit Nauta’s phone, the reference in DOJ’s descriptions of discovery that suggest there’s a grand jury somewhere other than DC or SDFL, and the suggestion that interviews have continued after June 23 — suggests that the current instantiation of the indictment is intended to be part of an ongoing investigation.

I noted from the first indictment that it was a “tactical nuke” designed to persuade Nauta to cooperate. Not only hasn’t the effort worked, but Stan Woodward has adopted a position on classified discovery — that Nauta, in addition to his attorneys, should get to see all the stolen classified documents — that I think makes it more likely DOJ would supersede to add a conspiracy to retain classified documents charge with him, because the elements of offense are all satisfied in the existing indictment.

Here are the obvious things that obtaining credible cooperation from Nauta would obtain:

  • ¶25: Details of Trump’s intent as Nauta helped pack up documents from the White House
  • ¶46: Why Trump was trying to hide when he instructed Nauta to replace the lids of the boxes
  • ¶54: What he was sent for on May 22
  • ¶61: What Trump instructed Nauta before he moved half the boxes back into storage for Evan Corcoran to search
  • ¶73: What boxes got loaded on the plane to Mar-a-Lago on June 3
  • ¶78: What Trump told him at Bedminster that led him to fly to Florida and try to bury the surveillance video (as well as what else he did on June 26, which is not accounted for)
  • ¶86: What both men discussed in the bushes
  • How Nauta came to text Matthew Calamari
  • ¶91: How Trump came to ask Nauta to ascertain De Oliveira’s loyalty and whether Trump had similarly offered him legal representation
  • What Nauta witnessed as Trump’s bodyman, especially in Bedminster

Here are the obvious things that obtaining credible cooperation from De Oliveira would obtain:

  • ¶76: Details of the 24-minute call he had with Trump, while Trump was at Bedminster
  • ¶86: What both men discussed in the bushes
  • ¶87: What Trump said on the phone call and whether De Oliveira had a role in the successful deletion of video, and how he knew what to delete
  • ¶91: What the terms of his representation are and whether it led him to lie (a question, other reports have made clear, many witnesses have been asked)
  • Why Trump returned to Mar-a-Lago twice before the August 8 search
  • To whom he gave the key to the storage room and on whose orders
  • Whether the October flood of the server room was an(other) attempt to destroy surveillance footage and if so, whether he was instructed to do so

De Oliveira might be a key witness to lead Nauta to reconsider his decision to protect Trump.

More importantly, one or both might be irreplaceable witnesses to answer a number of closely intertwined questions:

  • How is Trump is using lawyers to command loyalty and does it create conflict or obstruction issues
  • What surveillance footage has Trump prioritized for destruction and why
  • Why did Trump steal the documents, how has he used them, and where did the ones that went to Bedminster disappear to
  • What role does Trump’s PAC have in exploitation of the documents
  • What role does Trump Organization have in exploitation of the documents
  • Who else has had ready access to these documents

All this superseding indictment shows is that Trump had something to hide that goes beyond his desire to hoard the classified documents. Jack Smith may require the cooperation of one or both of these men to fully understand what Trump is really hiding.

This fairly remarkable post from the WSJ opinion page demonstrates the stakes of trying to answer it. It’s a pitch to elect someone other than Trump in the GOP primary, and premised on an utterly bullshit claim that Biden has politicized justice. But it gets a good distance of the way to an important discovery: even the Keystone Cops attempt already included in the indictment totally debunks Trump’s public defense, because if he believed in June 2022 that he had the right to keep these, he wouldn’t have dug himself — and thus far two staffers — deeper into a legal hole.

If Mr. Trump sought to destroy evidence, it undercuts his defense on the document charges. He contends that the Presidential Records Act gives him the right to retain documents from his time in office. But if Mr. Trump believed that, he would have played it straight. If the indictment is right that he hid the files from his own lawyers and tried to wipe the security video to stop anybody from finding out, then he didn’t buy his own defense.

From a Murdoch rag, this is a really important insight. But then WSJ predictably refuses to take the next logical step: That Trump’s obstruction makes it clear he didn’t just do this out of pigheadedness.

Prudential questions about the wisdom of this prosecution remain. Mr. Trump appears to have kept the files out of pigheadedness, not because he wanted to do something nefarious like sell them to an adversary. The FBI raided Mar-a-Lago to recover the documents.

The episode reflects poorly on Mr. Trump. But is this conduct that truly gives President Biden no choice except to ask a jury to jail his leading political opponent in next year’s election? At least Watergate involved a burglary.

We can’t even rule out a burglary, if Trump learned that he compromised these documents by storing them in his beach resort! Especially since De Oliveira claimed he had given the key away to others. We can’t rule out selling them to an adversary! We sure as hell can’t rule out trying to exploit them for the success of his PAC.

The indictment and an attempt to try this before the general election is an important goal, though potentially unrealistic given the CIPA challenges.

But it really is important to learn what Trump did do with these documents, who got the key, where they disappeared to.

This indictment doesn’t answer the question of why Trump stole these documents or what he did with them. All the superseding indictment did is make the question more urgent.

Update: Fixed Trump’s location from whence he called De Oliveira — the first call would have been Bedminster.

Carlos De Oliveira Added a Lock to the Storage Facility Then (Claimed He) Gave Away the Key

My second favorite bullshit spin of the entire stolen documents investigation (the first being claims about Walt Nauta’s cooperation) is the way, in the days after the search of Mar-a-Lago, Trump got journalists to repeat his claim that the fact he replaced the lock on the storage room at Mar-a-Lago proved he was entirely cooperative with DOJ before the search.

Here’s how WSJ presented the claim in one of its first instances:

Aides to Mr. Trump have said they had been cooperating with the department to get the matter settled. The former president even popped into the June 3 meeting at Mar-a-Lago, shaking hands. “I appreciate the job you’re doing,” he said, according to a person familiar with the exchange. “Anything you need, let us know.”

Five days later, Trump attorney Evan Corcoran received an email from Mr. Bratt, the chief of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence and export control section, who oversees investigations involving classified information.

“We ask that the room at Mar-a-Lago where the documents had been stored be secured and that all the boxes that were moved from the White House to Mar-a-Lago (along with any other items in that room) be preserved in that room in their current condition until further notice,” according to what was read to The Wall Street Journal over the phone.

Mr. Corcoran wrote back, “Jay, thank you. I write to acknowledge receipt of this letter. With best regards, Evan.” By the next day, according to a person familiar with the events, a larger lock was placed on the door. It was the last communication between the men until Monday’s search of Mar-a-Lago, according to the person.


Mr. Trump and his lawyers contend they have cooperated with a monthslong effort by the government to retrieve some of the material he took from the White House and expressed outrage with Monday’s unannounced visit to Mar-a-Lago. A timeline of events, they say, demonstrates this cooperation, down to quickly fulfilling the June request to place a new lock on the storage door.

Here’s how John Solomon presented the claim in a post that first broke the news of the surveillance video subpoena.

Trump signaled his full cooperation, telling the agents and prosecutor, “Look, whatever you need let us know,” according to two eyewitnesses. The federal team was surprised by the president’s invitation and asked for an immediate favor: to see the 6-foot-by-10-foot storage locker where his clothes, shoes, documents and mementos from his presidency were stored at the compound.

Given Trump’s instruction, the president’s lawyers complied and allowed the search by the FBI before the entourage left cordially. Five days later, DOJ officials sent a letter to Trump’s lawyers asking them to secure the storage locker with more than the lock they had seen. The Secret Service installed a more robust security lock to comply.

Around the same time, the Trump Organization, which owns Mar-a-Lago, received a request for surveillance video footage covering the locker and volunteered the footage to federal authorities, sources disclosed.

It was always clear this was bullshit, not least because CFR guidelines about storing classified documents are really strict. But journalists repeated it credulously for several weeks, until the affidavit was unsealed, showing that in Jay Bratt’s request that Trump secure the storage room, he never mentioned a lock.

On June 8, 2022, DOJ COUNSEL sent FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 a letter, which reiterated that the PREMISES are not authorized to store classified information and requested the preservation of the STORAGE ROOM and boxes that had been moved from the White House to the PREMISES. Specifically, the letter stated in relevant part:

As I previously indicated to you, Mar-a-Lago does not include a secure location authorized for the storage of classified information. As such, it appears that since the time classified documents (the ones recently provided and any and all others) were removed from the secure facilities at the White House and moved to Mar-a-Lago on or around January 20, 2021, they have not been handled in an appropriate manner or stored in an appropriate location. Accordingly, we ask that the room at Mar-a-Lago where the documents had been stored be secured and that all of the boxes that were moved from the White House to Mar-a-Lago (along with any other items in that room) be preserved in that room in their current condition until further notice.

On June 9, 2022, FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 sent an email to DOJ COUNSEL, stating, “I write to acknowledge receipt of this letter.”

But buried in this Devlin Barrett story about how prosecutors warned Carlos De Oliveira’s attorney, John Irving, that they believed he was lying way back in April is the BREAKING NEWS that after De Oliveira put a new lock on the door — the thing that Trump bragged about for a month, and a tale that Barrett repeats here — he gave away the key.

Or at least that’s the excuse he gave to the FBI when they showed up in August to seize the documents inside and he refused to let them into the storage closet.

Agents had another concern: The lock on the door to the storage room was flimsy. The officials urged staff to put a better lock on the door, which De Oliveira did — using a hasp and a padlock to keep it secure, the people said. If there were still highly sensitive classified documents in the room, such a lock was far from sufficient, but it was better than nothing.


When FBI agents arrived at Mar-a-Lago the morning of Aug. 8 with a court-issued search warrant, De Oliveira was one of the first people they turned to. They asked him to unlock a storage room where boxes of documents were kept, people familiar with what happened said. De Oliveira said he wasn’t sure where the key was, because he’d given it to either the Secret Service agents guarding the former president or staffers for Trump’s post-presidency office, the people said.

Frustrated, the agents simply cut the lock on the gold-colored door. [snip]

Imagine how outraged investigators must have been last August when Trump was publicly bragging about the new lock when the currently operative story at the time — one that may still be operative — is that within weeks, Oliveira had given away the key.

To whom, he did not know.

I’ve got a lot of guesses about who may really have gotten that key.

But the stunning news from this story is that Trump put a new lock on the storage facility and promptly gave away the key.

Carlos De Oliveira’s Uncharged Suspected Obstruction Happened on Aileen Cannon’s Watch

I’d like to make something explicit that’s implicit in this post. Some of Carlos De Oliveira’s suspected obstruction of the investigation into stolen documents happened on Aileen Cannon’s watch.

To be sure, it’s not charged, and the timing of all this is not made explicit in the indictment. De Oliveira is charged with four counts:

  • Count 33: Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice (18 USC 1512(k)) from May 11, 2022 until August 2022
  • Count 40: Corruptly asking Trump Employee 4 to destroy surveillance footage (18 USC 1512(b)(2) from June 22, 2022 until August 2022
  • Count 41: Corruptly attempting to alter surveillance footage (18 USC 1512(c)(1)) from June 22, 2022 until August 2022
  • Count 42: False statements in a January 13, 2023 interview with the FBI at his residence

The timeline of this is actually quite interesting. All the conspiracy charges go through August 2022, with no specific end date. That adopts the convention used in the first indictment.

By description, the conspiracies described in the first indictment might otherwise have ended on August 8, 2022, when the FBI seized the documents the obstruction attempted to hide. There was no overt act that post-dates August 8 in the first indictment.

There is in the superseding indictment. There’s this key paragraph, which describes that on August 26, 2022, after Trump confirmed De Oliveira’s loyalty, Trump called him and told him he would get him an attorney.

Just over two weeks after the FBI discovered classified documents in the Storage Room and TRUMP’s office, on August 26, 2022, NAUTA called Trump Employee 5 and said words to the effect of, “someone just wants to make sure Carlos is good.” In response, Trump Employee 5 told NAUTA that DE OLIVEIRA was loyal and that DE OLIVEIRA would not do anything to affect his relationship with TRUMP. That same day, at NAUTA’s request, Trump Employee 5 confirmed in a Signal chat group with NAUTA and the PAC Representative that DE OLIVEIRA was loyal. That same day, TRUMP called DE OLIVEIRA and told DE OLIVEIRA that TRUMP would get DE OLIVEIRA an attorney.

That paragraph is important to prove the conspiracy because Trump Employee 5 appears to have testified independently about it. But it’s not about the June 2022 effort to destroy the surveillance footage. It’s an apparent effort to keep De Oliveira quiet about the June 2022 effort.

Witness tampering, a different kind of obstruction. But it is not charged as such.

At least not yet.

So the overt acts on the three conspiracies appear to go from May and June until August 26, 2022. But the indictment doesn’t include that as the specific end date.

On August 27 — the day after the last overt act in the three alleged conspiracies charged against De Oliveira — Judge Aileen Cannon issued an order providing preliminary notice that she would intervene in the case. On September 5, Judge Cannon issued an order enjoining the government from further investigation of the materials seized on August 8.

De Oliveira’s other alleged crime happened on January 13, 2023.

It happened after, on December 1, 2022, the 11th Circuit ruled that Aileen Cannon “improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction” to — among other things — stay any investigation using non-classified documents.

[T]he district court lacked jurisdiction to consider Plaintiff’s initial motion or to issue any orders in response to it.


The law is clear. We cannot write a rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the execution of the warrant. Nor can we write a rule that allows only former presidents to do so. Either approach would be a radical reordering of our caselaw limiting the federal courts’ involvement in criminal investigations. And both would violate bedrock separation-of-powers limitations. Accordingly, we agree with the government that the district court improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction, and that dismissal of the entire proceeding is required.

The district court improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction in this case. For that reason, we VACATE the September 5 order on appeal and REMAND with instructions for the district court to DISMISS the underlying civil action.

It happened after, on December 12, Aileen Cannon dismissed the civil suit before her.

De Oliveira’s first three alleged crimes happened before Aileen Cannon intervened, up through the day she did, in fact. All of Trump’s and Nauta’s alleged crimes ended before or on the day before she intervened.

De Oliveira’s fourth charge happened after the 11th Circuit ruled that she had improperly halted any investigation using unclassified materials seized from Mar-a-Lago from September 5 to December 1, a total of 87 days.

De Oliveira was not charged for something else, though, that — according to CNN’s report of it — was suspected to be another attempt to damage surveillance equipment, a flood of the IT room that, by description, happened in October.

An employee at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence drained the resort’s swimming pool last October and ended up flooding a room where computer servers containing surveillance video logs were kept, sources familiar with the matter told CNN.

While it’s unclear if the room was intentionally flooded or if it happened by mistake, the incident occurred amid a series of events that federal prosecutors found suspicious.

At least one witness has been asked by prosecutors about the flooded server room as part of the federal investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents, according to one of the sources.

The incident, which has not been previously reported, came roughly two months after the FBI retrieved hundreds of classified documents from the Florida residence and as prosecutors obtained surveillance footage to track how White House records were moved around the resort. Prosecutors have been examining any effort to obstruct the Justice Department’s investigation after Trump received a subpoena in May 2022 for classified documents.

Prosecutors have heard testimony that the IT equipment in the room was not damaged in the flood, according to one source.

Yet the flooded room as well as conversations and actions by Trump’s employees while the criminal investigation bore down on the club has caught the attention of prosecutors. The circumstances may factor into a possible obstruction conspiracy case, multiple sources tell CNN, as investigators try to determine whether the events of last year around Mar-a-Lago indicate that Trump or a small group of people working for him, took steps to try to interfere with the Justice Department’s evidence-gathering.

Agents first subpoenaed the Trump Organization for Mar-a-Lago surveillance footage last summer, before the August search by the FBI. But as more classified documents were found through the end of last year, investigators sought more surveillance footage from the Trump Organization, sources tell CNN. That included an additional subpoena after the FBI search in August and a request from the Justice Department for the Trump Organization to preserve additional footage in late October, according to one of the sources.


Prosecutors from the special counsel’s office have focused their obstruction inquiries around Trump, Trump’s body man Walt Nauta and a maintenance worker who helped Nauta move boxes of classified documents ahead of federal agents searching the property last summer, and potentially others, sources told CNN.

The sources say that the maintenance worker is the person who drained the pool that led to the flooding of the IT room where the surveillance footage was held. [my emphasis]

If that really happened, if it really was another attempt to destroy surveillance video (as I noted, video that might show De Oliveira and Nauta’s earlier attempt to destroy the surveillance video, a cover up of the cover up), then it happened during the period when DOJ’s investigation was largely halted thanks to Aileen Cannon’s improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction.

It’s not yet clear whether Cannon’s injunction required DOJ to delay the January 13, 2023 interview until after the 11th Circuit ended it. After all, DOJ interviewed Christina Bobb in October and Kash Patel in November.

As of now, the overt acts in the apparent overlapping conspiracies to obstruct the investigation stop one day short of the moment when Aileen Cannon got involved, improperly, according to the 11th Circuit. And if DOJ were to substantiate the flooded server room was yet another attempt to tamper with surveillance footage, it would mean the obstruction happened on Judge Cannon’s watch.

Thus far, Cannon has issued one after another after another and yet one more not unreasonable order.

But we are butting against the date when Trump’s continued conspiracy to obstruct the investigation happened during the window she created by improperly intervening in the case.