Amid the investigation at the Justice Department by Special Counsel Jack Smith into the harboring at Trump’s estate Mar-a-Lago in southern Florida of classified documents from Trump’s time as president, CNN is reporting new subpoenas for at least two dozen individuals connected to Trump.
That group includes staff members at the resort and aides to the former president, and that’s where CNN specified the latest subpoenas’ focus. The outlet also noted that among those from whom prosecutors have recently heard is Margo Martin, who spent some time on communications staff in the Trump White House and kept working for Donald after he departed the presidency. Also among those who’ve given investigators info is a staff member at the resort who was seen moving boxes with Walt Nauta, a former military valet in whom investigators were already reported to be interested. Besides the potential mishandling of the protected materials, investigators have also been looking at the possibility of criminal obstruction, and somebody moving storage containers around as investigators trained their focus could reveal such a thing.
“Many of the Mar-a-Lago staffers are being represented by counsel paid for by Trump entities, according to sources and federal elections records,” CNN notes. Such an arrangement can easily go awry, as shown in the case of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson. Her Trump-provided lawyer, Stefan Passantino, who also spent some time on staff in Trump’s White House, is facing calls for his possible disbarment in connection to suspicions about his handling of Hutchinson’s interactions with the House committee that investigated the Capitol riot. Among other problems, he was alleged to have raised the prospect with Hutchinson of outright lying to investigators about what information she had, and lying to investigators isn’t something you can just do. Passantino may have been encouraging a crime and prioritizing somebody else’s interests — meaning Trump’s — in doing so.
Smith, meanwhile, works largely independently rather than reporting on a daily or similarly regular basis to higher-ups at the Justice Department like Attorney General Merrick Garland, who Biden himself nominated — possibly creating conflicts of interest for Garland in these probes.