A staff member at Mar-a-Lago who reportedly told the FBI that Donald Trump personally ordered that documents taken from the White House be moved has been identified as a Navy veteran and onetime White House aide to the former president.
The staffer, identified by The Washington Post as Walt Nauta, reported that Trump told him to transfer boxes of documents to other locations at the Mar-a-Lago compound after the Justice Department issued a subpoena in May for missing government files. Nauta became a personal aide to the former president in Florida after serving as a valet in the Trump White House, sources told the Post.
The New York Times reported Thursday that Nauta was spotted on surveillance video hauling out boxes of documents from a Mar-a-Lago storage room that was a “focus” of government officials. Nauta reportedly told the FBI that he was following Trump’s orders.
The footage supports Nauta’s accounts to the FBI about how the materials were handled under Trump’s direction even as government officials sought to reclaim public records removed from the White House when Trump left office, the Post noted.
Nauta’s account puts Trump at the very heart of how dozens of boxes of documents — including classified and top secret information — seized by the FBI in August had been handled.
Trump has claimed without any evidence that some documents confiscated at his Mar-a-Lago private club were planted by the FBI. He has also claimed that he was unaware of what material was taken from the White House to his Mar-a-Lago estate because documents were packed by federal workers. White House records are supposed to be collected by the National Archives when a president leaves office.
Nauta could not be reached for comment.
Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich has dismissed the account, complaining to the Times that it’s an example of the Biden administration “colluding with the media through targeted leaks in an overt and illegal act of intimidation and tampering.”