Trump lawyer says searches for classified material at Trump properties are complete
Feb 12, 2023, 7:01 PM
(Photo by Seth Herald/Getty Images)
(CNN) — One of Donald Trump’s lawyers said Sunday they have completed their searches for classified material at the former president’s properties and handed over what they found to the Justice Department.
Timothy Parlatore, who represents Trump in both the special counsel investigation into the former president’s handling of classified material and the probe related to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, confirmed that additional classified documents were found during a search in December and turned over to the Justice Department.
“We’ve tried to do searches of all the relevant places, and anytime we’ve found anything, we’ve immediately turned it over,” Parlatore told CNN in an exclusive interview, painting his client as cooperative in the ongoing criminal probe.
He also confirmed that Trump’s team handed over to DOJ an empty manilla folder marked “Classified Evening Summary” after receiving a subpoena for that item, which was found in the former president’s bedroom.
According to Parlatore, Trump had effectively been using the empty folder as a lamp shade to block a light on his landline telephone that was keeping him up at night.
“He has one of those landline telephones next to his bed, and it has a blue light on it, and it keeps him up at night. So he took the manilla folder and put it over so it would keep the light down so he could sleep at night,” Parlatore said. “It’s just this folder. It says ‘Classified Evening Summary’ on it. It’s not a classification marking. It’s not anything that is controlled in any way. There is nothing illegal about it.”
CNN reported Friday that the folder was among the items that Trump’s legal team has turned over to federal prosecutors in recent months, in addition to more materials with classified markings and a laptop belonging to an aide.
Parlatore also reiterated Sunday that the aide had no idea the material the aide scanned on the laptop was classified.
Pressed on why classified documents were still being found at Trump’s properties two years after he was president, Parlatore blamed the White House procedure for handling sensitive material when an administration leaves office — equating the situation involving his client to those of former Vice President Mike Pence and President Joe Biden.
“When you have DOJ go into these things, they are automatically going in with all the criminal processes and trying to threaten people to go to jail over something that is a procedural failure and an institutional procedural failure that has nothing to do with Mike Pence, Donald Trump or, quite frankly, Joe Biden,” he said.
Parlatore said the DOJ should be “benched” on matters related to classified material and, instead of appointing special counsels, it should be left up to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to conduct an administrative review of the White House’s procedure for handling such documents at the end of each presidency.
Parlatore confirmed Sunday that Trump intends to assert executive privilege in an effort to limit the testimony of Pence and former national security adviser Robert O’Brien after both were subpoenaed in special counsel Jack Smith’s other investigation related to January 6.
He noted that Trump’s team advises every witness to protect privilege in those cases, and Pence would be no exception.
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