Former President Donald Trump continued to dig his own grave during an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier, when he all but confessed to knowingly and deliberately obstructing and withholding records he was ordered to turn in to the Justice Department.
“They said, ‘could you give us the documents back?’ … And then they said — went to DOJ to subpoena you to get them back,” Baier outlined to Trump during the interview that aired on Monday.
“Why not just hand them over then?” Baier asked.
“Because I had boxes. I want to go through the boxes and get all my personal things out. I don’t want to hand that over to NARA yet. And I was very busy as you’ve sort of seen,” Trump responded.
Baier then followed up, saying that according to the indictment, Trump directed his aide to move the documents to other locations “after telling your lawyers to say you’ve fully complied with the subpoena when you hadn’t.”
“But before I send boxes over, I have to take my things out,” Trump told Baier. “These boxes were interspersed with all sorts of things. Golf shirts, clothing, pants, shoes. There were many things.”
Trump — who often goes on these lengthy, public and, at times, incriminating rants on TV and social media platforms — made similar admissions last week, though Monday’s interview was his fullest response yet to his indictment in the classified records case earlier this month.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who will be overseeing the case, set a preliminary trial date for Aug. 14 in a Tuesday morning order, moving the case another step forward and signaling a speedy trial — at least for now. The date is likely to be delayed as the Justice Department prosecutors and Trump’s defense team argue over the abundance of classified documents that Trump hoarded in his Florida estate.
On Thursday, Judge Cannon also ordered all attorneys working the case to contact the DOJ about obtaining security clearances by June 20.