Lawyer course

Why a Trump attorney spoke to investigators in the Mar-a-Lago case

In a normal political controversy, a politician faces tough questions and hires lawyers. In a Donald Trump-related controversy, a politician faces tough questions and hires lawyers, who in turn face legal scrutiny from them.

Take Christina Bobb, for example. NBC News reported today:

Christina Bobb, the attorney who signed a letter certifying that all sensitive records in former President Donald Trump’s possession had been returned to the government, spoke to federal investigators on Friday and named two other Trump attorneys involved. in the case, according to three sources familiar with the matter. question.

For those unfamiliar with Bobb, let’s take a minute to review how we got here.

Just two years ago, Bobb was an on-air figure at a propaganda outlet called One America News Network, where she covered the 2020 election and volunteered for Trump’s legal team. The day before the Jan. 6 attack, Bobb was also in a room at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel with Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman in the “war room” of the Trump campaign’s legal team. (She was also subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee.)

In March 2022, Bobb officially left OAN for the Trump team, and three months later attended a meeting that turned out to be quite important.

In fact, it was on June 3 that Jay Bratt, the head of the counterintelligence section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, went to Mar-a-Lago with some FBI agents. in the hope of improperly recovering documents from the former president. took.

As part of that meeting, Bobb — acting in his capacity as Trump’s case custodian at the time — signed a certification statement, saying the former president had fully complied with a grand jury subpoena. and had no more classified documents in his glorified country. club. This claim, of course, was not true: As the FBI discovered during a search two months later, Trump still had many classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

For the former president, this has clearly become the basis of a serious legal problem. But related questions for the attorney also needed answers: Did Bobb knowingly sign a document making false claims to the Justice Department about classified documents?

According to the NBC News report, the attorney – who had to hire her own attorney – is now trying to avoid the mess, telling investigators she didn’t write the statement she signed. In fact, Bobb said it was another Trump lawyer, Evan Corcoran, who wrote the statement and told him to sign it.

There was already evidence of division and disarray within the former president’s defense team. That probably won’t help matters.

But the NBC News report added something else that stood out:

Before Bobb signed the document, she insisted that it be rewritten with a disclaimer stating that she was certifying that Trump had no further records ‘based on the information provided to me’ , the sources said of what she told investigators. Bobb identified the person who gave him this “information” as Corcoran, the sources said. “She had to insist on that disclaimer twice before she signed it,” said a source who spoke to Bobb about what she told investigators.

But why insist on the disclaimer? Was it because Bobb had reason to fear that Trump might very well have had more classified documents, despite the document she was signing? If so, why sign it? If not, why bother having the document rewritten?

I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this one.

Post Scriptum:For more on the Bobb aspect of the larger controversy, my colleague Lisa Rubin posted an excellent article about it in late August.