'False': Trump Denies Key Prosecution Claim About Mar-A-Lago Security Tapes In New Interview


Former President Donald Trump said he would testify under oath that he did not direct his Mar-A-Lago employees to delete security footage, according to a clip of an upcoming Meet the Press interview in which he broadly denies allegations at the center of indictments against two of his employees in the case.

Key Facts

Trump told NBC’s Kristen Welker the allegation that he ordered the surveillance tapes deleted was “false,” according to a clip released Friday of the interview set to air Sunday.

Trump also said the tapes were never tampered with, telling Welker “there was nothing done to them,” and adding that he wasn’t required to hand them over to investigators: “they were my tapes . . . I didn’t ever have to give them the tapes,” he said.

Trump’s conduct surrounding the security tapes are at the center of a superseding indictment filed against him and Mar-A-Lago maintenance supervisor Carlos De Oliveira in July, following Trump’s initial indictment in June.

The July indictment alleges De Oliveira asked the property IT director (identified in news reports as Yuscil Taveras) to delete security footage, telling him that the instructions came from “the boss.”

Prosecutors also accused De Oliveira and a third employee, Walt Nauta (who was indicted alongside Trump in June), of moving boxes around in an effort to hide them from investigators.


Trump is prohibited from publicly discussing classified information in the case, per an order U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon issued Wednesday that also bars him and his lawyers from discussing the sensitive materials outside of government-authorized secure locations.

Surprising Fact

Prosecutors subpoenaed the Trump Organization and the software company that manages the surveillance footage for the tapes, the New York Times reported in May, citing sources, one who said portions of the tapes appear to have been deleted. Taveras, who has not been indicted, initially denied or said he did not remember having conversations about deleting the footage in his grand jury testimony, but later retracted the statements and “provided information that implicated” Trump, Nauta and De Oliveira, prosecutors said in an August court filing.

Key Background

Trump was indicted in June on 37 counts alleging he mishandled classified documents, including 31 violations of an Espionage Act provision that prohibits wilful retention of national defense information. The indictment accuses Trump of bringing the trove of documents—some of which allegedly contained sensitive military information—with him to his Mar-A-Lago resort after leaving office, hiding them in various unsecured locations at the property and instructing aides to conceal their whereabouts from investigators. In the superseding indictment filed in July, Trump was charged with three additional felonies in the case: one additional count of violating the Espionage Act and two new charges related to concealing or destroying documents. Trump, De Oliveira and Nauta have pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

Crucial Quote

If he’s elected president again, Trump also told Welker it’s “very unlikely” he’d pardon himself if he’s convicted in any of the four criminal cases against him, because he believes he did nothing to warrant the charges, he said in a Thursday preview of the interview. “The last thing I’d ever do is give myself a pardon,” Trump recalled telling his lawyers, adding that doing so would make him look “terrible.”

Further Reading

Key Witness Implicates Trump In Classified Documents Case After Recanting False Testimony (Forbes)

Who Is Carlos De Oliveira? The Mar-A-Lago Employee Indicted With Trump In Classified Documents Case (Forbes)

Trump Charged With More Crimes In Documents Case—Here’s What That Means (Forbes)

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