Mar-a-Lago prosecutors sought records of Trump Organization deals
The Washington Post May 23, 2023
Special counsel Jack Smith issued a subpoena in April to Donald Trump’s company seeking any records going back to 2017, when he became president, of any business deals struck in seven foreign countries, according to a person familiar with the matter.
But the inquiry produced little that wasn’t already publicly known, this person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing criminal investigation.
Prosecutors sought information on any real estate and development deals reached in China, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, the person said.
The Trump Organization’s public website lists only one deal in that time frame in one of those countries, Oman, and that deal was done after Trump left the White House. Trump officials had said publicly that he would not do any such deals while he was in office.
An email seeking comment from the Trump Organization was not immediately returned. A spokesman for Smith declined to comment.
The purpose of the subpoena, which was first reported by the New York Times, wasn’t immediately clear. But federal prosecutors have sought to determine, as they investigate hundreds of classified documents that were kept at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and private club in Florida after his term ended, if there was any possible financial motive to keeping those papers.
The Washington Post reported last year that while the classified documents included sensitive information about U.S. intelligence-gathering aimed at China, among other subjects, investigators did not see an obvious financial motive in the type of documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago.
The same April subpoena issued by Smith’s office also sought details of Trump’s deal to host events for the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf tour, according to the person familiar with the situation.
Smith was appointed in November by Attorney General Merrick Garland to oversee the investigation into classified documents kept at Trump’s home — including more than 100 documents recovered in an FBI raid months after his advisers said they had conducted a “diligent search” of the property in response to a subpoena and had turned over “any and all” documents with classified markings.
The Mar-a-Lago investigation has centered on two potential crimes — possible obstruction for not complying with the subpoena and possible mishandling of national security secrets for keeping classified documents in an unauthorized location.
Smith is also overseeing a separate track of Trump-related investigations surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol — a collection of inquiries that includes Trump-focused fundraising after the 2020 presidential election and efforts to stop the official certification of Joe Biden’s victory.
The Washington Post’s Perry Stein contributed to this report.