One of former President Donald Trump’s attorneys responded Thursday to the tumult over comments she made about an FBI photo showing classified documents found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.
Alina Habba, the attorney, said on Fox Business that she has never seen classified records strewn about Trump’s office after she was asked to respond to her statement on Wednesday that she had “firsthand knowledge” of Trump’s Florida home. “The spin is real, David,” Habba told host David Asman about the media reaction to her comments. “It is real. No, that’s exactly my point. I have never seen anything remotely close to that. I had said his office was incredibly tidy.”
The FBI has said the documents in the photo of papers strewn across the floor were initially found in a container. But a Justice Department court filing, part of a dispute over whether to appoint a special master, said the “classified documents were found in both the Storage Room and in the former President’s office,” adding that three classified documents were not located in boxes “but rather were located in the desks in the ‘45 Office.’”
Attempting to downplay online public reactions to the photo that appeared in the Tuesday filing, Habba said during an appearance on Fox News on Wednesday that it gave a misleading impression of how Trump’s office looks. “They give you this appearance that you walk in, and there’s these top-secret documents just strewn about,” Habba said. She also said Trump often had visitors in that office.
During the Fox Business interview on Thursday, Habba criticized those who tied her comments to an affidavit for “a completely unrelated case.” The attorney said she is not Trump’s attorney on the Mar-a-Lago case and was instead the attorney for one regarding Trump’s business dealings in New York. She previously told a New York state court that she conducted a “diligent” search of Trump’s private residence that included “all desks, drawers, nightstands, dressers, closets, etc.” in early May, according to court records.
When asked on Thursday if she believes Trump will be charged, Habba stated that she does not think so but then walked that back, saying, “I don’t know.” She stated Trump had not done anything wrong, in her opinion, and that “there should be no charges.”
The investigation of Trump’s business in New York, in which Habba is involved, is being led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who has been conducting a civil inquiry into whether the Trump Organization improperly manipulated asset valuations for tax and business benefits. During a deposition that took place on Aug 10, only two days after the Mar-a-Lago raid, Trump stated that he had “declined to answer” questions before James.
Trump has broadly denied wronging amid the flurry of investigations into him, his allies, and his business empire. He also claims he declassified the documents found at the Mar-a-Lago club, but his lawyers said in a filing on Wednesday they agree with the government that “it would be appropriate for the special master to possess a Top Secret/SCI security.”