Former President Donald Trump’s superseding indictment alleges a new obstruction scheme between himself, his body man Walt Nauta, and top Mar-a-Lago maintenance worker Carlos De Oliveira to destroy footage from security equipment that showed them concealing boxes of highly classified national defense information.
All of this is completely unsurprising, argued former Trump White House official Alyssa Farah Griffin in a CNN panel on Friday — it’s his classic modus operandi.
“[What] really stood out is, Alyssa … [is] the relationships that have been laid out here,” said anchor Erica Hill. “Walt Nauta is supposed to travel with the former president. Instead, he shifts gears. He’s going down to Mar-a-Lago, is talking to De Oliveira. He’s helping to spread the messages. Just talk to us a little bit about what that relationship, based on your experience, is like with the former president and the pressure that’s potentially applied.”
“Well, I think what stood out to me in this was there’s this 24-minute phone call by the former president where, that’s an extremely long time for President Trump to talk to someone who is not a family aide or a family member. It’s very odd,” said Griffin, a frequent critic of the former president. “There is a power discrepancy. Walt did serve in the White House. If Donald Trump is re-elected, it wouldn’t be shocking if he followed him. This kind of maintenance manager, this is, let’s call him junior person who works at Mar-a-Lago, I can imagine felt some sort of pressure. I would guess if he has outside counsel and is not having his counsel provided for by the former president, it would make a lot of sense for him to sever. There’s going to be pressure there.”
“I imagine that he felt like he needed to cooperate with what the former president was instructing him to do,” she continued. “This is Donald Trump’s playbook. He pressures people around him. He clearly bypassed his lawyers and wanted to work with these two individuals to obstruct. These guys are in a very bad position now because of it.”
“Alyssa hits on a really important point, and this is right out of the Donald Trump playbook,” added former federal prosecutor Elie Honig. “He pays for lawyers for people around him. That’s not illegal. It’s more common than people recognize. It happens in corporate cases, organized criminal activity, it happens a lot, but it naturally has the effect of making it really difficult to break away, A, because you don’t know exactly where your lawyer’s loyalty sits and, B, it’s expensive if you have to hire your own lawyer. We’ll see how that plays here.”
New obstruction scheme is ‘right out of the Donald Trump playbook’