Top Trump campaign aide identified as key individual in classified docs indictment: Sources

Susie Wiles, a trusted adviser, is helping lead Trump's reelection effort.

June 28, 2023, 8:06 PM

One of the top advisers on Donald Trump's 2024 campaign is among the individuals identified but not named by special counsel Jack Smith in his indictment against the former president for allegedly mishandling classified documents after leaving the White House and obstructing the government's efforts to retrieve them, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

Susie Wiles, one of Trump's most trusted advisers leading his second reelection effort, is the individual singled out in Smith's indictment as the "PAC Representative" who Trump is alleged to have shown a classified map to in August or September of 2021, sources said.

Trump, in the indictment, is alleged to have shown the classified map of an unidentified country to Wiles while discussing a military operation that Trump said "was not going well," while adding that he "should not be showing the map" to her and "not to get too close."

"Jack Smith and the Special Counsel’s investigation is openly engaging in outright election interference and meddling by attacking one of the leaders of President Trump’s re-election campaign," a Trump campaign spokesperson told ABC News. "This sham investigation by Joe Biden and his weaponized DOJ are clearly designed to inflict maximum political damage and to prevent President Trump ... from reclaiming the White House."

A spokesperson for the special counsel's office declined to comment. The Justice Department and the White House have both denied any political interference in the special counsel's investigation.

The alleged exchange between Trump and Wiles is the second of two instances detailed by prosecutors in the indictment showing how Trump allegedly disclosed classified information in private meetings after leaving the White House. The first was a July 2021 audio recording, obtained by ABC News earlier this week, in which Trump is heard showing people what he describes as a "secret" and "highly confidential" document relating to Iran.

ABC News has reported the meeting involved people who were helping Trump's former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, with his memoir, according to sources. Smith's team has spoken to the meeting's attendees, which included the writers helping Meadows with his book and at least two aides to Trump, according to sources.

In this Aug. 8, 2022, file photo, Susie Wiles, a lobbyist and seasoned Republican strategist who ran Donald Trump's successful 2016 Florida effort, is shown.
Adam C. Smith/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Press via Newscom, FILE

Trump has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and continues to claim he was not showing off classified documents, as he seems to be doing during the meeting, according to an audio recording of the meeting.

"I would say it's bravado," Trump told ABC News Tuesday about his conversation in the recording. "If you want to know the truth, it was bravado. I was talking about just holding up papers and talking about, but I have no documents. I didn't have any documents."

It does not appear, based on the indictment, that Trump was charged specifically for his retention of either the Iran document or the classified map shown to the person identified as Wiles. Rather, the two instances speak to what Smith's prosecutors see as Trump's state of mind in how he handled and sometimes shared classified materials in his possession after leaving the White House, sources said, as well as his alleged efforts to subvert the government’s efforts to get the documents back.

If the identification of Wiles by sources is accurate, it also raises the prospect that should Trump's case go to trial prior to the 2024 election, one of the top figures leading his reelection bid could be called to testify as a key witness. Wiles, who previously helped lead Trump’s now-GOP primary opponent Ron DeSantis’s two campaigns for governor, is seen as one of Trump's most trusted confidants.

She also led Trump’s campaign operations in Florida in 2016, and was later CEO of Trump's Save America political action committee.

While Trump has not named a 2024 campaign manager, Wiles, along with Chris LaCivita and Brian Jack, are the team steering the campaign's efforts. including all spending, fundraising and infrastructure.

Sources have also further identified some of the other figures mentioned by Smith's team in the indictment. Hayley Harrison and Molly Michael are said to be "Trump Employee 1" and "Trump Employee 2," respectively. The indictment details their text messages back and forth about moving Trump's boxes out of the business center as his Mar-a-Lago estate to create room for staff to work.

Michael, whose name was previously reported as an individual identified in the indictment, is Trump's former executive assistant who no longer works for him, while Harrison is currently an aide to Trump's wife, Melania Trump.

"There is still a little room in the shower where his other stuff is. Is it only his papers he cares about?" Trump Employee 1, identified by sources as Harrison, wrote Trump Employee 2, identified by sources as Michael, according to the indictment. "There's some other stuff in there that are not papers. Could that go to storage? Or does he want everything in there on property."

According to the indictment, Trump's longtime aide Walt Nauta and Trump Employee 2, identified by sources as Michael, exchanged text messages between November 2021 and January 2022 about bringing boxes from the storage room to Trump's residence so he could personally review their contents. In one instance in December 2021, Nauta texted Trump Employee 2 about finding that several of Trump's boxes had fallen on the floor with their contents spilled, and sent a photo to her whose image included a document with visible classification markings.

Nauta was charged alongside Trump earlier this month with conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements.

Nauta and Trump Employee 2, identified by sources as Michael, exchanged messages back and forth about the status of Trump's review of the boxes, and on Dec. 29, 2021, Trump Employee 2 texted "Trump Representative 1," who sources say is former Trump lawyer Alex Cannon, to provide him an update, according to the indictment. Cannon was in touch with the National Archives and responsible for facilitating the initial transfer of 15 boxes from Mar-a-Lago back to the National Archives in January 2022.

None of the people named by sources as being individuals described in the indictment are accused of any wrongdoing.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for mid-July to address the handling of classified materials in the trial.

Trump, who earlier this month pleaded not guilty to all the charges outlined in Smith's indictment, has dismissed the special counsel's probe as a politically motivated witch hunt.

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