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Former Mar-A-Lago Employee Who Helped Trump Move Documents Rebuts Trump's Favorite Talking Point

Brian Butler, a former Mar-A-Lago employee named as 'Trump Employee 5' in Jack Smith's indictment, spoke out to CNN about the case.

Brian Butler; Donald Trump
CNN; Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former Republican President Donald Trump has a longstanding habit of failing to take ownership for his words and deeds.

Regardless of the evidence—from confessing to a pattern of sexual assault on the infamous Access Hollywoodrecording to classified documents compromising national security found at Mar-a-Lago—Trump has always claimed victimhood instead of responsibility.

But one of his former employees is calling BS on Trump's claims of a Justice Department witch hunt regarding the aforementioned "Top Secret" and "Restricted" documents Trump took from the White House, lied about having in official legal communications and refused to return after repeated requests from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Brian Butler—previously only identified as "Trump Employee 5" in the classified documents indictment—told CNN's Kaitlan Collins:

"I think the American people have the right to know the facts, that this is not a witch hunt."

Revealing why he chose to go public, Butler—who worked for Trump at Mar-a-Lago for 20 years—added:

"I personally would just say, I just don't believe that he should be a presidential candidate at this time."
"I think it's time to move on."

He also spoke about unwittingly moving 10-15 boxes of documents onto Trump's private plane in June of 2022 as Trump left Mar-a-Lago to go to his New Jersey resort for the summer.

On the same day, Butler saw Trump going in to meet his attorney Evan Corcoran and a group of people later identified as FBI agents there to collect any remaining documents Trump still withheld from NARA.

Butler said:

"I come to realize now at the same time he’s going in there, the boxes are going from somewhere [at Mar-a-Lago] into a vehicle, which are eventually going to the plane, which I load with Walt [Nauta]."
“I was on the cloister outside over by the bar, and the former President was walking towards the living room, like he was gonna enter the living room."

June 3, 2022 is when Trump met with the FBI and another of his lawyer's, Christina Bobb, signed a document claiming no further documents were in Trump's possession.

Butler continued:

"He was with Secret Service. I remember he said hi to me. 'Hi, Brian'. 'Hi Mr. Trump' or 'President Trump'."
"And then he went in and talked to them, but I had no clue who those people were."

Reflecting on a conversation with his one-time best friend Carlos de Oliveira, Butler shared:

"There was one time, [de Oliveira] said, 'You know, we’re all dirty. We all moved boxes'. And I said, 'Well, look, I didn’t even know what I was moving until I was at the plane, and that’s when I remember moving boxes'."
"I think he just wanted to—I don’t know, you know? Maybe he thought if it was Walt, him, and I all together, maybe things would be better if we all … I don’t know."

Butler said he hasn't spoken to Mar-a-Lago property manager de Oliveira since the indictment.

Removal of any presidential documents—regardless of classification—violated the Presidential Records Act of 1978. But the removal, retention and failure to secure the classified documents added another level of illegal behavior addressed by the indictment handed down by Special Counsel Jack Smith.

Trump is charged with dozens of felonies for mishandling national defense information and purposefully withholding classified documents. Trump aide Walt Nauta has six counts in the indictment including obstruction and concealment. Carlos de Oliveira faces four counts.

Butler's firsthand account proves Trump and several of his associates knowingly lied. Christina Bobb has claimed she trusted Trump and Corcoran when they told her all documents were turned over.

On August 8, 2022, the FBI conducted a warranted search of Mar-a-Lago where at least 300 classified government documents and 48 empty folders labeled "classified" were seized.

An updated indictment alleged Nauta and de Oliveira also tried to delete Mar-a-Lago security camera footage after the Justice Department subpoenaed it.

Many have grown tired of Trump's persecution complex and the GOP and MAGA minions support for his lies.

While Trump places great stock in being seen as strong, the constant excuses and deflections indicate anything but for most people.


While exposing his identity is certain to make Butler a target of the MAGA minions, he stated:

"This is so much bigger than me."
"You know, this is a nation that needs to decide who's gonna be the next President."

From January 2022—a year after leaving office—until the FBI search in August 2022, over 13,000 government documents in total were recovered from Trump including nuclear-related, FBI, CIA, and NSA information about national security interests.

Of those, 337 were classified with 197 handed over in January, 38 turned over under subpoena in June 2022, and 102 seized in August. They included Top Secret documents—the highest classification level.

The FBI's search warrant cited:

  • violations of the Espionage Act regarding unauthorized retention of national defense information
  • destroying or concealing records "with the intent to impede obstruct or influence" federal government activity
  • illegal removal or destruction of federal government records without respect to cause

As pointed out by Lawfare in a piece addressing Trump's claims of victimhood:

"Trump’s 'witch hunt' theory misses a crucial thing: his own conduct."
"It’s not like Trump’s behavior is being questioned for no reason. He just keeps doing things that require investigation."

You can watch the full CNN interview with Butler here: