WASHINGTON — This spring, one of the lawyers representing former President Donald Trump made an urgent, high-stakes request to Christina G. Bobb, who had just jumped from a Trump-allied cable network to a job in his political organization.
The former president was in the midst of an escalating clash with the Justice Department about documents he had taken with him from the White House at the end of his term. The lawyer, M. Evan Corcoran, met Bobb at the president’s residence and private club in Florida and asked her to sign a statement for the department that the Trump legal team had conducted a “diligent search” of Mar-a-Lago and found only a few files that had not been returned to the government.
Bobb, a 39-year-old lawyer juggling amorphous roles in her new job, was being asked to take a step that neither Trump nor other members of the legal team were willing to take — so she looked before leaping.
“Wait a minute — I don’t know you,” Bobb replied to Corcoran’s request, according to a person to whom she later recounted the episode. She later complained that she did not have a full grasp of what was going on around her when she signed the document, according to two people who have heard her account.
Bobb, who relentlessly promoted falsehoods about the 2020 election as an on-air host for the far-right One America News Network, eventually signed her name. But she insisted on adding a written caveat before giving it to a senior Justice Department official June 3: “The above statements are true and correct to the best of my knowledge.”
Her sworn statement, hedged or not, was shown to be flatly false after the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8, which recovered about 100 additional highly sensitive government documents, including some marked with the highest levels of classification. And prosecutors are now investigating whether her actions constitute obstruction of justice or if she committed other crimes.
On Friday, Bobb sat for a voluntary interview with Justice Department lawyers in Washington, according to three people familiar with the situation. She told them that another Trump lawyer, Boris Epshteyn, contacted her the night before she signed the attestation and connected her with Corcoran. Bobb, who was living in Florida, was told that she needed to go to Mar-a-Lago the next day to deal with an unspecified legal matter for Trump.
In her meeting with the department — a development reported by NBC News on Monday — Bobb, who was accompanied by her criminal defense lawyer, John Lauro, emphasized that she was working as part of a team rather than as a solo actor when she signed the statement attesting to the return of all the documents, the people said.
Corcoran, she told the Justice Department, had walked her through how he had conducted a search of a storage facility at Mar-a-Lago for the documents. She said she had believed at the time she signed the attestation in June that it was accurate, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Bobb has made clear that she is not taking an adversarial position toward Trump in answering the Justice Department’s questions. She told investigators that before she signed the attestation, she heard Trump tell Corcoran that they should cooperate with the Justice Department and give prosecutors what they wanted — an assurance that would come to ring hollow as the investigation proceeded and became a bitter court fight.
The Justice Department declined to comment. Bobb, Corcoran and a spokesperson for Trump did not respond to requests for comment. A lawyer for Epshteyn did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Bobb’s trajectory is a familiar one in Trump’s orbit: a marginal player thrust by ambition and happenstance into a position where her profile and prospects are elevated, but at the cost of serious legal and reputational risk.
But she stands out for a varied background — she is a former Marine who served in Afghanistan and a failed political candidate who jettisoned a conventional career to become a far-right cable news host — and for the tensile strength of her baseless conviction that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.
In the past two years, Bobb has emerged as one of his truest of true believers, embracing conspiracy theories with a fervor that has at times seemed over the top even to her colleagues, according to interviews with a dozen people who have worked with her over the past several years.
Bobb has not been shy about expressing her opinions on conservative news outlets, speaking expansively about the court-authorized FBI search and her low opinion of those who executed it.
“I don’t believe that there was any classified material in there, though I’m sure the FBI will say that there is,” she said in an interview with conservative activist Dinesh D’Souza two days after the warrant was executed.
Another conservative activist, Mike Farris, asked if she was concerned by the Justice Department’s aggressive approach.
“I’m not too worried about it,” she replied. “They are all a bunch of cowards; they don’t have anything.”
Bobb was present in the pro-Trump “command center” at the Willard Hotel in Washington before the Capitol attack, along with Rudy Giuliani and other Trump stalwarts.
She acted as Giuliani’s go-between with state officials in Arizona and helped fundraise for a recount in Maricopa County that Republican leaders called a “sham.” She drafted a memo and participated in meetings to discuss a plan to appoint alternate slates of electors to reverse legitimate state election results. And Bobb created the computer file used to draft a proposal, never carried out, for Trump to issue an executive order for the federal government to seize voting machines.
Dominion Voting Systems is suing Bobb and OAN for promoting unsubstantiated claims that the company was part of a vote-switching scheme to favor Joe Biden. The House committee investigating the Capitol riot subpoenaed Bobb in March to testify about her “attempts to disrupt or delay” certification of the election and her reported involvement in drafting the executive order.
She complied but provided no proof when pressed on her claims about the election, according to a congressional aide with knowledge of her testimony.
Bobb blurred the lines between covering Trump and working for him.
She offered a dour after-action report of the failed attempt to appoint alternate electors to overturn the election in a previously undisclosed memo she sent to Trump on March 29, 2021, while working for OAN. The memo, obtained from a person to whom it was later forwarded, was marked “ATTORNEY CLIENT PRIVILEGE,” even though she was not on Trump’s legal team at the time.
“If three states changed their electors, the result of the election would have flipped,” Bobb wrote, adding a caveat at the end: It was “unclear” whether the Supreme Court would have supported the elector scheme.
It is not known if Trump read it. He seems to have a mixed opinion of Bobb’s on-air work, however, grousing that she was too flattering to him in several OAN interviews, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.
Bobb, a standout soccer and volleyball player during her high school years in the Phoenix area, graduated with a joint business and law degree from San Diego State University and California Western School of Law in 2008.
She joined the Marine Corps, going through officer candidate school and completing a grueling basic training course in May 2010 as one of 16 women in a class of 280. She served in the Judge Advocate General’s office, representing Marines in disciplinary hearings, and was assigned for a time in Helmand province, Afghanistan, as an operational law attorney consulting combat commanders on the legality of military operations.
Those experiences, Bobb has suggested, were front of mind as she stood in the sweltering Mar-a-Lago parking lot angrily observing FBI agents carrying out the search warrant. “Every service member can tell you that you have an affirmative obligation to disregard an unlawful order,” she told Farris in August.
Bobb left the Marines after two years to work for a law firm in San Diego, where she served as a junior lawyer in three trademark infringement cases brought by CrossFit against local gym operators, according to court records.
Around that time, she made her first foray into politics, running as an independent for a House seat in a predominantly Democratic district in San Diego. She kept a defiantly low profile, criticizing politicians who craved the “limelight,” maintaining a bare-bones website and raising no money.
“I understand that it might not work, but it might,” she told a reporter covering the race in 2014.
It did not. Bobb finished last in a field of eight, with 929 votes. She did not challenge the result.
A few years later, she moved to Washington; in mid-2019, she was selected for an administrative job at the Department of Homeland Security: executive secretary. She served as a conduit for external correspondence, and her name was often attached to important memos, largely drafted by others, such as a list of locations where Trump’s border wall was to be built.
The job also entailed another responsibility: ensuring compliance with federal records laws.
Colleagues remember Bobb as hardworking and professional, with a bearing more military than political (she retained the habit of referring to superiors as “sir” and “ma’am”). But it soon became clear that the department’s leadership, while satisfied with her work, was not wowed with it and had no intention of promoting her, two former co-workers said.
In late 2019, she requested a position in the policy unit of Customs and Border Protection but left after only a few months, they said.
At that point, Bobb made an abrupt career shift, applying for a job with the San Diego-based OAN, where her connection to homeland security seemed to have been a selling point.
The network’s conservative owners viewed immigration as their top priority and wanted to bolster their coverage. Bobb’s first on-air interview was with her former boss Chad Wolf, the acting homeland security secretary.
It was after Election Day 2020 that she seemed to find her calling, airing multiple reports of unproven electoral fraud, culminating in a lengthy February 2021 segment, “Arizona Election Heist,” which promoted debunked and dubious claims about her home state.
After the election, Bobb was also a fixture at meetings where Trump hard-liners such as John Eastman and Sidney Powell discussed plans to reverse the results — which initially raised questions about whether she was embedded for reporting purposes or committed to the cause. Participants quickly concluded it was the latter, according to one of them.
By December, she was back-channeling requests from Giuliani to Republican state officials in Arizona, pressuring them to authorize a recount of the Maricopa voting, despite a statewide canvass that confirmed Biden’s 10,000-vote margin of victory.
“Mayor Giuliani asked me to send you these declarations,” Bobb wrote to one leader, accompanied by affidavits, according to an email obtained by American Oversight, a left-leaning watchdog group.
By March 2022, Bobb decided to leave OAN and relocated to Florida to be closer to Trump and some of the senior leadership of the Trump-affiliated Save America political action committee, taking a staff job that paid $144,600 a year, according to federal campaign finance records.
While she has been a fixture on the airwaves and social media, Bobb requested that her name be redacted from the signed attestation about the documents when it was unsealed in late August, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
It leaked anyway.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
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