- Former President Donald Trump has been informed he is a target of the federal criminal probe into his retention of hundreds of classified government records after leaving the White House.
- Special counsel Jack Smith is probing Trump both for keeping classified records at his residence in his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, and his suspected efforts to hide those documents and keep them from government officials seeking their return.
- Smith and other Department of Justice officials met with three lawyers for Trump on Monday at DOJ headquarters.
Former President Donald Trump has been informed he is a target of the federal criminal probe into his retention of hundreds of classified government records after leaving the White House, NBC News reported Wednesday evening.
Such notification typically occurs before prosecutors decide whether to lodge criminal charges against a target.
Trump’s attorneys were told at a meeting Monday at the Department of Justice with special counsel Jack Smith and other DOJ officials that he is a target of the classified documents investigation, according to two sources briefed on the meeting, NBC reported. It was not clear if they previously had been notified of that status for him.
Targets are people who prosecutors believe committed a crime. Targets often end up being indicted.
DOJ regulations say that a prosecutor, “in appropriate cases, is encouraged to notify such person a reasonable time before seeking an indictment in order to afford him or her an opportunity to testify before the grand jury.”
A DOJ spokesperson declined to comment.
Disclosure of Trump’s status in the investigation came as Taylor Budowich, a top aide of his, testified to a grand jury in U.S. District Court in Miami, which has been gathering evidence for the case.
Smith is probing Trump both for keeping classified records at his residence in his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, and his suspected efforts to hide those documents and keep them from government officials seeking their return. By law, presidents must surrender government records when they leave office.
A raid on Mar-a-Lago last August by the FBI uncovered hundreds of classified documents and other government records.
Trump in a social media post on Wednesday said, “no one has told me I’m being indicted.”
He added that he should not be criminally charged in the case “because I’ve done nothing wrong.”
Trump did not directly answer a New York Times reporter, Maggie Haberman, when she asked him if he had been told he was a target, she reported.
Trump, who is seeking the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, was indicted by a New York state grand jury in March on charges of falsifying business records in connection with a 2016 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels by his then-personal lawyer.
He has pleaded not guilty in that case, which is due to go to trial next year in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Smith separately is overseeing a criminal probe of Trump’s efforts to reverse his loss in the 2020 national presidential election. A state prosecutor in Georgia likewise is investigating him and his allies for such efforts in that state’s presidential election that year.
Trump on Wednesday called the prosecutors in all of those cases “fascists” who were trying to harm him politically.
Source: NBC New York
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