Report: Trump’s Little Classified Documents Scandal Is Getting the Grand Jury Treatment
Earlier this year, we learned that Donald Trump has a big problem with paper. Specifically, presidential documents, which he (1) regularly shredded (2) possibly flushed down the toilet, and (3) took to Mar-a-Lago despite the fact that he definitely was not supposed to, on account of them both being federal property and, in some cases, marked “top secret.” And apparently, the Department of Justice thinks that last nasty little habit is worth looking into!
The New York Times reports that federal prosecutors have launched a grand jury investigation into the handling of the classified documents that made their way to the ex-president’s Florida home, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The Times notes that “in recent days, the Justice Department has taken a series of steps showing that its investigation has progressed beyond the preliminary stages,” including issuing a subpoena to the National Archives and Records Administration for the documents in question, and requesting interviews with people who worked in the White House at the end of Trump’s term.
According to the Times, the documents “are believed to have been kept in the residence of the White House before they were boxed up and sent to Mar-a-Lago,” and the DOJ investigation is focused on “how the documents made their way to the residence, who boxed them up, whether anyone knew that classified materials were being improperly taken out of the White House and how they were ultimately stored in Mar-a-Lago.” In February, The Washington Post reported the news that some of the documents Trump absconded with weren’t simply knickknacks and “love letters” from his favorite dictator but actual matters of national security. That discovery was made by archivists, after the boxes had been retrieved from Mar-a-Lago.
Reporters Maggie Haberman and Michael Schmidt note that it is rare for charges to be brought over classified documents. The investigation of Hillary Clinton’s personal email usage, of course, ended without an indictment, though on the other hand it did likely ruin her chances of becoming president and, according to Trump, should have resulted in her going to prison. Yet strangely we don’t see him leading any “Lock him up chants” about himself.
The DOJ investigation is, of course, just one of many legal issues currently facing the ex-president. While the Manhattan district attorney does not appear to be bringing charges against him any time soon—though not because he didn’t commit “numerous” crimes, according to the veteran prosecutor who led the case!—the New York attorney general’s probe against him continues. (According to A.G. Letitia James, she’s uncovered “significant” evidence of fraud by the Trump Organization. Spokespeople for the ex-president have, as they are contractually obligated to do, claimed the whole thing is a witch hunt.) Prosecutors in Atlanta are also investigating his attempt to overturn the 2020 election results, while the Westchester County district attorney’s office is said to be conducting its own criminal probe of the Trump family business.
In February, amid reports of Trump’s habit of document destruction, and the news that he’d brought classified documents to Mar-a-Lago, Axios reported that in her forthcoming book, Haberman recounts that: “While President Trump was in office, staff in the White House residence periodically discovered wads of printed paper clogging a toilet—and believed the president had flushed pieces of paper.” It does not appear that any law enforcement bodies are looking into that.
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