Former President Donald Trump may be one step closer to being charged with a federal crime.
After what appeared to be some downtime, the federal grand jury that has for months now been hearing evidence and witness testimony from Special Counsel Jack Smith in the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents is expected to once again meet in Washington this coming week.
The DOJ has declined to comment on the status of the case, NBC News reports, and it is “unclear whether prosecutors are prepared to seek an indictment at this point.”
The case stems from the unprecedented, politically-motivated FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home one year ago this month.
Documents alleged to be classified were seized at the behest of the DOJ, the Biden administration, and the Jan. 6 “inquisition.”
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 9, 2022
According to NBC News, prosecutors in the case now face “two central legal questions: 1) Did Trump wrongfully retain classified documents after he left the White House? 2) Did he later obstruct the government’s efforts to retrieve them?”
Indications are that Smith is investigating two categories of crimes: how the classified documents were handled and “crimes about obstructing investigators from retrieving those materials,” the outlet explains.
The Espionage Act, which “criminalizes anyone with ‘unauthorized possession’ of ‘national defense’ material who ‘willfully’ retains it,” has been cited, and if prosecutors can demonstrate that Trump intended to “impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation,” obstruction is on the table.
“If Trump is charged with obstruction, it will be important to see what specific evidence Smith’s team has gathered about the former President’s intent,” NBC notes.
The outlet continues:
Prosecutors also don’t have to limit their case to the crimes explicitly outlined in the search warrant. Recent reporting from the Washington Post about Trump “sometimes” showing classified documents to others raises the question of whether he could be charged under an entirely different statute, “disclosure of classified information,” which prohibits revealing certain classified material to anyone not authorized to receive it.
Trump’s claim that, as President, he had every right to declassify documents at any moment he chose is likely “legally unpersuasive,” according to NBC, who seemed to forget that President Joe Biden was discovered with classified documents from the time he was Vice President stashed in numerous unsecured places.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) January 15, 2023
“While there’s never been a case like this before — no former President has made such claims or been accused of such conduct — most national security lawyers say Trump’s argument is legally unpersuasive,” NBC reports.
What’s more, “Claims of Trump’s ignorance about how the documents got to Mar-a-Lago are undercut by the fact that he held onto them, even after the government repeatedly asked for them back.”
Mary McCord, the former Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the DOJ and an NBC News/MSNBC contributor told the outlet, “He had received a request and then a subpoena. If the Archives said we need the documents back and he gave everything back right away, we wouldn’t be talking about criminal culpability.”
NBC goes on to cite a recent CNN report:
But that’s not all. Recent news, first reported by CNN, of Trump talking on tape about a classified document he kept after leaving office and wishing that he had declassified it also hurts his case in significant ways. “It kind of locks him in,” McCord added. “It shows he actually knows he can’t show documents to people who aren’t authorized.”
The recording could also be key to rebutting any defense that Trump might raise about having previously declassified everything he took after he left office.
With no indictment, it is unclear if a case against Trump could go to trial before the 2024 election.
Still, on Twitter, some see the ongoing probe as “election interference.”
“Election interference by democrats in power who do not want to run against him,” one user tweeted.
“Democrats are fascists and getting more so every day,” wrote another.
“How come BIDEN was allowed to STEAL CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS as a Senator & Vice President, keep them in 6 or 7 UNSECURED PLACES where Hunter & Joe could use them when selling ACCESS TO China, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, etc.” a third demanded to know. “Of course the DOJ gave BIDEN a pass!”
Election interference by democrats in power who do not want to run against him.
— Isaac Revonoc #IFBAP (@GotdeSkilz72) June 4, 2023
Democrats are fascists and getting more so every day
— HermanTGerman (@KeithBenningho2) June 4, 2023
How come BIDEN was allowed to STEAL CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS as a Senator & Vice President, keep them in 6 or 7 UNSECURED PLACES where Hunter & Joe could use them when selling ACCESS TO China, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, etc. Of course the DOJ gave BIDEN a pass!
— Barbara Ann Day (@Day1Barbara) June 4, 2023
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