Donald Trump Likely to Be Indicted Soon in Probe of Allegedly Classified Documents | Report

According to several people on Wednesday familiar with the case, federal prosecutors have informed Donald Trump that he is a criminal target and is likely to be indicted shortly in a probe into allegedly classified documents. This comes despite the Justice Department's refusal to delay charges to give time to look into allegations of witness tampering made by the former president's legal team.

According to people with direct knowledge of the matter, DOJ declined to postpone the anticipated indictment of Trump in order to look into claims that a top prosecutor working on the case attempted to persuade a crucial witness by discussing a federal judgeship with the witness' attorney.

According to the sources, the accusation is still ongoing in a covert case before Chief U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg, the judge in charge of the federal court in Washington, D.C., as well as the grand juries that meet there.

The 45th president could face a historic federal indictment prepared by Special Counsel Jack Smith from a federal grand jury as soon as this week, according to the sources.

Trump has previously been charged with lying to a Manhattan court about company costs in order to conceal payments of hush money to a porn star, but he has maintained his innocence.

Trump has claimed that both investigations are a part of a larger "witch hunt" and parallel system of justice intended to thwart his bid for the presidency in 2024.

Trump said this week that Smith is politicized and that the federal investigation against him is being handled differently than the case against President Joe Biden, who was also discovered to be in possession of sensitive materials during his tenure as vice president.

"HOW CAN DOJ POSSIBLY CHARGE ME, WHO DID NOTHING WRONG, WHEN NO OTHER PRESIDENT'S WERE CHARGED, WHEN JOE BIDEN WON'T BE CHARGED FOR ANYTHING," Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform in a post. He also criticized the DOJ's decision not to bring charges against Hillary Clinton in 2016 for the use of a private email server to store classified information.


Federal prosecutors deny using politics in their investigation of Trump.

In recent days, Smith's prosecuting team alerted Trump's legal team that the allegations against the former president would include a breach of 18 U.S. Code Chapter 37 Section 793, which forbids the "gathering, sending or losing" of national defence information. The president and his administration have vehemently refuted all allegations in public and private. Other accusations under consideration include suspected false statements and obstruction of justice.

Federal court has never indicted a sitting or previous American president, and if the grand jury agrees with the prosecution's case, it will start a historic legal battle that will undoubtedly end up before the Supreme Court while looming over the 2024 election, in which Trump is widely believed to be leading the GOP field by as much as 50 points.

After doing months of legal study, Trump's attorneys have created a strong defence in the event Smith decides to press charges. Trump's legal team is preparing to assert that a president has extensive authority under the Constitution to take papers with him after leaving office by declassifying them quietly or keeping them.

They will heavily rely on a U.S. District Court case from more than ten years ago in Washington involving former President Bill Clinton, which found that a president has broad and largely unchallengeable authority to decide which records of his presidency can be kept personally and that any records moved to Trump's homes in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, and Bedminster, New Jersey, fall under that category.

Trump said that "guidelines support his view that presidents have extensive discretion to formally declassify most materials that are not statutorily protected, while they are in office," and an American Bar Association study from 2022 seemed to corroborate this claim.

The prosecution intends to argue that this power does not apply to records that include National Defence Information and whose preservation or disclosure would endanger national security.

They allegedly played grand jury witnesses a recording that Trump's office allegedly made in 2021 during an interview with the biographers of former chief of staff Mark Meadows in which the former president allegedly discussed a document he described as classified and in his possession and allegedly written by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley that outlined a war plan against Iran.

Prosecutors discovered a paper with secret markings authored by others that described an Iranian war plan that Trump had submitted to the National Archives more than a year prior, though they could not find the specific document that matched Trump's claim.

According to persons familiar with both sides of the issue, Trump attorneys have gathered evidence suggesting that details from that plan were leaked to a significant magazine by a senior military commander and want to use it as proof that it can no longer be designated National Defence Information.

The evidence the Trump defence team provided to Boasberg in a recent secret court proceeding and to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco's office on Monday, alleging a senior federal prosecutor working on the case discussed a federal judgeship with a defence attorney for a key witness, is, however, one of the first disputes that is likely to be addressed.

In the past 24 hours, Monaco's office notified the Trump campaign that it was turning down a request to postpone the indictment so the accusation could be looked into.

According to people familiar with the claim, the prosecutor reportedly referenced the nomination while attempting to elicit extra testimony from the lawyer's client while the lawyer was already in line to be considered by the Biden White House for a judgeship.

Defence attorneys were concerned about the conversation because they believed it was an attempt to sway the witness, who has refused to alter his evidence since he says he has no further knowledge on the transfer of boxes and antiques at Mar-a-Lago after he left the White House, the sources said.

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