Department of Justice and FBI investigators have gathered new evidence pointing to possible obstruction of justice by former President Trump related to the probe into classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago residence, The Washington Post reported Sunday.
Sources familiar with the matter told the Post, federal investigators have learned that Trump looked through boxes that contained classified documents after he’d already been subpoenaed to turn them over, hoping to keep some with him. And then, after finally turning over those documents in January—months after the FBI raid on his Florida residence—authorities reportedly concluded that he did indeed withhold some.
The team investigating the Trump case has focused a lot of its time on events that happened after the former President’s advisers received a subpoena in May demanding the return of all documents marked classified, according to Post sources.
Back in December, the Post reported Trump attorneys had hired an outside firm to search his properties for documents in order to be in full compliance with that May grand jury subpoena to turn over all materials bearing classified markings. They found at least two items marked classified at a storage unit used by the former President in West Palm Beach, but no new classified material during their searches of Trump Tower in Manhattan or Trump’s Bedminster golf club in New Jersey.
In February, the Trump team found another folder with classified markings that they said they found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida. It was turned over to the feds along with a laptop belonging to Trump.
Now, the Post reports that special counsel Jack Smith is apparently focusing on the obstruction elements of the classified documents case, including whether Trump took or directed actions to impede government efforts to collect all the sensitive records. Sources tell the Post that Smith is trying to determine whether there is enough evidence to ask a grand jury to charge Trump with obstructing the investigation.
The classified documents investigation is just one of four separate criminal probes surrounding Trump, who is running for reelection in 2024. Along with this case, Smith has also been tasked by Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate Trump’s involvement in the January 6, 2021 deadly insurrection on the U.S. Capitol and the plot to overturn the 2020 Presidential election.
In Georgia, a special grand jury is investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn his narrow 2020 election loss in that state.
And Trump has been indicted in New York by a Manhattan grand jury on reportedly more than 30 counts of business fraud for his role in hush money payments ahead of the 2016 Presidential election. He is expected to turn himself in on Tuesday.
When questioned about the latest developments in the classified documents case, Trump spokesman Steven Cheung sent the Post a written statement which pointed fingers at the Biden documents case as well as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
“The witch-hunts against President Trump have no basis in facts or law,” the statement went on to say. “The deranged special counsel and the DoJ have now resorted to prosecutorial misconduct by illegally leaking information to corrupt the legal process and weaponize the justice system in order to manipulate public opinion and conduct election interference, because they are clearly losing all across the board.”
A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment on the Post’s reporting.