Trump Lawyers Visit DOJ Amid Classified Documents Investigation

June 5, 2023

Special Counsel Jack Smith was among the Department of Justice officials who met with three Trump attorneys Monday amid reports federal prosecutors are wrapping up the investigation into the former President’s handling of classified documents, the New York Times reported Monday afternoon.

The three attorneys seen departing the DOJ’s building in Washington after the morning meeting were Lindsey Halligan, John Rowley and James Trusty.

The trio declined to comment to reporters about their visit, which reportedly lasted just under two hours.

However, citing sources, the Washington Post reported that the attorneys had gone there to make their case that the government should not charge Trump for his possession of the documents.

In late May, Rowley and Trusty had sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking for a meeting to discuss what the Trump team has called the unfair treatment of their client by Smith, who was appointed special counsel by Garland back in November to lead the federal Trump investigation.

The lawyers’ visit to the DOJ occurred shortly after NBC News reported that the grand jury in the classified documents investigation is expected to meet again sometime this week.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, asserting repeatedly that he would “have the right” to keep classified material at his Florida country club residence, Mar-a-Lago, post-Presidency.

However, reports surfaced last week that federal prosecutors had obtained an audio recording, from the summer of 2021, which is reportedly of Trump saying he held onto a classified document about a potential attack on Iran. In the recording, Trump reportedly suggests that he knew the document was secret and that he had not declassified it.

Further, Trump’s comments on the recording suggest he would like to share the information on the purported document but he’s aware of limitations on his ability post-presidency to declassify records.

The claim would undermine Trump’s assertions that he declassified all the documents in his possession while he was still President, as well as his claim of having the right to hold on to such a document. 

In recent weeks it’s been reported that Smith is apparently focusing on whether there is enough evidence to ask the grand jury to charge Trump with obstruction of justice surrounding his handling of the classified documents, including whether the former President took or directed actions to impede government efforts to collect all the sensitive records.

According to the Post, it’s not unusual for high-profile defendants to seek an audience with senior DOJ officials toward the end of a federal criminal investigation.

The former President is already facing 34 felony counts of falsifying business records and conspiracy related to his role in hush money payments during the 2016 campaign season—a first in U.S. history. That indictment was handed down in New York State court. 

If the DOJ decides to indict Trump, it would be another historic first—charging a former President with a federal crime.

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