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 senior prosecutor working on the case attempted to persuade a crucial witness by discussing a federal judgeship with the witness’ attorney.
According to the sources, that accusation is still pending 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 already 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 dual 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 from his tenure as vice president.
Trump blasted the DOJ for not prosecuting Hillary Clinton in 2016 for having classified emails stored on her own email server in a post on his Truth Social platform saying, “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,” …”ONLY TRUMP – THE GREATEST WITCH HUNT OF ALL TIME!” he added.
Federal prosecutors deny that their investigation of Trump has been influenced by politics.
A possible violation of 18 U.S. Code Chapter 37 Section 793, which forbids the “gathering, transmitting, or losing” of national security information, was disclosed to Trump’s legal team by Smith’s prosecuting team in recent days. 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.
There has never been a sitting or prior American president indicted in federal court, and if the grand jury accepts the prosecution’s case, it will launch a historic legal battle that is certain to reach the Supreme Court while looming over the 2024 election, in which Trump is expected to easily defeat the GOP field by as much as 50 points, according to some polls.
Several persons with knowledge of the ongoing investigation who spoke to Just the News under the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media said:
After conducting months of legal research, Trump’s attorneys have created a strong defense in the event Smith decides to press charges. Trump’s legal team is preparing to assert that a president has broad authority under the Constitution to take documents 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.
In 2022, a report from the American Bar Association appeared to back Trump’s claim that “guidelines support his contention that presidents have broad authority to formally declassify most documents that are not statutorily protected, while they are in office.”
The prosecution intends to argue that this power does not apply to records that contain National Defense Information and whose retention or disclosure would endanger national security.
In an interview with former chief of staff Mark Meadows’ biographers in 2021, Trump’s office allegedly recorded the former president discussing a document he described as “confidential” and “secret” and in his possession that was allegedly written by former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and outlining a war plan against Iran. They have allegedly played this recording for grand jury witnesses. “Confidential” and “secret” are phrases that can be used to designate a classified document or can simply be used informally to denote a document containing sensitive information.
Prosecutors discovered a paper with classified markings written 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 lawyers have gathered evidence suggesting that details from that plan were leaked to a significant magazine by a senior military officer and intend to use that as evidence that it can no longer be designated National Defense Information.
The evidence the Trump defense 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 defense 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 informed 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 allegedly 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.
Defense 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 movement of boxes and artifacts at Mar-a-Lago since he left the White House, the sources said.