Grand Jury Probe Begins Investigating Trump Document Theft

0
305

A grand jury investigation has been opened by federal prosecutors into the handling of 15 boxes of federal documents that were taken to ex-President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort around the end of his presidency. Classified materials were evidently among the items taken to Trump’s Florida resort. The boxes were eventually recovered by the National Archives, and the Justice Department issued a subpoena to that federal agency to obtain the materials.

A federal law known as the Presidential Records Act demands that an array of records from presidential administrations be preserved and handed over to federal records authorities following administrations’ conclusions. As explained by The New York Times regarding the new Justice Department probe, “The intensifying inquiry suggests that the Justice Department is examining the role of Mr. Trump and other officials in his White House in their handling of sensitive materials during the final stages of his administration.” It’s one of the only known, active lines of inquiry at the Justice Department that directly connect to Trump, although it’s of course unclear at this point whether the investigation will result in any charges. But, the push by the Justice Department to obtain the materials that were taken to Mar-a-Lago indicates they’re evidently taking the issue seriously.

Besides the attempt by the feds to get a hold of exactly was taken to Mar-a-Lago, Justice Department officials have also asked people who worked in the White House as Trump’s presidency drew to a close to sit for interviews. According to the characterization from the Times, the Justice Department generally investigates the handling of classified documents in order to uncover details of what otherwise protected information might have been exposed, allowing intelligence officials and operatives to protect their work and those working with them. Per the Times, it’s apparently believed that government materials eventually brought to Mar-a-Lago were originally stored in the White House residence. Investigators want to know how they got there, who was involved in collecting them for transit to Mar-a-Lago, whether there was an awareness that classified materials were being transported in violation of the relevant standards for handling such items, and more. Details of the documents’ storage at Mar-a-Lago are also subjects of the probe.

The National Archives have figured prominently in other investigative efforts concerning the ex-president as well. The House committee investigating the Capitol riot successfully obtained Trump administration records from the archives after an effort by Trump to stop the documents’ transfer from going through failed. The U.S. Supreme Court, where three of Trump’s own picks currently serve, rejected the ex-president’s push, with just one Justice — Clarence Thomas — breaking from the majority. Clarence’s wife, Ginni, spoke with then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows about efforts to overturn the election outcome, although copies of these texts don’t appear to have been among the records subject to the court’s decision in that instance. In this matter regarding the records boxes, the Times indicates it’s unclear if Trump’s legal team has weighed in after being provided the opportunity to do so because the subpoenaed materials were presidential records. Check out more at this link.