The FBI seized Mar-a-Lago from the ex-President Donald Trump with a subpoena for classified documents
The Justice officials – including Jay Bratt, a top lawyer in the Department of Justice’s national security division – have communicated to Trump’s attorneys that he has an ongoing obligation to return the documents marked as classified.
Some in Trump’s inner circle don’t believe there are any remaining government documents after the FBI seized over 22,000 pages from Mar-a-Lago in August.
As is normal, it is not known what the people who found the classified documents at the Florida storage facility may have said to the grand jury. The ex-president is under investigation by the FBI, possibly for violating the Espionage Act, but also for obstruction of justice related to the documents.
The FBI was not able to take investigative steps that could help locate other missing records because of the judge’s order, prosecutors told an appeals court.
CNN’s Brown had reported late on Wednesday that a Trump employee had told the FBI about being directed by the ex-President to move boxes out of a basement storage room at his Florida club after Trump’s legal team received a subpoena for any classified documents. The FBI also has surveillance footage showing a staffer moving the boxes.
It’s the latest twist in the Justice Department’s efforts to use the court to enforce a subpoena from May that sought to collect all classified records Trump kept in his possession after leaving the presidency. The New York Times reported the news.
Prosecutors said in August that that some documents were likely removed from a storage room before Trump’s lawyers examined the area, while they were trying to comply with the subpoena.
The House Select Committee on Capitol Hill said that former President Donald Trump failed to comply with its subpoena for documents and testimony.
At various points during the hearings, it was apparent that some of the testimony they had not heard before was of interest to the advisers and associates of Trump.
But the developments that could hurt Trump the most happened off stage. The ex-President has not been charged with a crime, but there is a large amount of legal wrangling surrounding him and it is difficult to account for his abrupt exit from power and a presidency that constantly tested the rule of law.
Since launching his presidential campaign in 2015, there has been a sense that he is sliding into an ever-deeper legal hole, and while Trump has frequently broken investigative storms, there is still a sense that he is going to lose the presidency.
The Supreme Court told the House select committee that they didn’t want to be sucked into Trump’s bid to derail the Justice Department probe into classified materials at Mar-a-Lago.
The case could have been delayed without the court’s intervention. Some conservatives dissented, including from justices Trump elevated to the bench who he often thinks owe him a debt of loyalty.
CNN reported that two people who found documents in a Trump storage facility testified before a federal grand jury. Federal prosecutors are also pushing to look at files on a laptop of at least one staff member around Trump at Mar-a-Lago, CNN reported. Jack Smith has been aggressive in probing the case of the former president, who has not been charged with a crime. It shows that the former president could be affected by a constant drumbeat of legal problems as he attempts to raise energy in his campaign given the multiple criminal threats he may face.
The former President has a point in asking why the panel waited so long to call him. But his obstruction of the investigation and attempts to prevent former aides from testifying means he is on thin ice in criticizing its conduct. It’s not uncommon for investigators to begin building a case before reaching a high profile target of the investigation.
Marc Short, a former chief of staff for then-Vice President Mike Pence, was spotted leaving a courthouse in Washington, DC. Short had been compelled to testify to the grand jury for the second time, according to a person familiar with the matter, CNN’s Pamela Brown reported. A former national security aide of the Trump family was seen walking into the area where the grand jury meets. He wouldn’t tell reporters what he was doing.
The criminal investigations into the retention of national defense Information at Mar-a-Lago and the January 6, 2021, insurrection have been overseen by special counsel Jack Smith. The situation related to the Mar-a-Lago documents and the Trump team’s response to the May subpoena has become an important aspect of the probe, which includes prosecutors’ accusations of obstruction of justice.
The court was told by him that he shouldn’t have to reveal his inner workings regarding his 2020 presidential campaign. President Trump didn’t check his rights at the door. The Committee’s subpoena to President Trump is not valid because it violates his First Amendment rights.
New York’s Attorney General asked a state court to block the Trump Organization from moving assets and continuing to perpetrate the fraud she has accused them of.
James is trying to stop Trump and his children from engaging in the same fraudulent conduct prior to the start of her trial.
The investigation was branded a stunt by Trump. The former President has not been charged with any crime in the investigation of the Capitol insurrection. The House select committee cannot bring criminal charges, although it is discussing whether to send criminal referrals to the Justice Department. The DOJ’s investigation into the discovery of classified documents while the FBI searched the residence at Mar-a-Lago was a witch hunt, according to Trump.
Those aren’t even the only probes connected to Trump. There is also the matter of yet another investigation in Georgia over attempts by the former President and his allies to overturn the election in a crucial 2020 swing state.
The Ex-President and the Committee on Selectmen’s Judgmentation: The Case for a Subpoena
One of those days that the seriousness of a crisis can be gauged by the venom he uses to respond is when Trump came out fighting on Thursday.
First Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich mocked the unanimous 9-0 vote in the select committee to subpoena the former President for documents and testimony.
Pres Trump wont be intimidated by their un-american actions or their meritless rhetoric. Trump-endorsed candidates will sweep the Midterms, and America First leadership & solutions will be restored,” Budowich wrote on Twitter.
The former President weighed in with a post on Truth Social that didn’t answer the accusations against him but that was designed to cause a reaction from his supporters.
I had been asked to testify months ago but I didn’t do it. Why did they wait till the very end of the meeting? Because the Committee is a BUST. Trump wrote.
Given the ex-President’s history of obstructing efforts to examine his tumultuous presidency, it would be a surprise if he does not fight the subpoena, although there might be part of him that would relish a primetime spot in a live hearing.
The committee will not be able to enforce the subpoena once the current Congress expires in January due to the back and forth between Trump and the House.
The release of the lawsuit, which had a portion stating that the separation of powers prohibits Congress from forcing a President to testify, was made by Trump’s attorney.
Given the slim chance of Trump complying with a congressional subpoena then, many observers will see the dramatic vote to target the ex-President as yet another theatrical flourish in a set of slickly produced hearings that often resembled a television courtroom drama.
Liz Cheney, the Republican vice chair of the committee, said that there was more to the investigation than just what happened on January 6.
“With every effort to excuse or justify the conduct of the former President, we chip away at the foundation of our Republic,” said the Wyoming lawmaker, who won’t be returning to Congress after losing her primary this summer to a Trump-backed challenger.
The Trump World: When Do Fugitive Searches End and Don’t Explicitly Search for His Bedminster Property?
At the time, Trump’s attorneys had offered to let federal investigators observe the search at his Bedminster property, but that offer was declined. The Trump lawyers didn’t make an offer for the other properties, because of the Justice Department’s response. It would be highly unusual for the Justice Department to observe searches that aren’t conducted by law enforcement.
The approach comes even as Trump continues to indulge in legal theories that the records he took with him during his presidency are his personal property, an argument his team is making in court.
“The general belief in Trump World is that this is much ado about nothing and the sooner we get past it the better,” said a person close to Trump, adding that the former President has told allies he “wants to move on.”
At least some of the battle to secure their return has been playing out behind the scenes in a court proceeding that is under seal, according to people familiar with the situation. One potential resolution could involve the Justice Department asking a judge to issue an order compelling the Trump team to work with DOJ to arrange for another search.
The former President has grown more receptive to the approach being advocated by some of his lawyers, including Chris Kise who joined Trump’s legal team after the FBI search. Kise had faced some challenges from Trump and his advisers.
Trump has favored a more pugilistic approach, even accusing federal investigators at one point of planting evidence during their search at Mar-a-Lago – a claim he has never substantiated in court.
The documents dispute has beenComplicated by the personal views of Trump. He initially claimed that his team had been fully cooperative with investigators and insisted on social media “ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK,” for documents to be returned. Trump has since argued, on social media and in court filings, that the Mar-a-Lago documents are his property. “I want my documents back!” the former President said in early October.
Trump lawyer Christina Bobb had to hire her own lawyer after signing an attestation in June which declared that Trump’s team had conducted a “diligent search” to comply with the Justice Department’s subpoena and returned all documents with classified markings. Bobb told investigators that the attestation was drafted by another Trump lawyer and that she had to sign it. Bobb was rushing to sign the attestation in Mar-a-Lago, but she insisted on saying her knowledge was based on the information that has been provided to her.
Two months later, the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago, recovering thousands of additional government documents, including more than 100 with classified markings.
Corcoran, Epshteyn, and the Select Committee on Investigating the January 6, 2021, Attack: Report on Trump’s Claims
Corcoran has insisted to colleagues that he does not believe he faces any legal risk and has not hired a lawyer, according to sources familiar with his situation.
A third Trump lawyer, Boris Epshteyn, had his cellphone seized by the FBI last month and has testified in front of a Georgia grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Both Democrats and Republicans on the committee said they will look at next steps in the litigation and regarding the former President’s noncompliance.
While the committee has held witnesses in contempt of Congress before, they have little ability to force compliance with subpoenas through the courts.
Trump sued the committee on November 11 as a way to challenge its subpoena according to filings in a federal court in Florida. His lawsuit sought to challenge both the legitimacy of the committee – which multiple courts have upheld – and claim he should be immune from testimony about the time he was president.
“Given the timing and nature of your letter – without any acknowledgment that Mr. Trump will ultimately comply with the subpoena – your approach on his behalf appears to be a delay tactic,” Thompson wrote.
In the summary of its report released earlier this week, the panel revealed it is aware of “multiple efforts by President Trump to contact Select Committee witnesses,” adding that DOJ is aware “of at least one of those circumstances.”
The final report the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack is set to release Wednesday launches a new era for criminal investigators, politicians and members of the public who have been eager to see the nuts and bolts of its work.
The final report and the information revealed by the panel will be the first time that the DOJ will get a full look at what the panel has and could inform them of upcoming criminal probes into January 6.
The summary stated that the panel has a range of evidence suggesting specific efforts to obstruction the investigation. That includes concerns that attorneys paid by Trump’s political committee or allied groups “have specific incentives to defend President Trump rather than zealously represent their own clients.”
CNN has previously reported that Cassidy Hutchinson, a former Trump White House aide, told the select committee that she was contacted by someone attempting to influence her testimony.
“The Select Committee also has concerns regarding certain other witnesses, including those who still rely for their income or employment by organizations linked to President Trump, such as the America First Policy Institute,” the panel wrote in Monday’s summary.
The panel said that certain witnesses and lawyers were unnecessarily combative,answering hundreds of questions with variant of “I don’t recall”, appeared to testify from lawyer- written talking points rather than their own recollections, or otherwise resisted telling the truth.
The public can make its own assessment of these issues when it reviews the committee transcripts and looks at the accounts of different witnesses and the conduct of counsel.
The Select Committee Against a Boundary Investigation of Donald Trump During the January 6 Seiberg & White House R-Breaking
The summary said the panel was unsuccessful in getting former White House deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato to corroborate a bombshell anecdote he had relating to President Trump when he was not taken to the security detail.
According to the committee, Trump raised about a quarter of a billion dollars after the election and through the January 6 rallies.
“For example, the Trump Campaign, along with the Republican National Committee, sent millions of emails to their supporters, with messaging claiming that the election was ‘rigged,’ that their donations could stop Democrats from ‘trying to steal the election,’ and that Vice President Biden would be an ‘illegitimate president’ if he took office,’” the summary states.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, has said the panel has evidence that members of the Trump family and inner circle – including Kimberly Guilfoyle – personally benefited from money that was raised based on the former president’s false election claims, but the panel has never gone as far to say a financial crime has been committed.
Special counsel Jack Smith sent a letter to the select committee on December 5 requesting all of the information from the panel’s investigation, a source told CNN.
The former president’s legal team will be interested in viewing the committee transcripts that get released in the coming days to examine whether the panel omitted presenting information publicly because it contradicted itself, a source familiar with Trump’s January 6 legal team told CNN.
DOJ initially asked the panel for all of its transcripts back in May, but committee members, particularly Thompson, felt strongly the depositions were the property of the committee.
Aides and advisers to the former president are also hoping the release of the panel’s transcripts will provide new information about the DOJ criminal investigation into January 6.
Various Republican lawmakers have sought to discredit the select committee’s work since its inception and have argued that the panel has not addressed the security failures that led to the US Capitol breach. Five House Republicans were subpoenaed by the committee, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and did not cooperate with the investigation. The committee referred four returning members of Congress to the House Ethics Committee.
McCarthy is calling for the select committee to preserve its records and transcripts as he plans to hold hearings next year on security failures that led to the Capitol breach.
Investigation of the January 6 Committee Criminal Referrals in the Correspondence to the Associated Investigative Report on Donald Trump and the January 6, 2021 Attack on the US Capitol
The January 6 committee’s criminal referrals to the Justice Department, urging the prosecution of Donald Trump, are “worthless,” one of the former president’s lawyers told CNN on Saturday.
Parlatore was responding to the unprecedented criminal referrals that the bipartisan select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol sent to the Justice Department earlier this week. The committee members believed Trump was guilty of at least four federal crimes.
“It doesn’t have a effect on our defense, but it’s political noise, but it hasn’t changed anything yet.”
Parlatore told CNN on Saturday that he was sure there weren’t any more records with classification markings still at Mar-a-Lago, saying, “Everything that was found has been turned over.”
A source close to the case told CNN that a federal judge had ordered Donald Trump’s attorneys to turn over the names of the people who searched four of his properties.
Trump’s office was tried by the DOJ to hold it in contempt for not complying with a subpoena after the search of Mar-a-Lago.
The grand jury activity in Mar-a-Lago documents case is not done yet and the Justice Department has newer inquires into national security records of a president and vice president.
Two people who found two classified documents in a Florida storage facility for Donald Trump have testified before a federal grand jury in Washington that’s looking at the former president’s handling of national security records at his Mar-a-Lago residence, according to sources familiar with the investigation.
The two people who were hired to look at Trump properties were each interviewed for more than three hours last week.
The FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, the president’s private club located in Florida, months before they were hired to conduct a search at Trump’s other properties. They didn’t decline to answer any questions and the extent of their information remains unclear, according to sources.
Another source said investigators were trying to figure out if there was an electronic paper trail around the classified documents, by trying to get access to computers.
Biden and Pence were far more cooperative with the DOJ and FBI after some classified documents were found at their properties than Trump has been. It took a search warrant for FBI agents to get into Mar-a-Lago, and the ex-president claimed that presidential documents that belonged to the federal government when he left office belonged to him. But voters might find it hard to understand nuanced legal differences between the two cases – a factor the House Republican counter-attack based on Biden’s documents made more likely.
The Case of Jack Smith in the Mar-a-Lago Insights into an Almost-Flavored, Invisible, and Uninvited Ex-President
Jack Smith and prosecutors who work for him frequently use a federal grand jury to question witnesses in the Mar-a-Lago investigation.
The twice-impeached former president, who tried to steal an election and is accused of fomenting an insurrection, launched his first two-state campaign swing on Saturday as he seeks a stunning political comeback.
The justice system in our country will no longer be weaponized. There’s never been a justice system like this. It’s all investigation, investigation,” the ex-president said on the trail over the weekend.
Some of Trump’s base voters feel alienated from the federal government and bought into his claims of a “deep state” conspiracy against him. It is also a technique in which a strongman leader argues that he is taking the heat so his followers do not have to, that is a practice that has been used by demagogues throughout history.
The development could be a sign that Smith was leaning towards indictments, according to Ryan Goodman, a former special counsel at the Department of Defense.
It sounds like he is trying to keep their testimony secure so they won’t testify that they saw evidence against Trump and that the prosecutors can use it against them.
The simple, politically charged act of investigating an ex-president was always bound to create a political furor. If evidence suggests Trump should be charged, Attorney General Merrick Garland will have to make a decision, and it will be a consequential one.
On a more granular level, the report about the grand jury underscores that for all the political noise, the investigation into Trump’s haul of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago is taking place inside its own legal bubble.
Even if the cases are different, the discoveries were able to allow Trump to argue that he had been unfairly targeted. Any Trump attempt to argue that he, like Biden and Pence, inadvertently took documents to his home will be undermined by the fact that he claimed the material belonged to him, and not the government, and what appears to be repeated refusals to give it back.
The Kentucky Republican said that if someone can show him evidence that there was influence peddling with the classified documents in the president’s possession, then they would expand it. He went on to accuse Biden and his family of being “very cozy” with people from the Chinese Communist party but offered no evidence of such links or that they had anything to do with classified documents. His remarks left the impression that his committee is seeking to find evidence to condemn Biden but is treating Trump differently – exactly the kind of double standard the GOP has claimed the DOJ is employing toward Trump.
The CNN interviewer asked the House Oversight Chairman why he was not interested in the more than 325 documents at Trump’s house, as well as the 20 classified documents uncovered in Biden’s premises.
There are two special counsel investigations into Trump and Biden. In a legal sense, there is no overlap between them. But they will both be subject to the same political inferno if findings are made public.
Were Trump, for instance, to be prosecuted – over what so far appears to be a larger haul of documents and conduct that may add up to obstruction – and Biden is not, the ex-president would incite a firestorm of protest among his supporters. Even though the sitting president enjoys protections from prosecution because of historic Justice Department guidance, it’s hard to see how the political ground for prosecuting just one of them could hold firm – especially if Biden and Trump are rival presidential candidates in 2024.
A Presidential Investigation into a Sensitive Claims Against a Florida State Air Force Lieutenant-Colonel for Reretaining National Defense Information
As the political fallout from the classified documents furor deepened on Monday, the country got a reminder of the treatment that can await lower-ranking members of the federal workforce when secret material is taken home.
According to court documents, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who stored files with classified information at his Florida home will plead guilty in February to a charge of retaining national defense information.
“We’ve tried to do searches of all the relevant places, and anytime we’ve found anything, we’ve immediately turned it over,” Parlatore told CNN in an exclusive interview, painting his client as cooperative in the ongoing criminal probe.
The statement that was drafted in June stated that the team searched the residence and found no more classified documents.
According to Parlatore, Trump had effectively been using the empty folder as a lamp shade to block a light on his landline telephone that was keeping him up at night.
A blue light on his phone is enough to keep him up at night. So he took the manilla folder and put it over so it would keep the light down so he could sleep at night,” Parlatore said. The folder is only this one. It says ‘Classified Evening Summary’ on it. It’s not a classification marking. It is not controlled in any way. There is nothing illegal about it.”
Investigating President Donald Trump and Special Counsel Jack Smith in the epoch of investigation into classified material, with special counsel Tim Parlatore adding additional testimony
“When you have DOJ go into these things, they are automatically going in with all the criminal processes and trying to threaten people to go to jail over something that is a procedural failure and an institutional procedural failure that has nothing to do with Mike Pence, Donald Trump or, quite frankly, Joe Biden,” he said.
The Office of the Director of National intelligence should be given the authority to conduct an administrative review of the White House procedure for handling such documents, and the DOJ should bebenched on matters related to classified material, according to Parlatore.
Parlatore confirmed Sunday that Trump intends to assert executive privilege in an effort to limit the testimony of Pence and former national security adviser Robert O’Brien after both were subpoenaed in special counsel Jack Smith’s other investigation related to January 6.
Federal prosecutors investigating former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents are asking a court to force his attorney Evan Corcoran to provide additional testimony, two sources familiar with the Justice Department’s motion told CNN.
One source said that prosecutors wrote to the judge about the former president using his attorney in furtherance of a crime or fraud.
A person familiar with the situation told CNN that the first testimony to the grand jury was about what happened in the lead-up to the August search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.
A Trump spokesperson said the move was “nothing more than a targeted, politically motivated witch hunt against President Trump, concocted to try and prevent the American people from returning him to the White House.”