Another suspicion against the former president: Federal prosecutors are investigating whether the former US president Donald Trump Improperly handled classified material, the New York Times reported today (Thursday).
According to the report, federal prosecutors have begun an investigation into whether classified White House documents that reached the former president’s home in Florida were handled incorrectly, according to two people briefed on the matter. The intensifying investigation reveals that the Department of Justice is examining the role of Trump and other senior government officials in dealing with sensitive issues in the final stages of his rule.
In recent days, the Ministry of Justice has taken a series of steps showing that its investigation has progressed beyond the preliminary stages. Prosecutors issued a summons to the Director of Archives and National Records to obtain the boxes of classified documents, according to the two people familiar with the matter, who spoke anonymously because of the ongoing investigation. Authorities have also submitted requests for interviews to people who have worked in the White House in the last days of Trump’s presidency, according to one source.
The investigation focuses on the National Archives’ January discovery that at the end of Trump’s tenure he took home from the Mar-a-Lago resort boxes from the White House that contained government documents, souvenirs, gifts and letters. After the crates were returned to the National Archives, its archivists found documents containing “items marked as classified national security information,” the agency told Congress in February.
It is estimated that the documents in question were kept at the White House residence before being packaged and sent to Mar-a-Lago. The investigation focuses on how the documents made their way to the residence, who organized them, did anyone know that classified materials were being incorrectly removed from the White House and how they were eventually stored in Mar-a-Lago, according to a knowledgeable person who also spoke anonymously.
In April, it was reported that federal authorities were in the early stages of investigating the handling of classified documents. The summons sent in recent days to the National Archives for the classified documents is one of a series of requests the Justice Department has submitted to the agency for records from the Trump administration in recent months, according to the two men.
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment. The Ministry of Public Affairs in the National Archives did not return an e-mail requesting a response. Trump’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment.
Accusations are rarely brought in investigations into the handling of classified documents. But the Department of Justice usually conducts them to determine if highly sensitive information has been exposed so that the intelligence community can take measures to protect sources and methods.
A 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton on a similar issue related to her personal email account ended without her being charged. Possible.
The classified documents in question are considered presidential records under federal law. Because of this distinction, Trump’s attorneys were notified of the Justice Department’s request, giving them the opportunity to block their release by going to court to cancel the summons. It is unclear if the lawyers responded.
Last year, Trump’s lawyer unsuccessfully approached the court to prevent the National Archives from submitting a variety of presidential records to the special committee of Congress investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attacks on the Capitol.
The question of how Trump handled sensitive materials and documents he received as president arose throughout his tenure in the White House, and beyond. He is known to have torn pieces of official paper handed to him, forcing officials to paste them back because it is illegal to destroy presidential records. In addition, a forthcoming book by a New York Times reporter reveals that the residence staff would have found lumps of torn paper clogging a toilet, and believed he had thrown them inside. They did not know the topics or content of the documents.
The investigation of the classified documents adds to a series of legal issues that Trump is still facing 15 months after leaving office. A local Atlanta prosecutor is investigating whether he and his allies have illegally interfered with the Georgia 2020 election results, and the New York State Attorney General is investigating Trump’s company finances.
Despite Trump’s role in aiding the incitement of the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 and his other efforts to disrupt the counting and approval of the election, to date there has been no indication that the Justice Department has begun investigating any criminal guilt in these matters.
But the moves of the plaintiffs in the document show that the Ministry of Justice under the Attorney General is at least willing to examine an issue that may ultimately directly affect the conduct of the President. The decision to proceed with the investigation of the classified documents could draw the department deeper into the political tensions in the country. Such investigations usually last at least a year, which puts it on a path of potential to end it at the same time that Trump is running for president again.
In order for prosecutors to prove a criminal offense by improperly handling classified materials, it is likely that the authorities will need evidence showing that the person in question knowingly and intentionally violated the law. In this case it means proof that a person has been told that taking the information out of secure channels has violated the law.