Former President Donald Trump has been told he is the target of the special counsel’s criminal investigation into possible mishandling of classified documents, sources familiar with the matter told CNN, ABC News and Politico. File photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License picture
June 7 (UPI) — Former President Donald Trump has been notified that he is the target of a criminal investigation by a special counsel into possible mishandling of classified documents, according to multiple reports citing unnamed sources.
Federal prosecutors briefed Trump in a letter — a clear indication that prosecutors may be close to indicting the former president — according to unnamed sources who were briefed on the communication, CNN, ABC News reported Wednesday. and Polico. Earlier in the day, Trump denied being told he was a target in the investigation.
Special Counsel Jack Smith led an investigation on behalf of the Justice Department into how classified documents were handled following Trump’s tenure in the White House, after boxes containing sensitive documents were found in August last at the home of the former president of Mar-a-Lago.
Although Smith’s office has not confirmed the letter, the Justice Department manual allows prosecutors to send a “target letter” to anyone who may be charged in an investigation by a large court. jury, allowing them to testify or present evidence before being charged.
According to the Department of Justice, a letter is usually sent when there is “substantial evidence linking him to the commission of a crime and who, in the opinion of the prosecutor, is a putative defendant”.
Trump has not commented on any letter and denied in an interview with The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman on Wednesday that he was ever told he would be charged. “Nobody told me I was charged,” Trump said.
In recent weeks, a grand jury in Florida has heard testimony from witnesses related to the investigation, including Trump aides and attorneys, as well as Mar-a-Lago employees.
Earlier Wednesday, a former Trump aide testified before a federal grand jury in Miami about classified documents found at Trump’s Florida home, later calling the investigation “bogus and deeply disturbing.”
Taylor Budowich, who is a top adviser to the political action committee MAGA Inc., which supports Trump’s re-election bid, was among a number of witnesses to testify.
“Today, in what can only be described as a bogus and deeply disturbing effort to use the power of government to ‘get’ Trump, I fulfilled a legal obligation to testify before a federal grand jury and I answered every question honestly,” Budowich said in a statement.
“America has become a sick and broken nation – a decline led by Joe Biden and power-hungry Democrats. I will not be intimidated by this militarization of government,” Budowich added. “To me, the need to unite our nation and make America great again has never been clearer than it is today.”
On Monday, Trump attorneys John Rowley, James Trusty and Lindsey Halligan met with Justice Department officials, including Smith, CBS reported, citing two people familiar with the investigation and a photo of the legal team.
Trump’s legal team requested to meet with Attorney General Merrick Garland last month about the classified documents investigation, but NBC News reported that Garland was not present at Monday’s meeting.
Last week, prosecutors received an audio recording of Trump speaking about a classified military document he kept after leaving the White House, according to reports from CNN, CBS News and The New York Times.
Trump has called the investigation into the classified documents – among other things – politically motivated, insisting he did nothing wrong. On his Truth Social social media platform, Trump blasted the timing.
“They are launching all the many bogus investigations against me right in the middle of my campaign, something unheard of and not supposed to happen. DOJ, FBI, New York AG, New York DA, Atlanta DA Facists all!” Trump wrote mostly in capitals on Wednesday.
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