Donald Trump documents grand jury set to meet again: The grand jury looking into the former president’s handling of classified documents will reconvene this week, moving the former president possibly closer to an indictment
Donald Trump: His New Legal Headache
The grand jury looking into former President Trump’s handling of classified documents is set to reconvene in Washington later this week, for the first time in several weeks, NBC News and other media outlets reported in the last several days.
While the grand jury has been empaneled for months, activity has slowed in recent weeks, NBC said.
Per NBC, “prosecutors face two central legal questions: 1) Did Trump wrongfully retain classified documents after he left the White House? 2) Did he later obstruct the government’s efforts to retrieve them?”
Smith is said to be nearing a charging decision in the case.
Recent developments in the case have looked damning for Trump. CNN reported last week that federal prosecutors had obtained a recording of the former president admitting in July of 2021, that he had “held onto a classified Pentagon document about a potential attack on Iran,” which would show that Trump knew that he had held on the classified documents and that he knew he wasn’t supposed to.
This led Ty Cobb, a lawyer who had represented Trump during the Mueller investigation, to tell CNN that the revelation “further enhances the obstruction case because it eviscerates the two defenses that Trump has put forward – the first being that merely by taking documents, he declassifies them or that he has the authority if he is playing with the ducks in the hot tub to declassify them in his own mind.”
Then, CNN reported over the weekend that Trump’s attorneys haven’t been able to find the classified document in question, although they did hand over materials connected to the document.
“The sources say prosecutors made clear to Trump’s attorneys after issuing the subpoena that they specifically wanted the Iran document he talked about on tape as well as any material referencing classified information – like meeting notes, audio recordings or copies of the document – that may still be Trump’s possession,” the report said.
National security journalist Marcy Wheeler reported, also over the weekend, that attorney Tim Parlatore quit the Trump legal team after they were unable to find the Iran document.
What crimes could Donald Trump be charged with, in connection with the documents case?
According to NBC News, he could be charged either with crimes involving the documents themselves, or obstruction in connection with their handling. Trump has claimed that he unilaterally declassified all of the documents in question, but according to NBC News, “most national security lawyers say Trump’s argument is legally unpersuasive.”
In another development over the weekend, the Department of Justice closed its investigation into former Vice President Mike Pence’s handling of documents, without charges for Pence, who is expected to announce a presidential bid this week.
Trump reacted to that news on Truth Social on Friday.
“Just announced that they are not going to bring charges against Mike Pence on the document hoax,” the former president wrote. “That’s great, but when am I going to be fully exonerated, I’m at least as innocent as he is. And what about Joe Biden, who is hiding at least 1850 boxes, and some located in Chinatown, DC? When will the witch hunt against ‘TRUMP’ stop?”
The reference to “Chinatown” comes from a report, back in January, when it was revealed that Biden had some classified documents in his possession after he left office as vice president. The Daily Mail had reported that the documents in question before they were taken to the offices of the Penn Biden Center, had been housed for a few months at an office in Washington’s Chinatown neighborhood.
Chinatown is merely an area of Washington, close to the federal buildings, where many offices are located. But Trump implied in Truth Social posts that China might have access to the documents since they were in Chinatown.
Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.