Trump's Legal Team Goes Over Special Counsel's Head with Bold Move to Address 'Outrageous and Unlawful' Occurrences
Contrasting his treatment with that of President Joe Biden’s son, former President Donald Trump said he wants a showdown with the Department of Justice over the federal investigation into Trump’s alleged possession of classified documents.
The documents, seized during a raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida last year, have been part of a long-running back-and-forth between the former president and the National Archives over whether all material that should be in the archives were sent there.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed special counsel Jack Smith to oversee the investigation into the documents to determine if there was a criminal case to be made.
On Tuesday, Trump — currently the front-runner in the 2024 GOP presidential race — used his Truth Social account to post a letter from his lawyers to Garland requesting a meeting.
“Unlike President Biden, his son Hunter, and the Biden family, President Trump is being treated unfairly,” the letter said.
“No President of the United States has ever, in the history of our country, been baselessly investigated in such an outrageous and unlawful fashion,” it said. “We request a meeting at your earliest convenience to discuss the ongoing injustice that is being perpetrated by your Special Counsel and his prosecutors.”
Anthony Coley, a former spokesman for the attorney general, downplayed any expectation of a meeting.
In a tweet late Tuesday, he said Justice Department rules “are explicitly clear on the process here. Jack Smith is running this investigation, not Garland.”
Smith, Coley said, “is not subject to the day-to-day oversight of any person” at the Justice Department, including Garland.
Some folks are comparing the meeting Hunter Biden attys had with DOJ with this meeting request. Key difference — Jack Smith is Special Counsel. Smith is not subject to the day to day oversight of *any* person at DOJ, including Garland, per DOJ regs
— Anthony Coley (@AnthonyColey) May 24, 2023
ABC News, citing sources it did not name, reported the letter’s purpose was to push back against any charges of mishandling classified documents that might be filed.
The Washington Post speculated that based on grand jury activity linked to the investigation, Smith could be close to making a decision about whether to pursue charges against Trump.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that members of Smith’s team have interviewed multiple levels of employees at Mar-a-Lago on what unnamed sources said were “specific elements Smith’s team would need to show to prove a crime, including those that speak to Trump’s intentions, and questions aimed at undermining potential defenses Trump could raise.”
Although it appeared Smith’s work was nearly done, it was unknown if he would make the decision on filing charges or would make a recommendation to Garland, the report said.
The Journal said a letter from Trump to lawmakers last month indicated that briefing papers connected to phone calls between Trump and foreign leaders were mixed in the boxes with classified documents, giving the impression that White House staff grabbed whatever materials were to hand as they packed up to leave the White House.
Attorney Tim Parlatore, who helped author the letter, said the purpose was to stave off criminal charges.
Parlatore, who no longer represents Trump, said he does not foresee charges being filed in the investigation.
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