Justice Department Notifies Trump of Target Status in Classified Documents Probe, According to Sources. The Justice Department has reportedly informed former President Donald Trump’s legal team that he is now considered a target in a federal investigation focused on the potential mishandling of classified documents. Sources familiar with the matter revealed that this development may indicate a significant step toward the possibility of indicting the former president.
Although the sources have been made aware of the contents of the target letter, they have not personally seen it. This decision by prosecutors to inform Trump directly signifies that the investigation led by special counsel Jack Smith is specifically examining Trump’s actions, rather than solely focusing on individuals associated with him.
On Monday, Trump’s legal team met with officials from the Department of Justice, including special counsel Jack Smith, to discuss the investigation. During the meeting, the team presented allegations of misconduct by the prosecutors. However, Smith did not provide any comments beyond greeting those present in the room.
According to Justice Department regulations, prosecutors have the discretion to notify subjects of an investigation if they become targets. While such notifications are not mandatory, they often indicate a strong possibility of an indictment, although it is still plausible that the recipient may not ultimately face charges.
In a recent interview with The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, Trump neither confirmed nor denied whether he had been informed that he was a target in the special counsel’s investigation. However, he refuted claims that he had been informed of an impending indictment.
Various individuals who had extensive conversations with Trump this week expressed confusion regarding the news. They stated that Trump did not mention being a target or display signs of agitation. For several weeks, Smith’s investigation into the potential mishandling of classified materials and possible obstruction of justice has been reaching its final stages.
The special counsel’s inquiry has primarily focused on Trump’s handling of classified documents he had taken to his Mar-a-Lago resort after leaving the White House. This includes actions taken after Trump received a subpoena in May 2022, demanding the return of all classified materials in his possession. Last August, FBI agents obtained a search warrant and retrieved over 100 classified documents from Mar-a-Lago.
Over the past few months, prosecutors have interviewed numerous witnesses, including senior Trump aides and employees at his Florida resort. Most witnesses have appeared before a grand jury in Washington, D.C., but recently, a federal grand jury in Florida has also heard testimony from multiple witnesses.
Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff and considered a crucial witness, has reportedly testified before a federal grand jury as part of Smith’s ongoing investigations into Trump’s handling of classified documents and efforts to overturn the 2020 election, as stated by another source familiar with the matter.
When asked about Trump being informed of his target status, former Vice President Mike Pence, who recently announced his 2024 presidential bid challenging his former boss, expressed his reluctance to see Trump indicted. Pence stated that such actions by the Department of Justice would only further divide the country. While he acknowledged that no one is above the law, he argued that indicting Trump would send a negative message to the rest of the world.
The Justice Department has concluded its investigation into the possible mishandling of classified documents found at Pence’s home and has declared that no charges will be filed.
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