In a stunning development, it has been reported by NBC News that former President Donald Trump has received notification that he is a target of the federal criminal investigation surrounding his retention of numerous classified government records subsequent to his departure from the White House. The disclosure of such information typically precedes the decision of prosecutors on whether to bring criminal charges against a designated target.
During a meeting held on Monday at the Department of Justice, Trump’s legal team was allegedly informed by special counsel Jack Smith and other DOJ officials that the investigation into the classified documents identifies Trump as a target. The precise timing of their previous awareness of this status remains unclear.
Targets, within the context of a criminal investigation, are individuals whom prosecutors believe to have committed a crime. Oftentimes, these targets ultimately face indictment.
DOJ regulations stipulate that prosecutors should consider notifying the target “in appropriate cases, a reasonable time before seeking an indictment” to grant them an opportunity to testify before the grand jury.
As of now, a spokesperson from the DOJ declined to provide any comment on the matter.
This revelation regarding Trump’s status emerges concurrently with Taylor Budowich, one of his top aides, testifying before a grand jury in the U.S. District Court in Miami. The grand jury has been diligently gathering evidence pertinent to the case.
The investigation being conducted by Smith encompasses two main aspects: Trump’s retention of classified records at his Mar-a-Lago club residence in Palm Beach, Florida, and the suspected efforts to conceal those documents, preventing government officials from reclaiming them. According to legal requirements, presidents are obligated to surrender government records upon leaving office.
In a significant development that unfolded last August, the FBI executed a raid at Mar-a-Lago, which led to the discovery of a substantial number of classified documents and other government records.