Following a recent slowdown in court action, the grand jury involved in the federal criminal probe into the handling of sensitive information by former President Trump is allegedly scheduled to reconvene this week in Washington, D.C.
There is currently little information on whether special counsel Jack Smith will pursue an indictment, according to NBC News. According to recent reports, the National Archives notified Smith that it has 16 records that allegedly demonstrate that Trump and his top advisers were aware of the procedure that would need to be followed in order to declassify information while Trump was president. Additionally, audio recordings that have allegedly been obtained by prosecutors show Trump talking about a classified document that he allegedly retained after leaving office are also claimed to be included in the records.
The former president has insisted that he committed no crimes and that the probe is a fabrication and witch hunt intended to prevent him from retaking the presidency.
The focus of the inquiry into Trump is on whether he kept secret information after he left office and if he sought to impede or tamper with witnesses or evidence. Trump was originally informed by the National Archives in May 2021 that the Presidential Materials Act demanded the return of around twenty cartons of materials. Trump was informed in late 2021 that if he persisted in refusing to turn over the records, the situation may be escalated to prosecutors or Congress.
About 15 of the boxes were turned over in January 2022, at which point authorities learned there were over 700 pages of secret information within the boxes. A criminal inquiry was then opened when federal law enforcement received word of the finding and eventually came to the conclusion that there were further documents that hadn’t been handed over.
A new subpoena for secret records was issued by a federal grand jury in May 2022. A few weeks afterward, the DOJ went to Mar-a-Lago and the legal team representing Trump signed a statement in writing saying that all of the classified documents had already been surrendered. Investigators questioned members of Trump’s staff throughout the course of the summer and obtained security video.
Eleven further sets of secret documents were found on the property when the FBI carried out a search order on it on August 8.