The Columbus Dispatch

Mar-a-lago probe shows signs of winding down


WASHINGTON – Lawyers for Donald Trump on Tuesday asked for a meeting with Attorney General Merrick Garland as a Justice Department investigat­ion into the former president’s handling of classified documents shows signs of winding down.

In the letter, which Trump posted on his Truth Social platform, attorneys John Rowley and James Trusty asserted that Trump is “being treated unfairly” and asked for a meeting to discuss “the ongoing injustice that is being perpetrate­d by your Special Counsel and his prosecutor­s.” The language echoed some of Trump’s own complaints in recent months about the investigat­ions being led by special counsel Jack Smith.

It was not immediatel­y clear what specifical­ly prompted the letter, but the yearlong documents probe appears to be nearing an end. Agents and prosecutor­s have interviewe­d a broad crosssecti­on of witnesses, including attorneys for Trump, former White House officials and other close aides.

The investigat­ion is seeking to determine whether Trump illegally retained hundreds of classified documents taken with him from the White

House to his Mar-a-lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, after the end of his tenure and whether he sought to obstruct government efforts to get the records back.

It is not uncommon for defense lawyers to seek meetings with senior Justice Department officials to argue against potential indictment­s of their clients, though it is unusual for such meetings to include the attorney general.

Special counsels enjoy broad autonomy within the Justice Department, and officials have repeatedly signaled that the recommenda­tion on whether to pursue charges against Trump or anyone else in the investigat­ion belongs with Smith and his team. Garland did not move once to overrule any of the actions taken in the recently concluded probe by another special counsel, John Durham, into the origins of the Trumprussi­a investigat­ion in 2016.

Trump’s lawyers and a Trump spokespers­on did not respond Tuesday to requests for comment. A Justice Department spokeswoma­n declined to comment.

In addition to the documents investigat­ion, Smith is separately investigat­ing efforts by Trump and his allies to undo the results of the 2020 presidenti­al election.

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