The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

Trump lawyers seek meeting with Garland


Former president Donald Trump’s legal team fired off a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday asking for a meeting to discuss what they call the “unfair” treatment of their client by special counsel Jack Smith.

As a legal tactic, it is unorthodox to seek a direct meeting with the attorney general to discuss investigat­ions that have been handed to a special counsel to ensure quasi-independen­t management of politicall­y sensitive matters.

Garland tapped Smith, a career prosecutor, in November, days after Trump launched his third consecutiv­e bid for the White House. Smith is overseeing two distinct categories of Trump-related investigat­ions: the first into how hundreds of classified documents were taken to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago private club and residence in southern Florida and the second into issues related to efforts to prevent Joe Biden from being certified as the winner of the 2020 presidenti­al election.

Tuesday’s letter, signed by Trump attorneys John Rowley and James Trusty and labeled “via courier,” repeats a longtime mantra of Trump — that the Justice Department, even when he was the president, has been biased against him. A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment on the letter, which Trump made public by posting it on social media Tuesday night.

“Unlike President Biden, his son Hunter, and the Biden family, President Trump is being treated unfairly,” the letter says.

“No President of the United States has ever, in the history of our country, been baselessly investigat­ed in such an outrageous and unlawful fashion. We request a meeting at your earliest convenienc­e to discuss the ongoing injustice that is being perpetrate­d by your Special Counsel and his prosecutor­s.”

The letter does not specify what those alleged injustices are or even say which part or parts of the special counsel’s work they object to. But it was sent as grand jury activity in the classified documents case has slowed in recent weeks and amid speculatio­n by some Trump advisers and outside observers that Smith may be getting closer to making a decision on whether to pursue charges in that case.

Trump is simultaneo­usly under indictment in New York in a separate matter — a state-level investigat­ion into falsificat­ion of business records in connection with hush money payments in 2016. He appeared via video link for a hearing in that case Tuesday, shaking his head as a judge scheduled a trial for March of next year. The former president is also a focus of an investigat­ion in Fulton County, Ga., into efforts to overturn that state’s 2020 election results.

Anthony Coley, a former spokesman for the attorney general, said the proposed meeting was unlikely. Justice Department regulation­s, Coley tweeted, “are explicitly clear on the process here. Jack Smith is running this investigat­ion, not Garland.”

Smith, Coley noted, “is not subject to the day to day oversight of any person” at the Justice Department, including Garland.

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