Former president Donald Trump on Monday suggested he will soon face criminal charges in the long-running federal probe into his alleged unlawful retention of national defence information at his Palm Beach, Florida property.
Writing on his Truth Social website, Mr Trump asked how the Department of Justice could “possibly charge” him for having hoarded classified documents at his home and office when similarly classified documents have been found at locations linked to other prominent figures, including President Joe Biden.
He also suggested he should not face charges because his 2016 election opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was not indicted for having received emails containing information later deemed to have been classified on a private email service she used during her time in government service.
“HOW CAN DOJ POSSIBLY CHARGE ME, WHO DID NOTHING WRONG, WHEN NO OTHER PRESIDENT’S WERE CHARGED, WHEN JOE BIDEN WON’T BE CHARGED FOR ANYTHING, INCLUDING THE FACT THAT HE HAS 1,850 BOXES, MUCH OF IT CLASSIFIED, AND SOME DATING BACK TO HIS SENATE DAY WHEN EVEN DEMOCRAT SENATORS ARE SHOCKED,” he said, writing in all capital letters for emphasis.
“ALSO, PRESIDENT CLINTON HAD DOCUMENTS, AND WON IN COURT. CROOKED HILLARY DELETED 33,000 EMAILS, MANY CLASSIFIED, AND WASN’T EVEN CLOSE TO BEING CHARGED!”
He added that “only Trump” is facing potential charges for unlawful retention of classified documents and called the probe “the greatest witch hunt of all time”.
The ex-president’s irate social media post came as his attorneys wrapped a meeting with Department of Justice officials in Washington.
Last month, Mr Trump’s legal team sent Attorney General Merrick Garland a letter demanding an opportunity to meet with him regarding what they described as “unfair treatment” of the former president at the hands of Jack Smith, the special prosecutor Mr Garland named to oversee the documents probe late last year.
According to the New York Times, the two-hour session did not include Mr Garland or his deputy, Lisa Monaco. It was also unclear what Mr Trump’s attorneys — James Trusty, John Rowley, and Lindsey Halligan — discussed with prosecutors.
But experts say such meetings between defence attorneys and prosecutors represent a common final step before prosecutors seek indictments against targets of federal investigations.
A Washington DC grand jury that has been hearing evidence in the documents case is reportedly set to meet this week.
Mr Trump’s legal team met with Mr Smith and other Department of Justice officials on Monday – two weeks after they requested a meeting to discuss the special counsel’s investigations into Mr Trump, according to The Times. Advisers of Mr Trump reportedly believe there’s not much that can be done at this point to avoid the former president being charged.
Attorney Tim Parlatore resigned from Mr Trump’s legal team last month. He told the paper that the ex-president’s lawyers have been concerned for quite some time about the way that the prosecutors working for Mr Smith have carried out the investigation into the classified documents.
“I’ve long had concerns about the manner in which DoJ personnel conducted this investigation,” Mr Parlatore told The Times. “Regardless of what the evidence shows, if your prosecution team has engaged in misconduct, that’s a relevant factor to consider in making any charging decisions, particularly in a case with significant political magnitude.”
Gustaf Kilander contributed to this report
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