Trump faces criminal probe over classified files at Mar-a-Lago estate

Reports indicate that former US President Donald Trump has been informed of a criminal investigation into his handling of classified documents after leaving the White House. This development suggests the possibility of charges being filed against him, which would mark the second indictment for Trump, who is currently campaigning for presidency once again. The investigation has been ongoing since last year, focusing on the transfer of files to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

In August, the beachside property was searched, and authorities seized 11,000 documents, with around 100 marked as classified, and some labelled top secret. Trump, however, denied being informed of any potential indictment relating to the documents in a recent interview with the New York Times. Multiple news outlets, including CNN, ABC News, and Politico, reported that Trump had received a letter notifying him of the criminal investigation.

The New York Times cited two sources who claimed that the notification came from the office of Jack Smith, a former war crimes attorney turned special prosecutor currently examining the evidence. Meanwhile, CBS News reported that a source close to Trump confirmed he was the target of a criminal investigation but did not confirm the receipt of a formal letter.

This comes after prosecutors obtained an audio recording of Trump acknowledging the possession of a classified document after leaving the White House. The exact details of the documents remain unclear, but classified material typically contains information that could potentially harm national security if made public. US law prohibits federal officials, including the president, from removing or retaining classified documents in an unauthorised location.

Grand juries in both Miami and Washington are believed to have convened to determine whether there is sufficient evidence for prosecution. On Wednesday, the Miami jury heard evidence from Taylor Budowich, a former aide and spokesperson for Trump. This raises the possibility of criminal charges being filed in Florida for procedural reasons, as reported by CBS.

Earlier this week, members of Trump’s legal team met with investigators at the Department of Justice in Washington. Trump, who is leading in opinion polls as the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential candidate, has consistently denied any wrongdoing and has labelled the justice department’s investigation as “politically motivated” and a “witch-hunt”.

If indicted for his handling of classified documents, it would be the second charge against Trump, who has already pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records relating to a hush-money payment to an adult film actress. He is set to face trial in New York next year for that case.

World News

Chris Hollingsworth

Chris studied journalism in the US and worked there for a few years before moving to Thailand in 2021, just as he thought Covid was coming to an end - sadly more lockdowns ensued as he came out of his 14 days of isolation! He now combines his passion for writing and journalism to cover US and global news for The Thaiger.

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