The Justice Department’s investigation against former President Donald Trump after he left office in January 2020 is shifting into high gear as prosecutors look into the twice-impeached former president’s inner circle.
The department’s probe into whether Mr Trump violated US laws against illegally declassifying classified documents after the end of his term has reportedly been expanded to probe the possibility that his aides obtained those documents from prosecutors. Assisted in cover-up efforts.
Earlier this week, a pair of Trump Organization executives testified before a Washington DC grand jury that is hearing testimony in the documents investigation.
Special Counsel Jack Smith, the DOJ prosecutor overseeing Mr Trump’s investigation, issued grand jury summonses to Matthew Calamari Sr. and his son, Matthew Calamari Jr. Calamaris is a longtime executive in both Mr Trump’s real estate and hospitality company. , where the elder Mr. Kalamari serves as executive vice president and chief operating officer and his son serves as director of security.
Prosecutors believed to be working for Mr Smith have questioned both men about how the Trump Organization handled the surveillance footage, which was presented to the Justice Department as part of an ongoing investigation into whether Mr Trump National Defense information is illegally maintained at Mar-a-Lago, Palm. Beach, Florida mansion turned social club where the twice-impeached president maintains his primary residence.
CCTV camera footage from Mr Trump’s club played a key role in prosecutors’ decision last year to seek a search warrant for the property. According to court documents, investigators used the footage and other evidence to determine that it was likely that Mr. Trump had not returned all classified documents in his possession despite subpoenas forcing him to do so.
Mr Smith’s team has also questioned other Trump Organization employees about the security footage, including how the footage was handled and whether it could have been tampered with before it was handed over to the FBI.
He has also pressed witnesses about a text message from former Navy chief Petty Officer Walt Nauta, who served as Mr Trump’s White House valet and continued to work for the former president as a civilian. The text message was allegedly sent to the elder Mr. Kalamari and was related to surveillance footage. Prosecutors have also asked about conversations between Mr. Nauta and Mr. Kalamari on the same subject.
Mr. Nauta previously told investigators that Mr. Trump instructed him to move boxes containing classified documents after serving him with a June 2022 subpoena, forcing him to turn over any such documents in his possession. it was done. But the former White House valet, who is currently on the payroll of Mr Trump’s political action committee, was reportedly told to stop cooperating with prosecutors if he did not provide evidence against Mr Trump. So he may face charges.
In their place, prosecutors reportedly developed another source of evidence about the former president’s handling of documents that he took with him toward the end of his time in the White House.
According to the new York Times, Prosecutors have sought cooperation from an undisclosed individual who was hired by Mr. Trump at Mar-a-Lago.
This insider has reportedly given prosecutors evidence about how Mr Trump stored boxes in which FBI agents discovered a number of classified documents last year when they executed search warrants at his property.
especially, times It is reported that the confidential witness turned over a photograph of the storage room where the boxes were kept.
The use of this previously unreported witness and the subpoena for Calamaris indicates that Mr. Smith’s investigation is focusing on what happened after Mr. Trump received a grand jury subpoena on the issue last summer. Will happen.
In addition to Calamaris, prosecutors have reportedly issued subpoenas to four other Mar-a-Lago workers, along with one person who times Described as having “visibility into Mr Trump’s thinking” as early as 2022, when he returned 15 boxes of documents to the National Archives
times It also pointed out that almost everyone employed at Mr Trump’s club has received subpoenas and some who hold “quite obscure jobs” have been asked to testify on more than one occasion.
In addition, one of the subpoenas issued to Mr. Trump’s nominee company relates to LIV Golf, a Saudi-backed golf tour that has held tournaments at several of Mr. Trump’s golf courses. It is not known why prosecutors are probing his relationship with the PGA Tour competitor, but it is possible Mr Trump’s business is under scrutiny by prosecutors as well.
In a statement, a representative for the former president said Mr. Smith’s investigation was “a targeted, politically motivated witch hunt” that was “fabricated to interfere with an election and prevent the American people from returning.” [Mr Trump] to the White House”.