Trump lawyers meet with Justice officials as decision looms on classified documents charges

WASHINGTON — Lawyers for Donald Trump met with Justice Department officials on Monday as a decision nears on whether to bring criminal charges over the handling of classified documents at the former president’s Florida estate.

The Trump lawyers two weeks ago requested a meeting with Attorney General Merrick Garland to raise concerns about what they alleged was prosecutorial misconduct and overreach by the team led by special counsel Jack Smith. But a defense attorney meeting with Justice Department officials is also often used as an opportunity to try to persuade prosecutors against bringing charges in the final stages of an investigation.

Classified Documents

A photo of documents seized during the Aug. 8 FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. Department of Justice via Associated Press

It was not clear what was discussed during the meeting, but Trump, in a social media post and talk radio interview, signaled that he was prepared for the possibility that he would be charged and reiterated his attacks on the investigation.

A trio of Trump attorneys – James Trusty, John Rowley and Lindsey Halligan – exited the Justice Department headquarters in Washington on Monday morning after spending well over an hour inside. They got into a black sport utility vehicle and did not respond to reporters’ questions.

Garland and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco were not present for the meeting but special counsel Jack Smith was. The Justice Department had no comment on the meeting.

After the meeting ended, Trump posted on his Truth Social platform in capital letters: “How can DOJ possibly charge me, who did nothing wrong” when no other presidents have been charged. He referenced the investigation into his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton, which ended without criminal charges, and a separate ongoing probe into the presence of classified documents at an office

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Trump lawyers meet officials at DOJ as special counsel probe on classified documents near end

President Trump’s legal team met with federal law enforcement officials Monday at the Justice Department to discuss its claims of prosecutorial misconduct in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into classified records.

Trump attorneys James Trusty, Lindsey Halligan and John Rowley met with officials at the Justice Department Monday after writing a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland last month and requesting a meeting to “discuss the ongoing injustice that is being perpetrated by your Special Counsel and his prosecutors.”

It is unclear if Smith was present during the meeting with Trump attorneys Monday. 

Neither Attorney General Merrick Garland nor Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco were in the meeting. 

SPECIAL COUNSEL JACK SMITH WORKING TO WRAP UP MAR-A-LAGO CLASSIFIED RECORDS INVESTIGATION: SOURCE

Garland tapped DOJ official Jack Smith to serve as special counsel to investigate Trump’s alleged improper retention of classified records from his presidency at his private residence at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a 2024 election campaign rally in Waco, Texas, March 25, 2023.  (SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images)

Smith was tapped after the FBI seized classified records from Mar-a-Lago during an unprecedented raid on his home in August. Classified material that was reportedly confiscated by the FBI during the raid Monday included a letter to Trump from former President Obama, a letter from Kim Jong Un, a birthday dinner menu and a cocktail napkin.

The meeting between Trump’s legal team and DOJ officials Monday came as sources have indicated Smith may be close to wrapping up his investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents after leaving the White House.

Jack Smith special counsel

Jack Smith was appointed to be special counsel looking into two major Trump investigations. (Justice Department)

Sources confirmed to Fox News that federal investigators have in their possession a July 2021 audio

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