Jack Smith, the Special Counsel for the Department of Justice looking into the Trump document scandal at Mar-a-Lago, is preparing to wind down his investigation, according to new reports this morning.
The investigation, which has spanned nearly a year, stems from the documents found after an FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago last summer. During that raid, the Department of Justice seized materials that were deemed to be inappropriately removed from the White House and improperly declassified. That raid led to backlash from Republicans, who saw it as the DOJ and FBI continuing to harass a potential Republican presidential contender.
But Special Counsel Smith has been turning up the heat in recent weeks, leading members of the Trump team to feel they should be “bracing for his indictment.”
Some of Trump’s close associates are bracing for his indictment and anticipate being able to fundraise off a prosecution, people in the former president’s circle said, as clashes within the Trump legal team have led to the departure of a key lawyer.
In recent weeks prosecutors working for Smith have completed interviews with nearly every employee at Trump’s Florida home, from top political aides to maids and maintenance staff, the people said. Prosecutors have pressed witnesses—some in multiple rounds of testimony—on questions that appeared to home in on specific elements Smith’s team would need to show to prove a crime, including those that speak to Trump’s intentions, and questions aimed at undermining potential defenses Trump could raise, they said.
The special counsel team conducted a flurry of grand jury interviews in recent weeks that appeared to tie up loose ends, the people said.
Currently, there is no clear indication if Smith will charge Donald Trump directly or simply recommend charges to Merrick Garland’s DOJ. But it’s not the only investigation Smith is pursuing, and it’s not the only investigation into Trump that could lead to more charges.
Trump has already been indicted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for falsifying business records – 34 felony counts of it, which required a lot of elaborate yoga poses to make that stretch. The DOJ has multiple investigations ongoing, and in Fulton County, Georgia, a prosecutor is looking to indict Trump over his attempts to overturn the election.
As the first former president in American history to face criminal charges, Trump has already broken historic ground. But that ground may be dangerous ground as he attempts to fend off investigations, subpoenas, and possible court dates while he also attempts to run for the Republican nomination for president in 2024.
The DOJ is also looking into two other classified documents cases. Both Joe Biden and Mike Pence have also had documents found in their homes, prompting a Special Counsel in the case of Biden. Trump’s lawyers have written letters to lawmakers recently, noting that “deficient document handling and storage procedures are not limited to any individual, administration or political party.”