The Justice Department has asked a federal judge to hold former President Donald Trump’s office in contempt of court for failing to comply with a subpoena for all the classified documents Trump took from the White House, The Washington Post reported.
Trump’s team initially turned over 15 boxes of documents to the National Archives in January. But the Justice Department later launched an investigation into Trump’s handling of national security information and determined he likely had additional documents at Mar-a-Lago that needed to be recovered. It issued a grand-jury subpoena for the records in May, and in June, a top counterintelligence official at the Justice Department went to Mar-a-Lago to collect the boxes.
Evan Corcoran, one of Trump’s attorneys, then drafted a statement, signed by another Trump lawyer, Christina Bobb, saying that to the best of Bobb’s knowledge, all remaining classified material at Mar-a-Lago had been returned.
As it turned out, that wasn’t the case. The FBI recovered 26 boxes of records when it searched Trump’s Florida residence in August, including 11 sets of material marked classified or top secret.
The DOJ’s request for US District Judge Beryl Howell to hold Trump’s team in contempt is indicative of the increasingly tense nature of prosecutors’ communications with Trump’s office.
According to the Post, the two sides have been unable to reach an agreement over the designation of a custodian of records to sign a sworn statement saying that all classified materials have been turned back over to the government.
The report said that Trump’s team has refused to designate a custodian despite months of back and forth.
Howell hasn’t made a final decision on whether to hold the former president’s team in contempt.
Trump is currently at the center of multiple state and federal criminal investigations into his business dealings, handling of classified information, and efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
Last month, US attorney general Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith, a veteran war crimes prosecutor, as special counsel overseeing the DOJ’s investigations involving Trump. Those include the Mar-a-Lago records case as well as the department’s inquiry into events surrounding the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.