Federal prosecutors convene grand jury and order National Archives to turn over 15 boxes of Trump-era White House papers including ‘classified national security information’ recovered from Mar-a-Lago

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  • The documents were found at the former president’s Florida home in January
  • Congress opened an investigation into document mishandling back in February
  • Federal prosecutors have now convened a grand jury to decide if there’s enough evidence to press charges against anyone, including Trump himself
  • Trump’s lawyers called the investigation ‘politically motivated and misguided’
  • A New York Times reporter claims Trump would also flush printed paper down the toilet, causing a plumber to routinely have to come out and fix it

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The Department of Justice has convened a grand jury as it investigates whether Donald Trump mishandled classified records that were found at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Prosecutors have asked the National Archives to turn over the 15 boxes of memos, gifts and letters that the agency found at the ex-president’s Florida home in January.

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They’ve also asked to speak to staffers who worked at the White House as the administration wound down in early 2021, two sources told the New York Times,

The grand jury will decide if federal prosecutors have enough evidence to bring charges against anyone, including the former president, for relocating the documents, which included Trump’s ‘love letters’ to Kim Jong-un.

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This is the latest sign that Attorney General Merrick Garland and other government officials are looking to hold Trump responsible for his allegedly shoddy record-keeping, after reports emerged that he ‘periodically’ flushed official documents down the toilet during his four years as president.

Congress has already opened an investigation into Trump’s handling of White House records back in February.

Trump’s lawyers called the new investigation ‘politically motivated and misguided’ in a statement.

Federal prosecutors have convened a grand jury to decide whether to charge anyone, including Trump, after 15 boxes of White House documents were found at his Florida home

The boxes contained classified material, including his 'love letters' to Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.  Above, people wait for a moving van after boxes were moved out of the Eaisenhower Executive Office in the White House complex on January 14, 2021

The boxes contained classified material, including his ‘love letters’ to Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Above, people wait for a moving van after boxes were moved out of the Eaisenhower Executive Office in the White House complex on January 14, 2021

The federal grand jury recently subpoenaed the National Archives for the boxes

The federal grand jury recently subpoenaed the National Archives for the boxes

Prosecutors have issued a subpoena to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to obtain the documents, the New York Times said.

A grand jury probe suggests the Justice Department has advanced its inquiry, which began after the Archives said it recovered 15 boxes of documents, including classified records, that Trump took to his Mar-a-Lago estate when he left the White House in January 2021 .

The issue is complicated. Federal law requires presidential records to be preserved, but presidents also have the ability to declassify documents.

Some of the records recovered at the resort are so sensitive they may not be able to be described in inventory reports in a way that can be unclassified, according to The Washington Post,

The National Archives, which is in charge of preserving public and private documents of national significance, says the trove included ‘items marked as classified national security information.’

Authorities have also made interview requests to people who worked in the White House in Trump’s final days in office.

Trump Taylor Budowich said: ‘President Trump consistently handled all documents in accordance with applicable law and regulations. Belated attempts to second-guess that clear fact are politically motivated and misguided.’

Trump has previously confirmed that he agreed to return certain records to the Archives, calling it ‘an ordinary and routine process.’

A federal law called the US Presidential Records Act requires the preservation of memos, letters, notes, emails, faxes and other written communications related to a president’s official duties.

The documents Trump failed to hand over when he left the White House in January 2021 include his ‘love letters’ with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

They also include original versions of the letter former President Obama left for Trump in the top drawer of the Resolute Desk, where he told his successor: ‘We are just temporary occupants of this office. That makes us guardians of those democratic institutions and traditions – like rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection and civil liberties.’

The documents were recovered from Trump's Mar-a-Lago home by the National Archives in January.  Congress opened a probe into potential mishandling of documents a month later

The documents were recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home by the National Archives in January. Congress opened a probe into potential mishandling of documents a month later

The National Archives retrieved 15 boxes of documents, including the infamous 'sharpie' map with the track of approaching Hurricane Dorian in 2019

The National Archives retrieved 15 boxes of documents, including the infamous ‘sharpie’ map with the track of approaching Hurricane Dorian in 2019

Federal record-keeping laws establish jail time and possible forfeiture of office for those convicted of serious crimes.

Congress enacted the Presidential Record Act after Watergate, and after Congress stepped in, ‘seizing Richard Nixon’s papers as if they were in a crime scene,’ former head of the Nixon Library Dr. Timothy Naftali told DailyMail.com.

The New York University professor said record-keeping laws are not just designed to help historians and researchers, but to constrain behavior.

‘And it’s the knowledge, I would think, that people with power have that in the future we will know what they did, which has a I think useful and healthy constraining effect on them. That there will ultimately be accountability,’ he said.

Charges are rare in cases regarding the mishandling of classified documents.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In February, the House Oversight and Reform Committee opened a probe into Trump’s improperly removing or destroying White House documents.

Trump's lawyers called the latest investigation 'politically motivated and misguided' in a statement.  Above, the president at the Oval Office on December 7, 2020

Trump’s lawyers called the latest investigation ‘politically motivated and misguided’ in a statement. Above, the president at the Oval Office on December 7, 2020

'Staff in White House residence would periodically find the toilet clogged,' New York Times reporter Haberman told CNN.  'The engineer would have to come and fix it'

‘Staff in White House residence would periodically find the toilet clogged,’ New York Times reporter Haberman told CNN. ‘The engineer would have to come and fix it’

‘Removing or concealing government records is a criminal offense punishable by up to three years in prison,’ the congressional letter to NARA Archivist David Ferriero notes.

In her forthcoming book ‘Confidence Man,’ New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman claims that White House staff found wads of printed paper clogging a toilet and believed Trump was the culprit, according to an axios report,

Haberman's upcoming book 'Confidence Man' details the paper flushing

Haberman’s upcoming book ‘Confidence Man’ details the paper flushing

She also doubled down on this reporting in an appearance on CNN’s New Day on Thursday morning.

‘As I was reporting out this book, I learned that staff in White House residence would periodically find the toilet clogged,’ she detailed. ‘The engineer would have to come and fix it.’

‘And what the engineer would find would be wads of clumped up wet, printed paper – meaning it was not toilet paper,’ Haberman continued. ‘It was either notes or some other piece of paper that they believe he had thrown down the toilet.’

She did not speculate further on what was on the papers – claiming it could even just be post-it notes to himself.

During his presidency, Trump often raised eyebrows when he would lament on water pressure in Washington, DC claiming his administration was looking into relaxing water-saving regulations for toilets, sinks and showers.

‘People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times as opposed to once. They end up using more water,” Trump said while talking with business owners in December 2019. ‘The EPA is looking at that very strongly at my suggestion.’

The US Code establishes fines and jail time, and even forfeiture of office, as penalties for violating federal document laws.  Charges are rare in classified document mishandling cases

The US Code establishes fines and jail time, and even forfeiture of office, as penalties for violating federal document laws. Charges are rare in classified document mishandling cases

The former president pointed in his statement to the hypocrisy of the investigation into his handling of documents and keeping of mementos, questioning why his rival Hillary Clinton wasn’t forced to hand over her 32,000 emails.

‘I have been told I was under no obligation to give this material based on various legal rulings that have been made over the years,’ Trump insisted in his Thursday statement.

‘Crooked Hillary Clinton, as an example, deleted and acid washed 32,000 emails and never gave that to the government,’ he added. ‘Then, they took large amounts of furniture out of the White House. And Bill Clinton kept numerous audio recordings that the archives wanted, but were unsuccessful at getting after going to court. We won’t even mention what is going on with the White House in the current, or various past administrations.’

‘In the United States there has unfortunately become two legal standards, one for Republicans and one for Democrats. It should not be that way!’

Credit: www.dailymail.co.uk /

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