donald trumpThe Justice Department’s legal team argues that the Justice Department should end the federal investigation into the former president and allow the 2024 presidential campaign season, already in full swing, to continue “undisturbed” — an investigation the former president has recently sought to politicize. he.
A Trump spokesman said Wednesday that the legal team is contacting Attorney General Merrick Garland directly and requesting a meeting to share unspecified misconduct in special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation, including what they call “prosecutor misconduct and overreach.” Behavior”.
“We hope he understands that the right course of action is to close his file on this matter and allow the presidential campaign to move forward uninterrupted,” the spokesman said in a statement.
They also want to debate with Garland why the former president should not be indicted, a source familiar with Trump’s legal team said.
But it remains to be seen whether Garland would consider such a meeting, especially if Smith was operating independently, or if the request would be viewed as a serious legal endeavor — not just a PR ploy — —Because Trump also faced multiple criminal investigations during the campaign.
Defense attorneys sometimes meet with prosecutors when a charging decision is imminent. But sources familiar with the investigation told CNN that Smith has yet to notify Trump’s lawyers of his impending decision.
As CNN reported, Smith appears to be in the final stages of his investigation.
On Tuesday, Trump publicly shared a passage from his lawyer’s letter to Garland seeking a meeting to discuss Smith’s investigation of the former president’s handling of classified documents and efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
It was not immediately clear whether Garland received the letter, which Trump has hyped up on social media.
The Justice Department declined to comment.
“I think what they’re asking for is the only thing they can ask for if they really believe there was wrongdoing,” said White House counsel Ty Cobb, who is representing Trump in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
If Trump’s legal team has a specific complaint against Smith or his prosecutors, “the only place to go is the principal” — that is, Garland, Cobb said. “It’s probably not crazy” from a legal standpoint.
Trump’s lawyers, John Rowley and Jim Trusty, wrote in their letter: “Never in the history of our country has an American president acted in such an outrageous and illegal manner. have been subject to baseless investigations in a manner that is unfounded.”
Tuesday’s letter also complained that Trump was being treated unfairly compared with President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, who is receiving a Trump appointment from the U.S. Prosecutor’s investigation.
last month, Hunter Biden’s attorney meets with career officials The messages from the Justice Department’s tax division and U.S. attorneys came after Biden’s lawyers asked for an update on the case.
But Garland’s meeting with Trump’s legal team was unusual given the political sensitivity of the case, the Justice Department’s rules for special counsel and the autonomy given to the office. Garland appointed Smith just days after Trump announced he would run for president in 2024.
As special counsel, Smith has the authority to make his own prosecution decisions without Garland’s approval. But Garland has the authority to review the special counsel’s work.
“Some have compared Hunter Biden’s meeting with the DOJ to this meeting request. Key difference – Jake Smith is the special counsel. Under DOJ rules, Smith is not subject to *any* personnel from the DOJ day-to-day supervision, including Garland,” tweets Anthony Corley, former spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice.
But refusal to meet ex-president’s lawyers could complicate Justice Department
On Saturday, former Trump attorney Tim Parlatore told CNN that the legal team had discussed ways to “educate” Garland, but another Trump adviser stood in the way .
“As our investigation draws to a close, Jack Smith and Merrick Garland will ultimately decide what to do as we develop our defensive strategy to educate Merrick Garland on how best to handle this issue,( Trump adviser Boris Epshtain) prevented us from engaging in that strategy,” Parlatore said.
A Trump spokesman called Parlatore’s statement “absolutely false.”
This isn’t the first time Trump has tried to send Garland a message. Last summer, three days after the FBI searched his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, one of Trump’s attorneys spoke on the phone with then-Chief Attorney Jay Bratt, according to a Trump court filing. conveyed Trump’s message to Garland.
“The message is as follows: President Trump wants the Attorney General to know that he has heard from people across the country about the raid. If there is one word to describe their mood, it is ‘anger.’ The heat is building. The pressure is mounting. Whatever I can do to turn the heat down, lower the stress, just let us know,” the document read.
During the first half of Trump’s presidency, the former president’s lawyers reached out to the special counsel’s team during Mueller’s investigation of Trump. Lawyers went back and forth at length about whether Trump would voluntarily agree to be interviewed by the special counsel’s office, but Trump ultimately refrained from doing so.
Despite Trump’s constant attacks on then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — who oversaw the special counsel investigation after Sessions recused — the relationship between Rosenstein and Trump during the course The legal team does not appear to have met with Mueller’s investigation.