Attorneys for former President Donald J. Trump met on Monday on the Justice Division with officers, together with the particular counsel Jack Smith, two weeks after requesting a gathering to debate their considerations about Mr. Smith’s investigations into Mr. Trump, in response to two folks conversant in the matter.
The assembly didn’t embrace Lawyer Normal Merrick B. Garland or Lisa O. Monaco, the deputy lawyer common, and it’s unclear what exact topics had been mentioned. However the go to got here amid indications that prosecutors within the particular counsel’s workplace had been approaching the top of their inquiry into the previous president’s dealing with of categorised paperwork. It additionally got here at a time when Mr. Trump’s advisers have concluded that there may not be far more time to stave off fees, the folks mentioned.
The attorneys — James Trusty, John Rowley and Lindsey Halligan — left the Justice Division after almost two hours. They declined to talk to reporters.
Shortly after their go to, Mr. Trump posted a message on his social media platform, Reality Social, suggesting that his authorized staff had no less than mentioned with him the likelihood that he may very well be indicted.
“How can DOJ presumably cost me, who did nothing improper,” Mr. Trump wrote in all capital letters.
Tim Parlatore, a lawyer who resigned final month from representing Mr. Trump, mentioned that the previous president’s authorized staff has harbored worries for a while about how prosecutors working for the particular counsel, Jack Smith, have carried out the categorised doc inquiry.
“I’ve lengthy had considerations concerning the method through which D.O.J. personnel carried out this investigation,” Mr. Parlatore mentioned. “No matter what the proof reveals, in case your prosecution staff has engaged in misconduct, that’s a related issue to contemplate in making any charging selections, notably in a case with important political magnitude.”
Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mr. Smith, declined to remark.
In a one-page letter to Mr. Garland, which Mr. Trump posted on his Reality Social account on Might 23, the attorneys didn’t cite any particular complaints by his authorized staff, however as an alternative broadly asserted that Mr. Trump had been handled unfairly by the Justice Division by the investigations led by Mr. Smith. Together with the categorised paperwork case, prosecutors underneath Mr. Smith are additionally scrutinizing efforts by Mr. Trump and his aides to overturn the outcomes of the 2020 election.
The letter to Mr. Garland was an abbreviated model of an extended one which contained a extra detailed account of the considerations by Mr. Trump’s attorneys, in response to two folks conversant in the matter. These included the methods through which grand juries have been used within the particular counsel’s investigations and makes an attempt to strong-arm protection attorneys concerned within the instances, the folks mentioned.
Mr. Trusty, who labored on the Justice Division for greater than 20 years, is aware of Mr. Smith nicely: The 2 labored with one another a decade in the past, when Mr. Trusty was a high-ranking prosecutor within the division’s legal division and Mr. Smith was the top of the general public integrity unit.
The Trump authorized staff’s go to to the Justice Division got here as indicators have emerged that Mr. Smith may quickly decide about whether or not to hunt fees within the paperwork case. The standing of his different line of inquiry, into Mr. Trump’s efforts to reverse his election loss and the way they contributed to the assault on the Capitol by his supporters on Jan. 6, 2021, stays much less clear.
Mr. Trump expects to face fees within the paperwork investigation, in response to individuals who have spoken to him, though that doesn’t imply that he has been assured that fees are pending.
Prosecutors mentioned in authorized paperwork final yr that they had been investigating Mr. Trump’s dealing with of categorised paperwork that he took with him when he left workplace and whether or not he obstructed the federal government’s efforts to retrieve them. He voluntarily returned two batches of paperwork final yr, and F.B.I. brokers retrieved extra in a search in August of Mar-a-Lago, his personal membership and residence in Florida.
In his Reality Social submit, Mr. Trump in contrast his case with that of President Biden, who was additionally discovered to have had categorised paperwork in his possession from his time as vp and who can also be underneath scrutiny by a particular counsel. Mr. Trump additionally talked about the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal e mail server.
The preliminary letter from his attorneys to Mr. Garland was straight confrontational, accusing officers on the Justice Division of displaying favoritism to Mr. Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who’s underneath legal investigation by the division.
By sending the letter, Mr. Trump was counting on a steadily used playbook, through which he suggests a decide or a prosecutor is treating him unfairly by the act of investigating him.
Underneath Justice Division laws, Mr. Garland would play solely a restricted function in whether or not Mr. Smith decides to deliver fees towards Mr. Trump.
An lawyer common can overrule a particular counsel in a particular circumstance: If Mr. Garland had been to find out that the prosecutor’s motion can be “so inappropriate or unwarranted underneath established departmental practices that it shouldn’t be pursued.” Mr. Garland should additionally disclose that to Congress and clarify any such intervention when the particular counsel’s inquiry ends.
William Okay. Rashbaum contributed reporting.