If you’ve been keeping up with the legal comings and goings of Donald Trump, you likely know that there’s a very real chance that the ex-president will be indicted by the Manhattan district attorney for his role in the 2016 hush money payout to porn star Stormy Daniels. Of course, that’s not the only legal matter the former president is currently facing, with his also being under criminal investigation by the Justice Department for both his attempt to overturn the election and his handling of classified documents. And in the case of the latter, it appears that special counsel Jack Smith, who is overseeing the two probes, is not f–king around.
CNN reports that at least 24 people have been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury investigating the classified-documents case, including “members of…Trump’s inner circle” and staffers who work at Mar-a-Lago, the resort/private residence to which Trump decamped after leaving the White House and which was raided by the FBI last August. Margo Martin, who served as a White House press assistant before transferring to Palm Beach with Trump, is said to have appeared before the grand jury on Thursday, with one of Smith’s “senior-most prosecutors” participating in the interview. Investigators have also sought testimony from a Mar-a-Lago housekeeper and restaurant servers at the club. As CNN notes, “the staffers are of interest to investigators because of what they may have seen or heard while on their daily duties around the estate, including whether they saw boxes or documents in Trump’s office suite or elsewhere.” A person familiar with the investigation told the outlet that Smith’s team is “casting an extremely wide net—anyone and everyone who might have seen something.”
Other people close to Trump who have been subpoenaed include former White House deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino and former Trump administration official Kash Patel. While Trump attorney Evan Corcoran has already appeared before the grand jury, he reportedly refused to answer questions about his conversations with Trump concerning the classified documents, citing attorney-client privilege; Smith’s team has asked a judge to compel Corcoran to answer prosecutors’ questions because the guy’s chats with Trump, per CNN, “may have been part of advancing a crime or fraud.” In October, The New York Times reported that Corcoran had asked another Trump attorney, Christina Bobb, “to sign a statement for the department that the Trump legal team had conducted a ‘diligent search’ of Mar-a-Lago and found only a few files that had not been returned to the government.” That claim, of course, turned out to be extremely not true, as the August 8 raid of Mar-a-Lago uncovered approximately 100 “highly sensitive government documents, including some marked with the highest levels of classification,” and even more documents were subsequently found. (Bobb had added a caveat that the statement was “true and correct to the best of my knowledge.”)
It was reported in December that, according to sources familiar with the matter, lawyers for the ex-president had discovered “at least two items marked classified after an outside team hired by Trump searched a storage unit in West Palm Beach, Florida, used by the former president.” (The storage unit was also said to have contained “suits and swords and wrestling belts and all sorts of things.”) As The Washington Post noted at the time, the presence of the additional classified material “provides further evidence that Trump and his team did not fully comply with a May grand jury subpoena that sought all documents marked classified still in possession of the postpresidential office.” Beginning in November, an array of classified documents were also found in Joe Biden’s Delaware home and former DC office, leading Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a separate special counsel to investigate the situation. Unlike Trump, the president appears to have cooperated with the government from the start.