Attorneys for Donald Trump came to the Justice Department Monday to make their case that the government should not charge the former president in connection with his possession of classified documents after leaving office. Among the lawyers at the meeting were John Rowley and James Trusty, the Washington Post reports. In May, Rowley and Trusty sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking for a meeting to discuss what they call the unfair treatment of Trump by special counsel Jack Smith. It is not unusual for lawyers for high-profile defendants to seek an audience with senior Justice Department officials toward the end of a criminal investigation. It would be uncommon for such meetings to take place with the attorney general. Under department regulations, the attorney general may overrule the special counsel only if the special counsel has failed to follow Justice Department policies and practices.
Smith was appointed to lead the case in November, after Trump launched his 2024 bid for president. His team of federal prosecutors is investigating whether Trump or those close to him mishandled classified documents the former president kept after leaving office, or obstructed government efforts to retrieve them. A grand jury has been hearing testimony from dozens of witnesses in recent months. Investigators also have surveillance video showing boxes of documents being moved at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida residence and private club, and an audio recording of Trump talking about having an apparently classified document in his possession. Timothy Parlatore, who recently left Trump’s legal team, predicted that the former president might not be prosecuted over his handling of classified documents, and compared the case to the investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails. Parlatore told NBC News' “Meet the Press” that he wouldn't be surprised if Trump isn’t prosecuted in the Justice Department's probe. "Is this something where a prosecution makes sense?” he said.