Attorneys for former President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday sent a letter requesting a meeting with Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in connection with the Special Counsel’s investigation into Mr Trump’s conduct.
The letter gave no details, but did allege that Mr Trump had been unfairly treated by the Justice Department as a result of the investigation led by Special Counsel Jack Smith. Mr Smith is investigating Mr Trump’s handling of classified material discovered at his private club Mar-a-Lago in Florida after his presidency, as well as his efforts to retain power after losing the 2020 election.
There are indications that Mr Smith is nearing the stage of the investigation where he could begin making decisions on whether to press charges against Mr Trump and others in the document case. The status of his other line of inquiry, namely Mr Trump’s efforts to redeem his election defeat and how they contributed to his supporters’ attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, is less clear.
“Unlike President Biden, his son Hunter and the Biden family, President Trump is being treated unfairly,” Mr Trump’s attorneys James Trusty and John Rowley wrote to Mr Garland.
“Never in the history of our country has a President of the United States been investigated in such an outrageous and unlawful manner for no reason,” they wrote.
They requested a meeting to discuss the “persistent injustice” committed by Mr Smith’s team.
The letter was previously reported by ABC News.
A spokesman for Mr Smith declined to comment.
The tone of the letter is markedly different from how Mr. Trump acted shortly after the FBI issued a search warrant in Mar-a-Lago in August 2022, seizing documents Mr. Trump received after receiving a subpoena ordering him to do so , not issued had to be returned to the government. At the time, Mr Trump sent a message through an intermediary to Justice Department officials that the search was causing an uproar in the country and asked how he could help bring the temperature down.
Tuesday’s letter from his attorneys was directly confrontational. This implied that the family of Mr. Biden, who appointed Mr. Garland and who is himself the focus of a special counsel investigation, found a far smaller number of classified documents from his vice presidential and Senate days in the rooms where he worked and in where he worked His home benefits from more favorable treatment.
Hunter Biden is under separate investigation for possible tax charges and possible lying about his drug use on a federal form he filled out to purchase a handgun.
Mr. Trump is the front runner for the Republican nomination in an increasingly tight Republican field. But with the letter, Mr. Trump invokes a commonly used playbook in which he suggests that a judge or prosecutor is treating him unfairly by investigating him.
Most recently, he tried to propose a conflict to the judge overseeing the prosecution against him in a Manhattan state court because a family member works for the Democrats.
Put another way, the letter could be an attempt by Mr Trump’s attorneys to send a signal to ask Mr Garland to withdraw from involvement in the question of whether Mr Trump will face charges.
While Mr. Smith will make the recommendation on whether to charge Mr. Trump with federal crimes in the two cases, the final decision would be made by Mr. Garland. In the document-related case, prosecutors have been examining evidence related to obstruction of justice and whether he mishandled classified material.
Mr Smith’s team is still hearing testimonies in the two cases, according to several people familiar with the proceedings, although all indications are that the document investigation is nearing its conclusion.
Some of Mr Trump’s advisers have privately predicted the former president could at least face indictment in the case related to the documents, though they claim he did nothing wrong. They are also increasingly angry at the number of people summoned, from humble workers in Mar-a-Lago to former government officials.
Mr Trump faces charges in New York for paying hush money to a porn star, and in Georgia he is under a separate investigation into his efforts to redeem his 2020 election defeat there.
It is highly unlikely that Mr. Garland would agree to meet with Mr. Trump’s lawyers, said one of the attorney general’s former aides.
“Merrick Garland will not be meeting with Trusty or any of the other Trump attorneys,” said Anthony Coley, Mr Garland’s former spokesman. “Jack Smith is leading this investigation, not Merrick Garland.”
Glenn Thrush contributed to the coverage.