Federal investigators worry that former President Donald Trump may possess more documents than the National Archives and Federal Bureau of Investigation have recovered.
"A top Justice Department official told former President Donald J. Trump’s lawyers in recent weeks that the department believed he had not returned all the documents he took when he left the White House, according to two people briefed on the matter," The New York Times reported. "The outreach from the official, Jay I. Bratt, who leads the department’s counterintelligence operations, is the most concrete indication yet that investigators remain skeptical that Mr. Trump has been fully cooperative in their efforts to recover documents the former president was supposed to have turned over to the National Archives at the end of his term."
Some leading legal experts believed the conversation to have significance.
Harvard Law's Laurence Tribe wrote, "this looks like a major step toward an indictment of Trump by DOJ for obstruction of justice."
Former Pentagon special counsel Ryan Goodman wrote, "This may help force the Justice Department’s hand toward an indictment."
"There are multiple worse case scenarios," Goodman explained. "One of them is that Trump has actually lost control of the missing documents. (That could also be an aggravating factor that pushes toward indictment — because of dissemination to third parties not just retention of documents)."
National security attorney Bradley Moss said, "I would bet good money there are records at other offices."
Former federal prosecutor Shanlon Wu wrote, "NYT reporting that DOJ has reached out to Trump's lawyers saying they believe he still has more documents is really frustrating - why don't they just search all of his residences - why don't they just charge on what they already have?"
Conservative lawyer George Conway said, "it's almost as though Trump is some kind of criminal or something."
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