The Justice Department has asked U.S. District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell to hold Donald Trump’s office in contempt of court, accusing the former president’s team of failing to honor a subpoena ordering the return of all classified documents in his possession to the DOJ, according to a report from The Washington Post.
For months, the Justice Department, spurred by a request from the National Archives, has been attempting to ascertain the extent to which Trump retained classified documents without authorization following his departure from the presidency. DOJ officials have questioned members of Trump’s orbit regarding the potential of documents having been stored in various Trump properties.
Federal authorities have recovered more than 300 documents bearing classified markings in various handovers and searches, including an August raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. Some of the documents recovered contained “top secret” classification markings.
Throughout the process, Trump’s legal team has repeatedly assured investigators that there were no more documents in their possession. Lawyers for the former president certified in June, after a handover of documents stored at the Palm Beach estate, that there was no more material on the property. Two months later, the FBI recovered thousands of additional pages of material.
On Wednesday, the Post reported that Trump’s lawyers had identified additional documents with classification markings during a search of a storage unit in Florida. The protracted back-and-forth between Trump’s team, as well as his efforts to prevent investigators from examining the contents of the documents, clearly is wearing on the patience of government officials.