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New evidence shows potential obstruction by Trump in classified files case: Report

The US Justice Department and the FBI have new evidence showing possible obstruction by former President Donald Trump in the investigation of his handling of top-secret documents at his Florida residence, a new report says.

Investigators from the two agencies have information that indicates Trump personally reviewed some of the documents at Mar-a-Lago after receiving a subpoena from the Justice Department, in an apparent attempt to hold on to some materials, people familiar with the investigation told the Washington Post.

Trump looked through the contents of some of the boxes of documents in his home, apparently out of a desire to keep certain things in his possession, the Post cited people familiar with the probe.

The former president and his team had returned some documents after receiving the subpoena last spring.

But the FBI later executed a search warrant at the residence and recovered hundreds of documents that were marked as classified and were kept at the resort past Trump’s time in office.

The Presidential Records Act mandates all presidential materials are returned to the National Archives for preservation after the end of a White House tenure.

Trump sets record: first former US President charged with a crime

Investigators have also reportedly gathered evidence that Trump instructed others to mislead government officials trying to recover presidential records in early 2022, before the subpoena was issued, the Post revealed.

It pointed out that this would not likely be a crime on its own, but could show evidence of intent to back up a possible obstruction case.

The new information indicates the special counsel appointed to the case, Jack Smith, is focusing on possible obstruction, or whether Trump made efforts to impede the government in recovering the records.

The Justice Department has been investigating potential mishandling of national security records and possible obstruction for about a year.

The Mar-a-Lago investigation is one of four separate criminal probes involving Trump, who is campaigning for another term in the White House.

The former president is also being investigated by the Justice Department and a state prosecutor in Georgia over efforts to block Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.

Trump spokesman Steven Cheung decried what he described as “witch-hunts” against Trump, saying they have “no basis in facts or law.”

On Thursday, Trump was indicted by a New York grand jury that heard evidence about his alleged role in a hush money payment to an adult-film actress and the subsequent cover-up of the scheme ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

He is set to make his first court appearance in that case on Tuesday. He faces about 30 counts of document fraud in the indictment,

Trump has said he will give a speech Tuesday night about his criminal case after he returns to Mar-a-Lago.

Biographer Michael D’Antonio said earlier that Trump’s indictment would be a “shocking event… because one of the slipperiest people at the highest level of business, whose devotion to abusing the system is so well established, is being caught.”

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