If you’ve been keeping up with the Justice Department’s investigation into Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents, you already know that things do not look good in regard to the ex-president’s odds of escaping a federal indictment, and they haven’t for some time. In just the last month alone, we’ve learned, among other things: that Trump attorney Evan Corcoran was suspiciously “steered away” from looking for classified documents in Trump’s office and other areas of Mar-a-Lago; that the Mar-a-Lago staffer who helped move boxes at the resort and allegedly asked “how the security cameras worked and how long images remained stored in the system” was the same employee who flooded the room where the surveillance footage was held; and that the feds have in their possession an audio recording in which Trump says he decided to retain classified material concerning a potential attack on Iran. All of that would already be enough for you to assume that the former president is very likely f–ked, but if you need more convincing, oh, there’s more.
Late Wednesday night, The New York Times reported that federal prosecutors working for special counsel Jack Smith had told Trump’s legal team “that he is a target of their investigation into his handling of classified documents,” which is “the clearest signal yet that the former president is likely to face charges in the investigation,” as the Times helpfully pointed out. While it may have seemed obvious for some time that Trump was a target of the investigation—hence the raid on his private club and residence—the Times explained that “notifying a potential defendant that he or she is a target is a formal way of indicating that the person is a direct focus of a criminal investigation and often precedes the filing of charges.”
Earlier this week, a trio of Trump lawyers met with Smith for nearly two hours, with sources close to Trump telling the Times it was “a final effort to stave off charges and alert top prosecutors to what they believe to be misconduct in Mr. Smith’s investigation.” It’s not clear how the meeting went, but based on the ex-president’s recent ravings on Truth Social, the answer appears to be “not good.”
On Wednesday, Taylor Budowich, a former spokesman for Trump, testified before a Miami grand jury that is hearing evidence in the case. Also on Wednesday, a conservative journalist who serves as one of Trump’s representatives to the National Archives wrote that the ex-president would be indicted “imminently.”
When asked by the Times if he had been told he was a target of a government investigation, Trump initially said he was not in direct contact with Smith’s team and then insisted it was “not true” that he’d been informed of an impending indictment. (His legal team has reportedly told him to brace for charges.)