On Aug. 4, the FBI raided former President Donald Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago, citing obstruction of justice in the warrant.
Now the federal prosecutors reportedly believe they have “sufficient evidence” to criminally charge the former president with obstruction, according to a bombshell report from Bloomberg.
Insiders told Bloomberg that Attorney General Merrick Garland has yet to receive a formal recommendation about whether or not to charge Trump. They said Garland would need to approve (or reject) any such charge against Trump. After all, Garland approved the Justice Department’s raid into Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago.
Trump is currently facing several federal investigations, in addition to the pending obstruction chrage. For example, the FBI’s warrant cited its investigations pertaining to the Espionage Act. That means Garland may file other charges in addition to an obstruction charge.
Even if Garland approves, there are important differences between a charge and an indictment. A federal prosecutor can file a charge, which begins the Justice Department’s criminal lawsuit against a defendant. However, only a grand jury can issue an indictment, which requires a defendant to appear in court.
The FBI — like the nation at large — has become divided about whether to charge a former president.
Some anonymous FBI agents told Bloomberg that the Justice Department should avoid a politically polarizing case. However, others reportedly want to charge Trump.
In any case, some FBI alumni see the charges as inevitable.
“Of all the things Trump is being investigated for around the country, obstruction of justice is a slam dunk and I think he’s going to be indicted,” Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence, told Bloomberg. “I don’t see why a charge of obstruction of justice couldn’t be filed by the end of the year.”
Garland has time to decide whether or not to approve the charge.
The FBI insiders told Bloomberg that Garland would likely announce his decision after Christmas.
After all, Trump requested a nonpartisan arbiter to review the documents from Mar-a-Lago, citing concerns about privacy, executive privilege and attorney-client privilege. The arbiter — called a special master — has until Dec. 16 to review the docs.
In other words, some FBI insiders expect a formal charge after Dec. 16… but before the end of the year.
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