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DOJ asks judge to hold Trump in contempt over classified documents subpoena, reports say

CNBC 12/8/2022 Dan Mangan
  • The DOJ is asking a federal judge to hold former President Donald Trump or his office in contempt of court, reports say.
  • The request was spurred by Trump's failure to comply with a subpoena demanding all documents marked classified in his possession.
  • Trump is under criminal investigation for his removal of government documents from the White House when he left office.
  • An FBI raid of his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida found more than a hundred documents marked classified.
Documents seized by FBI from Mar-a-Lago © Provided by CNBC Documents seized by FBI from Mar-a-Lago

The Department of Justice has asked a federal judge to hold former President Donald Trump or his office in contempt of court over failing to comply with a subpoena that requires him to turn over all documents marked classified in his possession, two reports said Thursday.

Prosecutors for the department last week told U.S. District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell in Washington, D.C., that searches for such documents performed by Trump's team of four locations before Thanksgiving were not satisfactory, CNN reported.

The Washington Post, which earlier reported on the contempt request, said a key issue of dispute between the DOJ and Trump's legal team has been his team's repeated refusal to designate someone as a custodian of records who could state that all classified records have been returned to the government.

The Post reported that the DOJ wants Trump's office held in contempt, while CNN reported that the department wants Trump held in contempt.


Both news outlets cited sources familiar with the matter and noted that the contempt action remains under seal.

The subpoena for the classified documents was issued in May.

The reports came a day after news broke that Trump's search team found at least two documents bearing classified markings at one of his storage units in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The DOJ is conducting a criminal investigation of the former president for his refusal to return government documents that were removed from the White House before he left office, and shipped to his residence in his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach.

An FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago in August found thousands of government documents, more than a hundred of which were marked classified or highly classified.

Presidents are required by law to return government documents to the government when they leave office.

Trump last month announced that he would seek the Republican Party's nomination for president in 2024.


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