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Justice Department ‘demands Trump office be held in contempt’ over classified documents

The Justice Department has asked a federal judge to hold Donald Trump’s office in contempt of court for failing to fully comply with a subpoena to return all classified documents in his possession, it has been reported.

One of the key areas of disagreement centres on the Trump legal team’s repeated refusal to acknowledge that all materials have been returned to the federal government, the report in Thursday’s Washington Post added.

District court Judge Beryl Howell has not yet held a hearing or ruled on the request, according to the newspaper.

The former president and his team say that the request is unreasonable, while the Justice Department declined to comment on the report.

A Trump spokesman told Reuters that the former president’s lawyers “continue to cooperate and be transparent” while describing the probe as “a political witch hunt”.

On Wednesday, an appeal court judged to end the use of a third-party special master to review records in the investigation, a move that allows the Justice Department to access about 13,000 records seized by the FBI at Mr Trump’s Florida estate for its ongoing criminal probe.

“President Trump will continue to fight against weaponisation of law enforcement and pursue appropriate legal avenues to obtain the items that were brazenly and illegally seized from his home during the Biden regime’s unconstitutional raid,” Mr Trump’s spokesman added.

The Justice Department is investigating whether the former president broke the law by retaining government records, some marked as top secret, after leaving office in January 2021.

Mr Trump, who last month announced a third run for the presidency in 2024, is facing multiple legal troubles. His efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election continue to be investigated.

He also faces a state probe over a push to reverse his election loss in Georgia, where this week a candidate that Mr Trump had heavily backed failed to win a senate seat for the Republicans, handing President Joe Biden a political victory.

Earlier this week, his real estate company was found guilty of running a criminal scheme to defraud tax authorities over the last 15 years, although Mr Trump was not personally charged in the case.