Donald Trump may face prosecution in connection with sensitive documents.
According to US media, Donald Trump has been advised that he risks a criminal investigation for handling secret files after leaving Washington.
Federal prosecutors’ decision to alert the ex-president of a criminal investigation means he may face charges shortly.
If that happens, it will be Mr. Trump’s second indictment, as he runs for president again.
Prosecutors have been investigating the transfer of data to Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida since last year.
Last August, the beachfront property was searched, and 11,000 documents were recovered, including approximately 100 marked as classified. Some of these were classified as top secret.
Mr Trump denied in an interview on Wednesday that he has been told he risked an indictment for his handling of the documents.
When asked if he had been informed that he was the subject of a federal investigation, he told the New York Times that “you have to understand” that he was not in direct contact with prosecutors.
On Wednesday night, CNN, ABC News, and Politico all claimed that Mr Trump had been alerted by letter that he was the subject of a criminal investigation.
All of the news outlets claimed the move indicated that charges will be filed shortly, but that it was possible that no one would be charged.
According to two persons familiar with the situation, the notification came from the office of Jack Smith, a former war crimes prosecutor turned special prosecutor who is reviewing evidence.
CBS News, the BBC’s US partner, reported that a source close to Mr Trump confirmed that he was the subject of a criminal investigation but stopped short of confirming that a formal letter had been received.
It follows the discovery of an audio tape of Mr Trump in which he admits to keeping a classified document after leaving the White House.
The specifics of materials that Mr Trump may have had are unknown. Classified information typically comprises information that officials believe might jeopardize national security if made public.
It is illegal for federal authorities, including the president, to remove or keep sensitive materials in an unauthorized location.
Grand juries, which are appointed by prosecutors to evaluate if there is sufficient evidence to bring a prosecution, are thought to have gathered in both Miami and Washington to hear evidence.
Taylor Budowich, Mr Trump’s longtime adviser and spokesman, testified before the jury in Miami on Wednesday.
According to CBS, it raises the potential of criminal charges being filed in Florida for procedural grounds.
Members of Mr Trump’s legal team met with investigators from the Department of Justice in Washington earlier this week.
Mr Trump, who is now polling as the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential candidate, has continuously denied wrongdoing and has blasted the Justice Department’s probe as “politically motivated” and a “witch hunt.”
Any indictment stemming from his handling of secret documents would come after Mr Trump became the first former president to be charged with a felony, pleading not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection with a hush-money payment to a pornstar.
In that instance, he will stand trial in New York next year.