In recent weeks prosecutors working for Smith have completed interviews with nearly every employee at Trump’s Florida home, from top political aides to maids and maintenance staff, the people said. Prosecutors have pressed witnesses—some in multiple rounds of testimony—on questions that appeared to home in on specific elements Smith’s team would need to show to prove a crime, including those that speak to Trump’s intentions, and questions aimed at undermining potential defenses Trump could raise, they said.
The Journal couldn’t determine whether Smith has decided whether to charge Trump, or if he has presented a recommendation on the matter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, who would ultimately make a final decision on any such charges. A spokesman for Smith declined to comment. A Trump spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment but has previously described the probe as a politically motivated witch hunt.
Smith’s team, which has been examining whether anyone tried to obstruct the criminal inquiry, has obtained evidence that appears to show Trump held on to sensitive documents after being asked to relinquish them, the people said. Last week the National Archives turned over to Smith’s team records of communications between then-President Trump and some of his advisers about how he could declassify documents, some of the people said, material that could help prosecutors overcome the defense that Trump believed he could do so verbally. CNN first reported the National Archives transfer.