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Major moments in the Trump documents investigation By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Donald Trump visits an unfinished section of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border in Pharr, Texas, June 30, 2021. REUTERS/Callaghan O’Hare

By Jacqueline Thomsen

(Reuters) – Here is a timeline of events that led to charges against former U.S. President Donald Trump and others over government records, some marked as highly sensitive, stored at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida after he left the White House in January 2021:

Feb. 9, 2022: The National Archives and Records Administration asks the U.S. Justice Department to investigate Trump’s handling of government records, after Trump returned boxes of government documents stored at Mar-a-Lago that included classified materials.

Aug. 8, 2022: Trump discloses that FBI agents searched Mar-a-Lago and broke into a safe in what one of Trump’s sons said was part of a federal investigation into retention of records.

Aug. 12, 2022: The court-approved warrant behind the Aug. 8 search is released. It shows that 11 sets of classified documents were taken from Trump’s property. The warrant states the Justice Department has probable cause to believe there were possible violations of the Espionage Act which makes it a crime to release information that could harm national security.

Aug. 22, 2022: Trump sues to block the Justice Department from reviewing materials seized from his home until a third-party arbiter, known as a special master, is assigned to make sure privileged documents are not improperly accessed.

Aug. 26, 2022: DOJ releases the heavily redacted affidavit behind the warrant for the search of Trump’s property, disclosing that it believed the former president illegally possessed documents including some involving intelligence-gathering and clandestine human sources. The affidavit also says that there were “a significant number of civilian witnesses” assisting in the probe and that the department believed there also was evidence of obstruction.

Sept. 6, 2022: U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon grants Trump’s request for a special master over DOJ objections, an action that delays the investigation. Senior U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie of Brooklyn is later named to run that third-party review.

Sept. 15, 2022: The Justice Department seeks to access the classified materials taken in the search. Cannon rejects the bid, but the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later allows DOJ to review the documents.

Nov. 16, 2022: Trump announces he will run for the Republican nomination in the 2024 U.S. presidential election.

Nov. 20, 2022: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland appoints U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith to preside over criminal matters relating to Trump, including the classified documents investigation.

Dec. 1, 2022: A federal appeals court reverses Cannon’s appointment of a special master in the case, finding she lacked the authority to appoint one. The ruling gives the Justice Department access to all materials seized in the search of Trump’s property.

Dec. 7, 2022: At least two classified records are found during a further search of Trump’s properties, a source says.

December 2022: Trump lawyer Tim Parlatore appears before a federal grand jury in Washington to describe efforts to search Trump properties for any remaining government documents.

March 24, 2023: Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran appears before a federal grand jury in Washington after a federal judge finds Smith’s team made a sufficient showing that Trump may have deceived his attorneys in furtherance of a crime.

May 17, 2023: Parlatore confirms he has left Trump’s legal team. He later says on CNN that he exited over disagreements with others over handling of the probe, claiming Trump aide Boris Epshteyn prevented attorneys from properly defending the former president. A Trump spokesperson denies the claims.

June 8, 2023: Trump writes on social media that the Biden administration has informed his attorneys that he has been indicted, and that he has been summoned to appear at the federal courthouse in Miami on June 13.

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