Timothy Parlatore, who recently left Donald Trump's legal team, predicted Sunday that the former president might not be prosecuted over his handling of classified documents and compared the case to Hillary Clinton's emails.
Parlatore said in an interview with NBC News meet the Press that he would not be surprised if Trump is not prosecuted in the Justice Department's probe. Is it true that prosecution makes sense? He added that the president had the authority to speak on a number of topics.
Parlatore said he was someone who was against prosecuting Clinton in the emails controversy that shook up her 2016 presidential campaign, and suggested that the case against prosecuting Trump in the documents probe is similar to arguments not to prosecute Clinton.
He argued that Hillary Clinton should not be prosecuted because there are all of these other problems. You have to actually take these documents, show them to the jury and then prove to them that it is not a national defense information. Clinton's presidential campaign had been dogged by backlash for her use of a personal email server during her time as Secretary of State. The FBI concluded in July 2016 that it had found no evidence of criminality in its review of Hillary Clinton's emails, but then-FBI Director James Comey reopened the investigation into her private email server shortly before the 2016 election, before the agency reaffirmed its conclusion that exonerated Clinton. The Clinton investigation by Comey was widely criticized as a significant contribution to Trump's victory in the election.
Republicans supporting Trump have sought to compare the DOJ's Secret Intelligence probe with the case of Hillary Clinton's emails, with some arguing that there would be similar political implications.
Parlatore has been a vocal critic of the investigation by special counsel Jack Smith into the former president's holding of classified documents. Even as he announced he was leaving Trump's legal team, he maintains in a statement his position that the DOJ is acting improperly. The comments come after Smith's investigation into Trump's alleged mishandling of more than 100 classified documents that were discovered at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida last year.
The federal grand jury in the case that has been hearing evidence in the Justice Department's investigation into Donald Trump's handling of classified documents is expected to meet again this coming week in Washington, multiple sources familiar with the investigation told NBC News.
Prosecutors working for Smith have been presenting evidence and witness testimony for months, but activity appeared to have slowed in recent weeks based on observations at the courthouse and sources. It is not clear whether prosecutors are willing to seek an indictment at this point.
In a redacted affidavit last year, FBI agents said they found 184 unique documents that had Classification markings in the 15 boxes that Trump returned to the National Archives in January.
The suit alleges that 25 documents were marked Secret, 67 documents marked Secret, and 92 documents marked Secret. That then led to FBI agents searching Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8 to recover a trove of top secret and other highly classified documents, court documents unsealed by a federal judge.
Trump has been charged with wrongdoing in the case and claims that he mishandled classified documents. He said last year that he can declassify documents by thinking about it.