Trump charged with 7 counts in investigation of classified documents


WASHINGTON — A federal grand jury indicted Donald Trump on seven criminal counts related to his mishandling of more than 100 classified documents that were discovered last year at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, making the former commander a Chief twice indicted in -Chief the first former president to face federal criminal charges.

Trump said late Thursday that his lawyers have been informed that he has been charged in the special counsel’s investigation into his handling of classified documents. Two sources familiar with the matter confirmed the allegation, with one adding that the former president had received a summons to appear in US district court on June 13.

In a post on his social media platform Truth Social, Trump said: “My lawyers have been informed by the corrupt Biden administration that I have been indicted, apparently for the Pitos hoax.”

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The charges mark the second time the former president has been indicted since leaving office, but the news still reverberated across the country, with supporters and critics weighing in on the magnitude of the event. While the first round of charges addressed Trump’s conduct while he was running for election in 2016, the new charges address his actions as he left the White House and focus on how he handled some of the country’s most sensitive secrets.

Two sources briefed on the seven charges told NBC News the charges include false statements and conspiracy to obstruct. All charges are related to withholding of documents and obstruction of justice. One source notes that seven counts doesn’t necessarily mean seven counts; there may be multiple charges associated with each charge.

The nature of the charges was first reported by The New York Times.

Trump’s attorney, Jim Trusty, told CNN that a subpoena they received from the feds included at least one Espionage Act-related charge, “several obstruction-type charges, and then false statement charges.” Asked if there was also a conspiracy charge, he said: “I think so.” NBC News confirmed that one of the charges was related to the Espionage Act.

A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment.

A separate source said the indictment is sealed, which is why the government cannot comment yet.

The government has previously provided leads on possible charges. A search warrant for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in August said investigators were seeking evidence of three crimes related to the mishandling of confidential government records, including whether the documents were shared with “unauthorized” people. Since then, Justice Department lawyers had raised the possibility of a offense related to obstruction in court records.

Trump and his Republican allies focused their response on trying to pin the impeachment on President Joe Biden, even though the investigation had been turned over to a separate special counsel.

The White House declined to comment on the accusation. An administration official said the White House received no advance notice of the allegation and learned about it from media reports.

Asked Thursday why the American public should trust the Justice Department in the face of Trump’s criticism, Biden insisted he hasn’t put his thumb on the scales.

“I have never, not once, suggested to the Department of Justice what they should or should not do… no charges or no charges at all. I’m honest,” Biden said.

Fundraising email and months research

Trump seemed prepared when he first went public with the existence of the impeachment.

Minutes after Trump announced that he had been indicted on the Truth Social, he sent out a fundraising appeal citing the criminal charges.

“The Biden-appointed special counsel has INDICTED me in yet another witch hunt regarding documents I had the RIGHT to declassify as President of the United States,” the fundraising email read, asking supporters to “make a contribution to be at peace” with him. .

He later posted a four-minute video on Truth Social where he called himself “an innocent man” and called the investigation “a hoax.”

“I am an innocent person,” he said. “I did not do anything wrong. And we will fight for this as we have been fighting for seven years. It would be wonderful if we could spend all of our time making America great again.”

A Secret Service official said his staff will meet with Trump’s team on Friday to begin planning for security and logistics related to his court appearance Tuesday afternoon.

The grand jury’s decision is the culmination of a months-long Justice Department investigation now led by special counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Smith, who was appointed in November 2022 after Trump announced his run for the Republican nomination in 2024, took over existing investigations into Trump’s handling of classified documents found at the Mar-a-Lago home, as well as “key aspects” of the Justice Department’s investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol and efforts to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power.

Republicans defend Trump

Some of Trump’s fellow Republican presidential candidates and allies in Congress criticized the charges as politically motivated.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted that “the militarization of federal law enforcement poses a deadly threat to a free society,” while another of Trump’s presidential rivals, Vivek Ramaswamy, said in a statement that “we will never I thought the day would come when the US President delegates the Department of Justice to arrest his main rival in the middle of an election.” He reiterated his promise to pardon Trump if he is elected president.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., called the impeachment a “grave injustice.” “It is unconscionable that a president would impeach the leading candidate who opposes him,” McCarthy said.

Newly announced presidential candidate Chris Christie, a Trump critic and former federal prosecutor, said he would wait until he actually sees the impeachment before commenting. “Let’s see what the facts are when any possible allegations are released,” Christie tweeted.

Trump faces several other investigations. In early April, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg separately indicted him on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to his alleged role in hush money payments toward the end of his 2016 presidential campaign. pleaded not guilty in that case. Trump is also facing a criminal investigation in Georgia related to the 2020 election, as well as the investigation related to Smith from January 6.

Image: Former President Donald Trump raises his fists to supporters after a campaign rally for the Republican Party
Former President Donald Trump raises his fists to supporters after a campaign rally for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, in Manchester, NH on April 27, 2023. Sophie Park/The New York Times/Redux Pictures

After Trump left office in January 2021, the federal government made multiple attempts to obtain files Trump had kept from his time in the White House, giving the former president and his legal team multiple opportunities to hand them over.

The government eventually seized more than 11,000 pages of government documents from Mar-a-Lago, including more than 100 classified documents, after the former president’s team certified that they had conducted an exhaustive search of the site for classified documents.

Trump has denied doing anything wrong and has dismissed allegations that he mishandled classified documents by saying he had already declassified them.

He has also likened his situation to that of Biden, who was also found to be in possession of classified Obama administration documents. But the circumstances are very different.

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