Former US President Donald Trump has been charged with the alleged commission of seven federal felonies for handling confidential documents that he illegally smuggled to Mar-A-Lago, his Palm Beach, Florida mansion and held there despite the delivery requirements. Special Prosecutor Jack Smith, appointed by the Justice Department, decided to take the historic step after completing his investigation and the indictment was approved by a grand jury in Miami (Florida). The former president is due to appear in court on Tuesday.
Trump himself announced this on his social network. “My attorneys have been notified by the corrupt Biden administration that I have been indicted, apparently for the box hoax, despite the fact that Joe Biden has 1850 boxes at the University of Delaware, additional boxes in Chinatown, DC, with even more boxes at the ‘University of Pennsylvania, and papers scattered all over the floor of his garage where he parks his Corvette, and which is ‘protected’ only by a garage door that is paper thin and open most of the time.” wrote in a message.
The Justice Department has not yet released the charges against Trump. Trump’s attorneys have advanced that there are seven charges, among others for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, willful withholding of national security records, forgery and espionage law violations. The conspiracy implies that someone else participated alongside the former president. Jim Trusty, Trump’s lawyer He indicated this in an interview with CNN. Trusty specified that what he has in hand is not the accusation as such, but a sort of summary of the accusations where some articles of the American penal code are cited.
Trump already made history when he was indicted on 34 counts of deception stemming from three payments to cover up scandals (one being an extramarital affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels) in the 2016 presidential campaign. A New York judge set for March 25, 2024 the trial of the case.
This is the first time, again, that a president or former president has been the subject of federal charges. Furthermore, they are tied to the exercise of their position. Moreover, his indictment comes when he is the favorite for the nomination in the Republican primary for the 2024 presidential election. In this way, the Biden administration’s Justice Department prosecutes whoever is emerging as a possible rival of the current president in the elections of November next year.
“I was summoned to appear in federal court in Miami on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. I never thought it possible that such a thing could happen to a former president of the United States.” Trump wrote in another message. “I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!” he added. “This is indeed a DARK DAY for the United States of America. We are a serious and rapidly declining country, but together we will make America great again!”, he published in the third message of the series, which it culminated in the posting of a video just over four minutes long. In parallel, the Trump campaign began sending emails asking for donations with the indictment as an apology.
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Trump was already preparing for a possible impeachment in recent days. Prosecutors had formally informed his lawyers that he was the target of the investigation and he himself reacted Wednesday by declaring that he had done nothing wrong, that the allegations were a form of “electoral meddling” to avoid returning to the White House and that everything was a “witch hunt”.
The former president received the communication of his indictment at his golf club in Bedminster (New Jersey), where he went in recent days. According to his lawyer, he welcomed the news with disbelief and sadness, but aware that it was a historic moment. He is due to travel to Florida to appear Tuesday before the courthouse where he is subpoenaed, in what could be a reprint of the reading of the charges he already experienced in New York in early April. That summons drew hundreds of journalists and protesters for and against the former president, even though there was none of the “death and destruction” he predicted.
Some of his allies reacted on Twitter to the new charge on Thursday, calling the United States a “banana republic.” As for rivals in the Republican primaries, some have remained silent, while there are those who have offered support to Trump and promised to pardon him if necessary, such as entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and those who openly attack him, such as the former governor of Arkansas Asa Hutchinson, who asked the former president to withdraw from the race.
The indictment of the former president is a quantum leap in a case that led to the search of his Mar-a-Lago mansion in Palm Beach (Florida). The contents of the search warrant already revealed at the time that the former president was under investigation for possible crimes that could lead to fines or prison sentences: obstruction of justice; intentional concealment, removal, or mutilation of public records; and violations of the Espionage Act, apparently due to the intentional retention of national security records.
FBI agents who searched Trump’s mansion found thousands of documents that the former president improperly stored there, including a hundred classified with varying degrees of confidentiality. The search took place after the former president had illegally taken the documents from the White House and had failed to comply with the requirements to hand them over.
Trump took the documents with him when he resigned as president in January 2021, in a handover two weeks after the Capitol storming in which he didn’t even have the courtesy to receive the new occupant of the White House. Among the boxes he brought with him when he moved to Mar-A-Lago were presidential papers. In accordance with the law, the documents that the presidents have handled in the exercise of their office must be kept and made available to the National Archives upon termination of office.
Already in May of that year, the archives notified Trump’s lawyers that the former president had improperly brought presidential documents to his mansion. After a lengthy standoff, Trump’s legal team made 15 boxes of documents available to the Archives in December of that year. When the new custodians opened them and saw that almost all of them contained confidential documents, they alerted the Justice Department, which opened an investigation.
In addition, he has requested an injunction against Trump to hand over all presidential documents in his possession. In June, Justice Department investigators showed up in Mar-A-Lago with the subpoena, and Trump’s attorneys turned over new documents, including some classified documents.
Recently, The Washington Post revealed that two Trump employees moved boxes of paper just a day before that visit to the former president’s residence with the requirement, which along with other evidence the special prosecutor has gathered can support the charge of obstruction of justice or of conspiracy to hinder its performance.
Trump’s lawyers gave written assurances that they handed over all the papers after a “diligent” search. However, FBI agents who searched the villa in August found thousands of other documents, including about 100 classified as confidential.
Federal prosecutors also obtained a recording of a summer 2021 meeting in which former President Donald Trump acknowledges he kept a classified Pentagon document about a possible attack on Iran. according to information published by CNN. The recording is incriminating evidence against Donald Trump, who has sometimes claimed to have declassified all the documents that the FBI searched at his Mar-a-Lago mansion in Palm Beach (Florida).
Another attorney general is investigating the discovery of classified documents from Biden’s time as vice president, both in a former private office of the current president and at his home in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden plays it down: “As far as I know, the kind of stuff they picked up was stuff from 1974 and lost documents,” he said in an interview in February. “When they packed their bags [las cosas de] my offices to move them, have not done the kind of work that should have been done to go through each of the documents thoroughly,” he added.
Unlike Trump, Biden has been collaborating with justice since the beginning. However, the fact that Trump is impeached and Biden cleared is fuel for the most incendiary Republicans. Hence the mentions that Trump has made about his political rival in the message announcing his indictment. Conservative politicians and media hammered this Thursday with that message.
Although the accusation would be a political asset for Biden, it is foreseeable that the White House will not try to take advantage of it and will stay out of the actions of the Justice Department, avoiding giving the image of a political use of the case.
The Justice Department just dropped its investigation into confidential documents that were also improperly taken to his home after Trump’s vice president Mike Pence left office. The Public Prosecutor’s Office informed Pence of the closure of the investigation with a letter dated June 1 in which it assured that no complaints would be filed.
In late January it emerged that aides to Trump’s former vice president discovered a dozen documents with signs of classification as classified in his home in Indiana. Pence thus joined Trump himself and the current president, Joe Biden, who also improperly brought confidential documents into their private homes. In Biden’s case, as in Trump’s, the Justice Department has appointed an attorney general to lead the investigation.
In Pence’s case it was “a small number of documents with confidential markings that were inadvertently boxed and transported to the former vice president’s personal home at the end of the last administration,” wrote the politician’s lawyer in a letter sent to the National Archives, the institution that has to keep the documents and records when the presidents and vice presidents leave their office.
Trump, who was convicted in a civil lawsuit for sexual abuse, has other open lawsuits. Special Prosecutor Jack Smith himself is investigating whether he committed crimes in his attempts to illegally hold on to power after losing to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election by a large majority (plus seven million votes difference and 306 to 232 electoral votes). .
The case that seems more advanced is the one being investigated by Fulton County Prosecutor Fani Willis on possible illegal interference in the 2020 elections in Georgia. The prosecutor has indicated that she intends to announce in the coming months whether she will press charges. Willis has hinted that possible charges will come in August. ·
In a letter to Chief Justice of County Superior Court, Ural Glanville, he said he expects many of his staff to work remotely most days during the first three weeks of August and asked judges not to schedule trials and hearings. in person during part of that period for security reasons.