Former President Donald Trump has been Charged in seven counts A shocking development in the special counsel’s classified documents investigation is the first time a former president has faced federal charges.
Trump faces fee Under the Espionage Act, his attorney Jim Trusty told CNN Thursday, as well as charges of obstruction of justice, destroying or falsifying records, conspiracy and making false statements.
A special counsel is investigating Trump’s handling of the matter Classified documents It was brought to his Mar-a-Lago Florida resort after he leaves the White House in 2021, as well as potential obstacles to an investigation and government efforts to recover the items.
The former president wrote on Truth Social that he had been notified by the Justice Department that he had been indicted and was “subpoenaed to appear in federal court in Miami on Tuesday at 3 p.m.”
“The corrupt Biden administration notified my lawyers that I was indicted in connection with the boxes scam,” Trump wrote.
The trustee told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins that Trump’s lawyers received a subpoena from the Justice Department via email Thursday listing the charges, but have not yet seen the indictment.
He called the Espionage Act charge “ridiculous.”
In a sign of how tight the special counsel has been on the indictment, law enforcement officials said Thursday that the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Marshals did not receive advance notice and were surprised by Trump’s announcement on social media.
Law enforcement is now reluctant to make an expected court appearance next week in Miami, and the Justice Department is moving additional resources there, officials said.
The special counsel and the Justice Department did not issue any public statements Thursday, and a spokeswoman declined to comment.
The federal indictment is the second time Trump has been criminally charged this year. In April, the Manhattan District Attorney charged Trump with 34 counts of false business dealings.
But the special counsel’s indictment marks a new and more dangerous legal phase for the former president, who is running for president again in 2024 while facing criminal charges in two jurisdictions — and two additional investigations into his conduct still ongoing.
The allegations against Trump come seven months after Attorney General Merrick Garland took office Jack Smith As a special consultant After Trump announced he was running for president, Biden would keep the investigation independent from the Justice Department.
Now Trump will face federal charges from the special counsel as he tries to unseat President Joe Biden in next year’s presidential election.
The White House declined to comment Thursday evening.
Trump has railed against the special counsel’s investigation and other investigations into his conduct, saying they are all attempts to stop him politically. The former president has insisted that no criminal charges will stop his 2024 campaign.
Trump released a four-minute video Thursday evening repeating many of his past claims, including that the Justice Department is up in arms and that investigations into him are “election interference.”
“I am an innocent man. I did nothing wrong,” Trump said in the video.
Sources tell CNN that Trump and his team pre-recorded the video response before Trump was officially informed of the indictment. The New York Times.
Trump has long avoided legal culpability in his personal, professional and political life. He has settled several private civil cases over the years and has stayed out of controversies related to the Trump Organization. As president, he was twice impeached by the Democratic-led House but avoided conviction by the Senate.
But after leaving office, the Justice Department’s criminal investigations into Trump’s possession of classified information at his Mar-a-Lago resort and his efforts to rig the 2020 election have cast dark clouds over Trump. Smith’s trial on January 6 and efforts to overturn the election are still ongoing.
In addition to the Manhattan District Attorney’s April indictment, Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis is expected to announce in August whether any charges are pending in an investigation into efforts to tamper with the 2020 election in Georgia.
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Trump’s congressional allies quickly rallied to his defense on social media, as they did when Trump was impeached in New York in April.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy tweeted, “America’s darkest day.”
“It is unconscionable for a president to impeach a leading candidate who opposes him. Joe Biden has had classified documents for decades,” the California Republican said.
“The far left will not interfere in the 2024 election to stop Joe Biden’s disastrous presidency and desperate campaign,” House GOP conference chairwoman Elise Stefanik, R-New York, said in a statement.
“Sad day for America. God Bless President Trump” Tweeted House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican.
Trump’s aides and advisers are emboldened by the indictment and are “ready to fight back,” a person who spoke to Trump on Thursday told CNN.
But while Trump and some of his aides may now feel emboldened, others close to the former president have expressed concern and reservations about the allegations.
Despite a boost to Trump in polls and fundraising that could help the former president in the Republican primary, many top advisers are aware of the risk associated with a federal indictment and believe it could hurt Trump in the long run.
Trump’s federal impeachment would once again make the 2024 GOP primary about the former president, even in a week where multiple candidates are competing. Ahead of Thursday’s indictment, several of Trump’s Republican rivals said in a CNN town hall Wednesday that the DOJ should not indict the former president, including Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence.
For at least one of the anti-Trump Republicans, Thursday’s indictment is a reason for Trump to drop out of the race.
“While Donald Trump is entitled to the presumption of innocence, the ongoing criminal proceedings will be a major distraction. It reaffirms the need for Donald Trump to honor the office and end his campaign,” said GOP presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson.
Many Democrats who questioned Trump during his presidency said Thursday’s indictment showed that no one is above the rule of law.
“Trump’s apparent indictment is another affirmation of the rule of law among the many charges stemming from the retention of classified material. He behaved like an outlaw for four years. But he should be treated like any other lawbreaker. Today, he is,” wrote California Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, who led the House’s first impeachment against Trump in 2019.
The Justice Department’s investigation into documents from Trump’s time in office exploded into public view in August when FBI agents executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago and seized thousands of documents, including 100 classified documents. The FBI sent surveillance video from the resort to the Trump Organization.
Prosecutors have said in court filings that they are pursuing criminal charges of mishandling national security information and obstruction of justice. The DOJ previously alleged that classified documents may have been “hidden and removed” from a storage room at Mar-a-Lago as part of an effort to “obstruct” the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s mishandling of classified material.
After Trump returned 15 boxes of items to the National Archives in January, the Justice Department subpoenaed Trump in May, requesting documents with still classified markings at Mar-a-Lago.
According to a lawsuit he later filed, Trump ordered his staff to search the remaining classified material to comply with the subpoena. After federal investigators recovered the documents from the resort in June, his attorneys later told investigators that they had searched the storage area and that all classified documents were accounted for.
Prosecutors said in August that some documents may have been removed from the storage room before Trump’s lawyers examined the area as they tried to comply with the subpoena.
In recent months, prosecutors have heard from dozens of witnesses, including Trump aides and employees of Mar-a-Lago and the Trump Organization. Most of the witnesses appeared before a grand jury in Washington, D.C., but several witnesses testified in recent weeks at a grand jury in South Florida.
Prosecutors obtained an audio tape of Trump talking about the Pentagon Papers during a 2021 meeting in Bedminster, New Jersey. In the recording, first reported by CNN, Trump admitted the document was still classified, downplaying his contention that everything he brought with him to Mar-a-Lago was classified.
This story has been updated with additional updates.