Our laws that protect national defense information are critical to the safety and security of the United States and they must be enforced.Special Counsel Jack Smith on the federal indictment of former President Donald Trump unsealed on Friday related to allegations that the former President mishandled classified documents.
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Why It Matters: President Trump is now the first former president to face federal criminal charges. The indictment (a formal document accusing an individual of a crime) details 37 counts of felony charges against the former President related to allegations he unlawfully retained and mishandled classified documents (including documents related to national security) after he left the White House, and then conspired to obstruct justice by hiding those classified documents from federal authorities. If found guilty on all charges, he could face decades in prison.
On Friday, Special Counsel Smith said, “It’s very important for me to note that the defendants in this case must be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. To that end, my office will seek a speedy trial in this matter, consistent with the public interest and the rights of the accused.” A personal aide of Pres. Trump was also indicted and accused of conspiring with former President Trump.
President Trump’s Response: The former President has denied the allegations; on Friday, he wrote on his social media platform Truth Social, “I had nothing to hide, nor do I now. Nobody said I wasn’t allowed to look at the personal records that I brought with me from the White House. There’s nothing wrong with that…”
What’s Next? President Trump – “the leading contender for the GOP presidential nomination next year“ – is expected to be arraigned at a federal courthouse in Miami on Tuesday (CNBC). Reminder: Arraignment = The first step in a criminal prosecution. The defendant is brought before a judge to be formally charged with a crime. Alongside their attorney(s), they may enter a plea: typically guilty or not guilty. Learn more HERE from our April 2023 card stack when President Trump was indicted by prosecutors in New York.
Something To Consider: Adding to the extraordinary circumstances of this news is the fact that the former President (and current 2024 GOP presidential frontrunner) is being charged by his 2024 opponent’s Department of Justice. Recall that President Joe Biden is himself under investigation for his handling of classified documents found at his home and former office (the big difference is that there are NO allegations regarding any attempts to conceal, etc). Classified documents were also found at the office of fellow 2024 GOP candidate and former Vice President Mike Pence – though the DOJ said earlier this month that he will not face charges.
Read the 49-page indictment HERE
Trump indictment unsealed in documents case | Live updates (The Associated Press)
by Jenna Lee,