Trump indicted on 7 counts in classified documents probe

  • Donald Trump has been indicted following a special counsel investigation
  • Trump denies wrongdoing and says he could unilaterally declassify records
  • This is the second criminal indictment Trump is facing

(NewsNation) — A federal grand jury has indicted former President Donald Trump in connection with the discovery of dozens of classified documents at his Florida home after leaving the White House, sources confirmed to NewsNation.

Trump also said he was indicted on his Truth Social platform.

“The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax,” Trump said.

The federal indictment — the first against a former president — is the culmination of a monthslong special counsel investigation into Trump’s handling of the records that were found last fall at Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach estate. The FBI seized more than 100 documents in the Aug. 8 search, months after other boxes were voluntarily returned to the National Archives and Records Administration.

The special counsel’s office declined to comment. Sources confirmed it is a seven-count indictment.

Trump’s attorney, Jim Trusty, told NewsNation’s Adrienne Bankert on “Morning in America” that the former president faces seven charges, at least one of which is for violating the Espionage Act.

“We don’t have the indictment yet. So, I can’t quite do that precisely,” Trusty said. “It certainly mentions the Espionage Act, which is kind of a laugher here in terms of any sort of criminal intent on behalf of President Trump, as well as obstruction-type counts and false statement-type counts.”

Trusty said his team has not seen the indictment but received a summons to appear Tuesday in a federal courthouse in Miami.

Other charges Trusty said they expect include conspiracy, false statements, obstruction of justice and illegally retaining classified documents under the Espionage Act.

“I think the reason they dusted off the Espionage Act is because they know that the Presidential Records Act doesn’t lead to criminal liability. There’s no criminal statute, no criminal penalty associated with the Presidential Records Act, which guides the whole process of former presidents dealing with the archives people at the National Archives and Records Administration,” Trusty explained.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and offered various defenses, including that he had the right to take the documents and that he could unilaterally declassify them without going through any formal process.

He said in a video on Truth Social that he is an “innocent man” and the indictment amounts to election interference.

Prior to the indictment, the Justice Department informed Trump on Wednesday he was a target in the investigation, meaning Special Counsel Jack Smith was looking at Trump’s own actions as opposed to just those of his associates.

Smith was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to oversee the probe that sought to determine which laws, if any, Trump or others broke by keeping the classified documents. Prosecutors also probed whether anyone, including Trump, tried to hinder the investigation by moving or concealing boxes prior to the FBI search.

Trump’s legal team had also recently met with the Justice Department to discuss the investigation. They argued in a letter requesting the meeting that the former president was being treated unfairly.

Trump said Wednesday that Republicans in Congress must make the investigation their “#1 issue,” and it appears he found an ally in Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee earlier this week sent a letter to Garland requesting information about the Mar-a-Lago search and the scope of Smith’s investigation.

Garland’s order appointing Smith, which was already publicly available and unredacted, authorized Smith to oversee the classified document case and examine efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Jordan was among several lawmakers to react to news of the indictment.

“It’s a sad day for America. God bless President Trump,” Jordan said on Twitter.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called the indictment a “brazen weaponization of power.”

A number of Trump aides were called to testify before a grand jury in the investigation, including his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, according to The New York Times.

Meadows served as chief of staff as Trump was attempting to win reelection as well as during the attempts from Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 results. Two people briefed on the matter told the Times that Meadows also had a role in trying to discuss the documents that were taken from the White House, and that Meadows also served as one of Trump’s representatives to the National Archives.

The Hill contributed to this report.

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