Former President Donald Trump The special counsel’s classified documents are incriminating in the investigation, sources familiar with the matter told CNN, a stunning development that marks the first time a former president has faced federal charges.
Trump has been will be imposed with seven counts in the indictment, according to another source familiar with the matter.
At least one of the charges against Trump will be a conspiracy charge, a source said.
The special counsel is investigating Trump’s handling of classified documents brought to his Mar-a-Lago Florida resort after leaving the White House in 2021, obstruction of justice and government efforts to recover the materials.
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 special counsel declined to comment. The Justice Department is moving additional evidence to Miami ahead of the expected appearance, according to a law enforcement source.
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 Special Adviser 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.
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.
02:17 – Source: CNN
Fmr lawyer: why it’s hard to send powerful people to jail
Trump’s congressional allies quickly rallied to his defense on social media, as they did when Trump was impeached in New York in April.
“Sad day for America. God Bless President Trump” He tweeted that House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican.
“The far left will not interfere in the 2024 election to prop up Joe Biden’s disastrous presidency and desperate campaign,” House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, a New York Republican, said in a statement.
Sen. Josh Hawley, Missouri Republican He tweeted that“If those in power imprison their political opponents at will, we have no republic.”
However, many Democrats who investigated 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 law breaker. 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 burst into public view in August when FBI agents executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago and seized thousands of 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, DC, but several witnesses testified before a grand jury in South Florida in recent weeks.
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.