Trump says he has been indicted in classified documents case
Justice Department yet to publicly confirm alleged indictment as Trump claims 'election Interference'
Former US President Donald Trump said Thursday evening that he has been indicted on criminal charges in connection with the retention of classified government documents following his departure from office.
Trump railed against the legal action, saying in a series of statements that his attorneys have been informed of the indictment. He said he has been summoned to appear at the federal courthouse in Miami, Florida on Tuesday afternoon.
"I never thought it possible that such a thing could happen to a former President of the United States, who received far more votes than any sitting President in the History of our Country, and is currently leading, by far, all Candidates, both Democrat and Republican, in Polls of the 2024 Presidential Election," he said in a written statement.
"I AM AN INNOCENT MAN! This is indeed a DARK DAY for the United States of America. We are a Country in serious and rapid Decline, but together we will Make America Great Again!”
In a separate statement posted to his website, Trump appealed for donations from supporters, claiming the indictment "is nothing but a disgusting act of Election Interference by the ruling party to ELIMINATE its opposition and amass total control over our country."
FBI agents executed a search warrant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in August, recovering over 100 classified records from the property, according to court records.
The documents were the third trove to be recovered after the National Archives and Records Administration retrieved 15 boxes including 184 classified documents in January. It subsequently handed them over to the FBI as it referred the matter to the bureau.
Obstruction of justice appeared to be the central thrust of the federal investigation after the Justice Department said in a court filing that federal documents were likely "concealed and removed" from a storage room at Mar-a-Lago in an effort to "obstruct" the federal investigation.
During a June 3 visit to Mar-a-Lago by the FBI, Trump's attorney handed documents over "in a manner that suggested counsel believed that the documents were classified: the production included a single Redweld envelope, double-wrapped in tape, containing the documents," US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Juan Antonio Gonzalez wrote in an October filing.
An individual identified solely as a custodian presented a certification letter that stipulated "a diligent search" had been completed following a court-approved subpoena.
During the Aug. 8 search, however, FBI agents "in a matter of hours, recovered twice as many documents with classification markings as the ‘diligent search’ that the former President’s counsel and other representatives had weeks to perform," Gonzalez wrote.
In October, the Supreme Court rejected Trump's request to have an independent arbiter known as a special master review the classified documents after an appeals court ruled they could not be evaluated. Trump's legal team wanted to have them assessed to see if they were covered by executive privilege.
The Justice Department has yet to publicly comment on the alleged indictment. If confirmed, it would mark the second time Trump has faced a criminal indictment since leaving office in January 2021.
Trump was previously indicted by a federal grand jury in New York City on charges related to a hush money payment to cover up an extramarital affair with an adult film star.
Trump has pleaded not guilty in that case and is actively attempting to have the presiding judge recuse himself on allegations of conflicts of interest. A trial has been scheduled to begin in March 2024.
The Washington Post newspaper reported, citing anonymous sources, that Trump faces a seven-count indictment related to the classified documents, including illegal retention of government secrets, obstruction of justice and conspiracy.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.