Trump indicted for hoarding classified documents at Mar-a-Lago

In a major development, US federal prosecutors have unveiled a comprehensive indictment against former President Donald Trump, accusing him of hoarding and concealing classified documents containing sensitive national security information. The 49-page document details 37 federal charges against Trump, with 31 of those charges relating to violations under the Espionage Act. The remaining six charges are connected to Trump’s alleged efforts to hide the documents during a federal investigation, with an additional two charges accusing him of making false statements to investigators.

The indictment also implicates Trump’s aide, Waltine “Walt” Nauta, charging him with six felonies related to hiding documents and making false statements. Special Counsel Jack Smith, appointed by the US justice department to oversee the investigation, emphasised the importance of enforcing laws that protect national defence information, stating that violations of these laws put the country at risk.

Despite the serious allegations, Trump maintains his innocence, attacking prosecutor Smith as a “deranged lunatic” and insisting that he provided investigators with the materials they requested. He argued that he had nothing to hide and that there was nothing wrong with looking at the personal records he brought with him from the White House.

However, the indictment paints a different picture, alleging that Trump kept boxes containing information on US and foreign countries’ defence and weapons capabilities, nuclear programmes, potential vulnerabilities to military attacks, and plans for possible retaliation in response to foreign attacks. The contents of these boxes, if disclosed, could have had devastating consequences for US national security, foreign relations, military safety, and intelligence collection methods.

According to prosecutors, the documents were carelessly stored throughout Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, including unsecured locations such as a bathroom, ballroom, and shower. Some documents even bore classified markings indicating that they were only to be released to the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the US.

As the federal investigation into the classified documents recovered at Mar-a-Lago intensified, the indictment alleges that Trump considered not complying with the order or outright lying. The indictment also accuses Trump of “causing” his lawyers to falsely certify that Mar-a-Lago had been thoroughly searched and all documents had been located, in accordance with the subpoena. Furthermore, Trump allegedly instructed his aide Nauta to move 64 boxes to “conceal them from Trump’s attorney, the FBI and the grand jury”.

Additionally, prosecutors claim that Trump displayed a casual attitude towards the classified documents in his possession, even showing a classified map related to a military operation to a person who worked for his political action committee. In another instance, an audio recording revealed Trump displaying a “highly confidential” military document to a visiting writer and publisher.

The unsealed indictment marks the climax of a years-long saga that began in May 2021, when the National Archives demanded the return of missing presidential records. Trump’s team handed in 15 boxes by January 2022, 14 of which contained classified documents. The justice department issued a subpoena in May 2022, requiring Trump to surrender any remaining classified documents in his possession. The FBI eventually raided Mar-a-Lago in August, recovering 102 classified records.

The case now moves to federal court, where Trump appointee Judge Aileen Cannon is expected to initially oversee the proceedings. Trump is scheduled to appear in federal court in Miami on Tuesday.

Trump’s allies and even some Republican presidential opponents have seized on the revelations in the indictment, which the former president has labelled a “witch hunt”. Trump has also framed the federal charges as an attempt to undermine his potential candidacy in the 2024 presidential race, where he is currently polling far ahead of the crowded Republican field.

Top Democrats, on the other hand, have rallied around the phrase, “No one is above the law,” with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Leader Hakeem Jeffries issuing a joint statement saying that the indictment must now play out through the legal process without any outside political or ideological interference.

World News


With a Bachelor's Degree in English, Jenn has plenty of experience writing and editing on different topics. After spending many years teaching English in Thailand, Jenn has come to love writing about Thai culture and the experience of being an ex-pat in Thailand. During long holidays, she travels to North of Thailand just to have Khao Soi!

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