Trump rallies support amid 37-count indictment for hoarding classified documents

Donald Trump, the former US President, is scheduled to make his first public appearances since being federally indicted, addressing supportive Republican audiences in Georgia and North Carolina. He aims to rally support for his defence as he remains the frontrunner for the Republican Party nomination in 2024, despite his growing legal troubles. Trump is expected to use speeches at two state party conventions to criticise the charges against him.

On Friday, an indictment was unsealed, charging Trump with 37 felony counts related to his possession of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. He is accused of deliberately defying Department of Justice demands to return classified documents, involving aides in his efforts to conceal the records, and even telling his lawyers he wanted to defy a subpoena for the materials stored at his residence. Allegations in the indictment include storing documents in a ballroom and bathroom at his resort, among other locations.

The most severe charges carry potential prison sentences of up to 20 years each. However, first-time offenders seldom receive anywhere near the maximum sentence, and the decision would ultimately be left to the judge. Trump has already responded to the indictment with a series of posts on his Truth Social platform and a video statement, framing the prosecution as election interference orchestrated by President Joe Biden and his campaign. “They come after me because now we’re leading in the polls again by a lot against Biden,” he said.

As Trump rallies his most ardent supporters and seeks to solidify his position as the leading presidential candidate for his party, he can anticipate a warm reception. On Saturday, he arrived in Georgia to chants of “Four more years! Four more years!” from supporters waving signs that read, “Witch Hunt”. About 100 enthusiastic supporters gathered at Columbus airfield. Michael Sellers, a 67-year-old Trump supporter who attended the airfield, said he had read the indictment and was aware of the accusations. “It’s criminal what they’re doing to him,” Sellers said. When asked if he believes Trump will win another term in 2024, Sellers replied, “He won the last time. He will win again.”

Of all the investigations Trump has faced, the documents case has long been considered the most dangerous threat and the most likely to result in prosecution. The federal charging document alleges that Trump not only intentionally possessed classified documents but also proudly displayed them to visitors and aides. The indictment is based on Trump’s own words and actions as reported to prosecutors by lawyers, close aides, and other witnesses, including his claims to respect and understand procedures related to the handling of classified information.

A Trump campaign official described the former president’s mood as “defiant” prior to the state visits. However, aides were noticeably more subdued after the indictment was unsealed as they grappled with the seriousness of the legal charges and the threat they pose to Trump beyond any potential short-term political gain.

The indictment comes at a time when Trump continues to dominate the primary race. Other candidates have primarily attacked the Department of Justice, rather than Trump, for the investigation. However, the indictment’s wide range of allegations and scope could make it more difficult for Republicans to criticise these charges compared to an earlier New York criminal case, which many legal analysts dismissed as weak.

Trump is due to make his first federal court appearance on Tuesday in Miami. He has been charged alongside Walt Nauta, a personal aide whom prosecutors claim moved boxes from a storage room to Trump’s residence for him to review and later lied to investigators about the movement. A photograph included in the indictment shows several dozen file boxes stacked in a storage area.

The case adds to Trump’s already deepening legal difficulties. In March, he was indicted in New York for a hush-money scheme related to payouts made to a porn actor during his 2016 campaign, and he faces additional investigations in Washington and Atlanta that could also lead to criminal charges.

So far, many Republicans, including some of Trump’s party nomination rivals, have responded by supporting the former president and amplifying his sense of indignation. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, who has had a turbulent relationship with Trump, stated that the indictment marked a “dark day” for the United States. “I, and every American who believes in the rule of law, stand with President Trump,” McCarthy said. Additionally, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, viewed as Trump’s most viable challenger for the Republican ticket, echoed the claims of a “weaponised” Department of Justice.

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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