Trump appears to have been charged again with a document scandal

US Justice

Trump appears to have been charged again with a document scandal

Former US President Donald Trump.

Former US President Donald Trump.

Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

The discovery of top-secret documents in Trump’s estate was a political scandal – one could only speculate about the status of the investigation. Now it seems to be a historic step.

Miami/Washington. According to his own words and media reports, former US President Donald Trump has again been indicted by the US judiciary. The process is apparently connected to the investigation into the affair of secret government documents, as Trump wrote on the “Truth Social” portal he co-founded. The 76-year-old is running for the Republican presidential nomination for the 2024 election and wants to run against incumbent Joe Biden.

historic move

It is the first time a federal indictment has been filed against a former US President. According to consistent reports and Trump’s lawyer, there are probably seven charges that are still under wraps. “We haven’t received an indictment yet,” defense attorney Jim Trusty told CNN. However, a summons with details was sent out.

US media, citing Justice Department sources, reported that a jury voted to indict Trump. Trump had already been charged at the state level in New York in connection with hush money payments to a porn star and was brought before the judge in early April. He is also under investigation in other cases.

Search of Mar-a-Lago last summer

The background to the case is a search by the federal police FBI in Trump’s private home Mar-a-Lago in Florida in August: Various classified information was confiscated there, some with the highest classification level. The fact that the Republican kept the documents in his private home long after he left office could have made him liable to prosecution.

For months, the National Archives tried to get papers from Trump’s administration. Trump’s lawyers had finally handed over documents – but by no means all of them, as it turned out during the FBI search of the Mar-a-Lago property.

special investigators deployed

The US Department of Justice appointed independent special counsel Jack Smith in November to outsource the politically sensitive investigation into Trump. On the one hand, Smith takes care of the investigations into the government documents.

Second, it addresses Trump’s role in the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 and his efforts to influence the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. A committee of inquiry had recommended criminal investigations to the Ministry of Justice. Among other things, he accuses Trump of rioting, obstructing a public process and conspiring against the US government. However, the Committee’s recommendation is not binding.

Trump angry: “Election interference at the highest level”

“The corrupt Biden administration has informed my lawyers that charges have been filed against me, apparently for fraud (of alleged classified documents) in boxes (…)”, Trump wrote on “Truth Social”, without clear attribution make who exactly had contacted his team. He was subpoenaed and must appear in court in Miami on Tuesday at 3 p.m. (local time).

“I never thought it would happen to a former President of the United States (…)” he wrote. He added: “I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!” It was “a dark day” for the US.

In an additional video, Trump described the actions of the US judiciary as “election interference at the highest level”. He once again accused US President Joe Biden and his Democrats of conducting a politically motivated witch hunt against him. “They are trying to destroy our reputation so they can win an election,” he told his supporters.

Also government documents found at Biden

Trump is particularly angry that government documents from his time as Vice President under Barack Obama, which were classified as secret, were also found on US President Biden. Here, too, an independent special investigator is active. In Biden’s case, however, there are significantly fewer documents. According to the White House, Biden has also not refused to hand over documents.

Trump has long railed that his opponents are merely trying to prevent him from returning to the White House in 2024. He officially announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in November. So far, he’s ahead in polls among party supporters – but a lot can still happen before the final decision is made.

Key Republicans are backing Trump

Trump’s biggest competitor for the Republican presidential nomination, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, accused President Biden of “using state law enforcement agencies as a weapon.” “We have seen unequal application of the law based on political affiliation for years,” DeSantis wrote. Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said: “I, and every American who believes in the rule of law, stand with President Trump against this grave injustice.

The prominent Democratic member of the House of Representatives, Adam Schiff, turned against Trump: “He will try to instrumentalize these charges for political purposes. Because winning the presidency may be his only hope of avoiding jail time.”

Biden does not react at first

President Biden initially did not comment publicly. A few hours before the reports on the indictment, however, he clearly rejected the fact that Trump was a victim of political persecution.

“Never, not once, have I told the Justice Department what to do or not to do, whether or not to press charges,” he said at a press conference at the White House in Washington yesterday. He was asked by a reporter why people in the United States should trust the Justice Department’s independence and fairness when Trump keeps questioning them.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:230609-99-992209/11 (dpa)

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