“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 wrote. “I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!”
Within minutes Trump was already sending out fundraising emails, hoping to bring in money from the coming indictment.
“Please make a contribution to peacefully stand with me today and prove that YOU will NEVER surrender our country to the radical Left ― for 1,500% impact,” he wrote in an email with the subject line: “BREAKING: INDICTED.”
Trump hinted in recent days he thought he might be close to an indictment, and three of his attorneys met with Justice Department officials earlier this week in an apparent attempt to voice their concerns about the investigation.
The former president has maintained he had the right to take any files he wanted from the White House under the Presidential Records Act, saying he had a standing order to declassify anything he removed from the Oval Office. He also said last month, in a CNN town hall-style event when his presidency ended, he had boxes of files “lined up on the sidewalk,” and “everybody knew we were taking” them.
“I have the absolute right to do whatever I want with them. I have the right,” he said at the time, refusing to give a definite answer about whether he’d shown the documents to anybody. “And, by the way, they become automatically declassified when I took them.”
Those claims seemed to fall over amid reports federal prosecutors had obtained a recording in which Trump discussed a sensitive military document after he left Washington, D.C., indicating he knew it was secret.
Recently, however, Trump has posted agitated statements on his social media platform, some in all capital letters, complaining about the expected indictment, the Department of Justice, President Joe Biden’s own handling of documents, Hillary Clinton’s digital communications while secretary of state and more.
“HOW CAN DOJ POSSIBLY CHARGE ME, WHO DID NOTHING WRONG, WHEN NO OTHER PRESIDENT’S WERE CHARGED, WHEN JOE BIDEN WON’T BE CHARGED FOR ANYTHING,” Trump wrote in a Truth Social post on June 5.
“CROOKED HILLARY DELETED 33,000 EMAILS ... AND WASN’T EVEN CLOSE TO BEING CHARGED! ONLY TRUMP ― THE GREATEST WITCH HUNT OF ALL TIME!”
The Justice Department began its investigation based on a referral from the National Archives in early 2022 after archivists finally got Trump to return numerous boxes and found classified material within them.
After months of negotiating, prosecutors sought and received a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago, which they executed in early August, leading to the discovery of 103 classified documents on Trump’s desk and a number of storage boxes intermingled with his personal papers.
Trump went to court to prevent the use of that material against him, but thus far, has not had success.
Trump said Thursday was a “dark day for the United States of America” but alluded those times would end should he be elected president again in 2024.
“We are a Country in serious and rapid Decline, but together we will Make America Great Again!” he wrote.
Trump is also under investigation by the Justice Department for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, coup attempt, including the scheme to submit to the National Archives fraudulent slates of electors from states that voted for Biden as a way to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to award Trump a second term.
In addition to the federal criminal investigations, a Georgia prosecutor is looking at Trump and his allies’ attempts to coerce state officials into falsely declaring him the winner in that state in 2020.
And Trump this spring was indicted by the Manhattan district attorney on felony charges of falsifying business records to hide a $130,000 hush money payment that he made to an adult film star just days before the 2016 election. Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges, and a trial is set for December.