Trump Indictment: Live Updates On Mar-A-Lago Documents Case

Trump is now the first former president to face federal charges.

Former President Donald Trump has been indicted by the Justice Department over his handling of classified documents at his residence at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, according to court documents unsealed Friday.

Trump, who is facing felony charges related to retaining classified information, making false statements and obstructing justice, will appear in court in Miami on Tuesday.

Read live updates on the indictment below:

Ron DeSantis Calls Out Indictment: The 'Weaponization Of Federal Law Enforcement' Is A 'Mortal Threat'

Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis spoke out against his top contender’s indictment, warning in a tweet that the “weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society.”

The Florida governor also said that there has been an “uneven application of the law” based on political affiliation, name-dropping 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and President Joe Biden’s son Hunter as examples.

Clinton was extensively investigated for her use of a personal e-mail server while she was secretary of state, but “no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information” was found. Meanwhile, Hunter Biden was recently investigated for allegedly failing to file his taxes in 2016 and 2017 and wrongfully claiming $30,000 in deductions for business-related expenses.

“Why so zealous in pursuing Trump yet so passive about Hillary or Hunter?” DeSantis said in his tweet.

He continued: “The DeSantis administration will bring accountability to the DOJ, excise political bias and end weaponization once and for all.”

Secret Service And Trump Team To Meet Friday

The U.S. Secret Service and members of Donald Trump’s staff will meet Friday to discuss details regarding his planned courthouse appearance Tuesday, according to NBC News, which cited a Secret Service official.

At his April indictment and arraignment in New York City in a hush-money case, Trump was accompanied by multiple Secret Service agents and was not handcuffed.

Democrats and Republicans Have A Lot To Say About Trump’s Indictment

In just a few short hours since news first broke of Trump’s indictment, Democratic and Republican lawmakers have a lot to say about the former president.

Some expressed support and sympathy for the former president after hearing of his indictment.

“Sad day for America. God Bless President Trump,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) tweeted.

When asked about Trump’s indictment, 2024 presidential candidate Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told Fox News that he will “continue to pray that justice prevails.”

“We look at every case based on evidence in America,” Scott said, according to NBC News. “Every person is presumed innocent, not guilty, and what we’ve seen over the last several years is the weaponization of the Department of Justice against the former president.”

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also spoke out in support of Trump — and dragged President Joe Biden’s name into it.

“It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him. Joe Biden kept classified documents for decades,” McCarthy tweeted.

He continued: “I, and every American who believes in the rule of law, stand with President Trump against this grave injustice. House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable.”

Meanwhile, GOP 2024 presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson denounced Trump’s actions, emphasizing that the former president should end his campaign.

“While Donald Trump is entitled to the presumption of innocence, the ongoing criminal proceedings will be a major distraction,” Hutchinson said in the statement. “This reaffirms the need for Donald Trump to respect the office and end his campaign."

Others took it upon themselves to resurface the former president's dicey past, including his two impeachments and a prior indictment in New York.

“The former twice-impeached president is now twice-indicted,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) tweeted, referencing Trump’s indictment in March by the federal grand jury in New York City in connection with payments of hush money to Stormy Daniels just days before the 2016 presidential election.

"For four years, he acted like he was above the law. But he should be treated like any other lawbreaker. And today, he has been,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) tweeted.

Why Was Trump Indicted In Florida And Not Washington, D.C.?

The fact that the indictment was filed in U.S. District Court in Miami, not in Washington, D.C., where most of the investigation took place, is a notable shift. The New York Times reported that prosecutors are not able to choose any court they’d like to charge a defendant but rather must select the venue that has a strong connection to a case.

The specific charges Trump faces are under seal and won’t be made public until he is formally arraigned, but reports earlier this month that a grand jury had been convened in Florida signaled federal prosecutors were looking to try any case there. He is expected to surrender in Miami next Tuesday, according to multiple news outlets.

A pool of jurors from Washington would be more likely to include left-leaning members, while South Florida is more likely to have a pool that includes more Republicans, although lawyers will be able to conduct a screening to try to assemble an impartial group.

Law Enforcement Unaware Of Indictment

The U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Marshals Service were not given a heads-up that Trump would be indicted, CNN reported, citing law enforcement officials.

The law enforcement officials said they learned of the news when the twice-impeached, and now twice-indicted, former president posted the news online and now have to prepare for his Miami court appearance next week.

Trump's Son: 'Banana Republic'

Donald Trump Jr. took to Twitter to attack the DOJ over the indictment, calling it "revenge from the Deep State" and proof that "we're living in a 3rd world Banana Republic."

And while Biden has stayed silent on the special counsel's probes, Trump Jr. claimed the investigations are intended to prevent his father from winning reelection in 2024.

Key Things To Know

  • A federal grand jury has indicted Trump on criminal charges for removing top-secret documents from the White House, bringing them to his Mar-a-Lago social club in South Florida and refusing to return them.
  • On his Truth Social site, Trump declared: “I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!” and referred to the investigation as “the Boxes Hoax.”
  • This marks the second time Trump has been indicted. He was arrested and charged with 34 felony counts in April stemming from a hush money payment to the porn star Stormy Daniels in the days before the 2016 election.

Could Trump Run From Behind Bars? Yes.

The indictment raises the very real possibility that Trump could face prison time and the extreme -- but legally possible -- notion that the former president could run for office while behind bars.

A clear criminal record isn’t a requirement to run for president, only that a candidate be at least 35 years old and be a natural-born citizen who has lived in the U.S. for at least 14 years.

More than 100 years ago, socialist Eugene Debs ran from prison and received almost a million votes. Were Trump to actually be jailed and win reelection, the outcome would be unprecedented. But legal scholars generally think his obligations as president would outweigh a criminal conviction and put any sentence on hold.

Politico has more.

Trump’s Second Indictment

This is Trump’s second indictment in a little over two months. In late March, a Manhattan grand jury indicted the former president over his role in a $130,000 hush money payment made shortly before the 2016 election to porn star Stormy Daniels, who said she'd had an affair with Trump in the mid-2000s. He was arrested and charged days later.
Key Moment

Trump Faces Charges Of Obstruction And False Statements: Report

Trump is reportedly facing charges of conspiracy to obstruct, willful retention of documents and making false statements, The New York Times reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The indictment reportedly charges Trump on seven counts.

As the Times pointed out, conspiracy charges suggest that at least one other person is involved in an alleged attempt to mislead federal investigators.

Some Background On The Special Counsel Probe

Trump was indicted as part of an investigation by special counsel Jack Smith, whom U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed in November to take over two existing Justice Department probes concerning the former president. The investigation has focused on both Trump’s possession of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago residence as well as his refusal to return the records when asked.

Smith is simultaneously overseeing a DOJ investigation into Trump’s role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Trump Declares His Innocence

Trump released a video on his Truth Social site Thursday evening describing the indictment as "the boxes hoax."

"I'm an innocent man," he said. "I'm an innocent person."

Don't Expect A Biden Comment

The White House won't comment on the indictment, NBC News reports.

More details on Trump's indictment

HuffPost's S.V. Daté has more details on Trump's historic indictment. As Daté explains, the case stems from Trump removing classified documents from the White House and bringing them to his residence at the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.

More from Daté: "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 in a number of storage boxes intermingled with his personal papers."

Read more here.

Trump Says He's Been Indicted

Former President Donald Trump said on his Truth Social site on Thursday evening that he's been indicted in an investigation of his handling of classified documents.

Read more here.

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