According to his own statement, charges were brought against him. A special investigator has been investigating the case for months.
According to media reports, ex-US President Donald Trump has been accused of handling secret service documents. “The corrupt Biden administration has informed my lawyers that I have been charged, apparently with the false secret documents affair,” Trump said on the online platform “Truth Social”.
A confirmation from the US Department of Justice was initially not available. The indictment has not yet been published. However, several US media reports, with reference to well-informed circles, seven counts of charges, including illegal storage of classified government documents, obstruction of justice and conspiracy. The place of court is therefore not Washington, D.C., but Miami in the state of Florida, where Trump had kept the documents in his Mar-a-Lago estate.
A Trump attorney confirmed on CNN television that the ex-president must appear next Tuesday at 3 p.m. local time for the first court hearing in Miami.
Subpoena in court in Miami
Trump, who plans to run again in the 2024 presidential election, said he was summoned by a court in Miami on Tuesday. “I never thought it possible that something like this could happen to a former President of the United States,” he wrote. “I’m an innocent man. I haven’t done anything wrong,” said the ex-president, who describes the charges as politically motivated.
Several US media had previously unanimously reported that prosecutors from special counsel Jack Smith’s team had informed Trump’s lawyers that the ex-president was a personal target of their investigation.
The US Department of Justice appointed the independent special counsel in November to outsource the politically sensitive investigation into Trump. On the one hand, Smith takes care of the investigations in connection with secret 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.
FBI found documents in raid
The US federal police FBI seized around 11,000 documents, including many with classification levels, during a raid on Trump’s private home in Mar-a-Lago in the US state of Florida last August. Trump took the documents from the White House to Mar-a-Lago at the end of his term in January 2021.
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.
Secret government documents from his time as Vice President under Barack Obama were also found on US President Joe Biden in premises where they should not have been kept. 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.
US Republicans condemn charges
Leading US Republicans have sharply criticized the charges against Trump. “Today is indeed a dark day for the United States of America,” Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy tweeted. It is “outrageous” that a president – meaning Joe Biden – impeach the “leading candidate” who is running against him. “I and every American who believes in the rule of law stand with President Trump,” McCarthy said.
Republican Congressman Jim Jordan spoke of a “sad day for America”. “God bless President Trump,” added the right-wing politician and longtime Trump confidante.
Hoover Institute historian Victor Hanson told Fox News about Trump’s handling of government documents: “Trump was president and had the right to declassify documents. Biden couldn’t do that as vice president. Trump had fewer than his documents Two years with him. Biden knew he had the documents for six years and no one bothered. Mar-a-Lago was safer than Joe Biden’s garage.”
Democrats welcome impeachment
Politicians from President Biden’s Democratic Party welcomed the charges against him. Rep. Adam Schiff said the indictment was “further confirmation of the rule of law.” “For four years he acted as if he were above the law,” Schiff said, referring to Trump. “But he should be treated like any other lawbreaker. Today he was.”
Democratic MP Ted Lieu stressed that the indictment “shows that nobody is above the law”. Trump, like everyone else, is presumed innocent.
Already several investigations against Trump
Trump is the first ex-president in US history to be indicted: In March, prosecutors in Manhattan indicted him in connection with paying hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election.
In the state of Georgia, the public prosecutor’s office is also investigating Trump for possible election manipulation. In another case, Trump has already been prosecuted – at least indirectly. His real estate group was fined in New York for tax fraud, among other things. The ex-president was not personally accused.