Donald Trump has been federally indicted and charged by the Justice Department in the federal documents case. The seven-count indictment includes charges of willful retention of national defense secrets, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy. Willful retention is prosecuted under the Espionage Act. Donald Trump responded on Truth Social by claiming he is “AN INNOCENT MAN!” He also tried to suggest that Biden is getting away with the same thing he’s been accused of.
The charges themselves separate the cases. Biden had a number of classified documents in various places, all of which he returned as soon as he was made aware. Trump, on the other hand, willfully retained documents after he was told to return them. He obstructed justice by hiding or otherwise preventing federal prosecutors from finding documents, and the conspiracy charge suggests he sought the aid of others to hide and retain those documents.
If convicted, Trump could face years in prison.
Mark Levin: “President Trump is 76 years old. If the DOJ gets its way, he will die in federal prison.” pic.twitter.com/kEuECqmJ02— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) June 9, 2023
What may have pushed this investigation into overdrive and prompted the indictment was an audio recording — heard by CNN — where Trump admits that he kept records that he did not declassify. “As president, I could have declassified, but now I can’t,” Trump says, according to the transcript. On the recording, he can also be heard showing the classified documents — which pertained to military plans to invade Iran — to others and saying, “Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this. This was done by the military and given to me.”
He essentially confessed to all of the elements of the crime and blew up his own defense.
Trump, who has been indicted for another crime in New York, still faces several other potential indictments related to attempts to overturn the 2020 election, as well as the January 6th riot. He can still run for President while under indictment or even from prison (socialist Eugene V. Debs did it in the early 20th century and gained 1 million votes). In fact, if Trump wins from prison, I think he could use his Presidential powers to pardon himself, at least for federal crimes. The eagerness with which some of his political opponents in the GOP have attacked Trump of late — including Chris Christie and his Vice President, Mike Pence — suggests that they believe these indictments will provide an opening in the Republican primary.
Trump will appear in court in Miami on Tuesday.