Former President Donald Trump revealed Thursday on social media that he has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges related to the classified documents probe at his Florida residence.
Trump, who is the frontrunner in the Republican 2024 presidential primary, is facing 37 felony counts on seven charges, and is set to be arrested when he appears in the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, at 3 p.m.
This marks the first time a former president has been indicted on federal charges, and the second time Trump has been criminally charged this year, as the Manhattan district attorney charged Trump on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in April of this year.
The federal indictment is being brought against Trump by Special Counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed to the classified documents investigation by Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland in November of last year.
Trump took to social media Thursday night to deny any wrongdoing.
“The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax,” Trump said.
“I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!” he said on Truth Social. “This is indeed a DARK DAY for the United States of America. We are a Country in serious and rapid Decline, but together we will Make America Great Again!”
Trump also released a video statement regarding his indictment:
Democratic lawmakers applauded the move by Biden’s Justice Department.
“Donald Trump is now facing federal charges. He will try to weaponize this indictment for political gain. Because winning the presidency may be his only hope of avoiding jail,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said, in a tweet Thursday.
“He must be held accountable. There’s one standard for the rule of law. Anything else is not democracy,” Schiff said.
Republican presidential primary challenger Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida called the move “weaponization of federal law enforcement” that represents “a mortal threat to a free society” in a tweet Thursday.
Gov. DeSantis also called out the Justice Department for having a double standard in how zealously they have pursued Trump, but have been “passive” regarding Hillary Clinton and Hunter Biden.
The news of Trump’s second criminal indictment came the very same day that Fox News Digital reported that they had been briefed on the contents of an FBI-generated FD-1023 form that alleges President Biden was paid $5 million by an executive of the Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings.
Donald Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. tweeted Thursday night speculating whether the news of Trump’s indictment and of the whistleblower’s allegations against Biden breaking on the same day was a coincidence.
President Biden’s son Hunter Biden sat on the board on Burisma Holdings from 2014 to 2019.
The FD-1023 form documents a June 30, 2020 interview with a confidential human source who told the FBI about the alleged criminal bribery scheme involving then-Vice President Biden.
“I never thought we’d see the day when the U.S. President deputizes the DOJ to arrest his lead rival in the middle of an election,” said another GOP primary challenger, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, in a tweet Thursday.
“This is an affront to every citizen: we cannot devolve into a banana republic where the party in power uses police force to arrest its political opponents,” Ramaswamy said.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) also came to Trump’s defense on Twitter, saying it was “a dark day for the United States of America.”
“It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him. Joe Biden kept classified documents for decades,” McCarthy said.
Trump’s attorney Jim Trusty said in a CNN interview Thursday night that Trump is facing charges under the Espionage Act, as well as charges of obstruction of justice, destruction or falsification of records, conspiracy and false statements.
The full federal indictment against Trump and his longtime aide Waltine Nauta, who assisted Trump in storing and moving the boxes containing classified documents, was unsealed Friday afternoon:
Among the allegations in the indictment is that Trump showed and described a classified Department of Defense “plan of attack” to two members of his staff in July 2021 at the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey.
Trump allegedly told the staff members that the plan was “highly confidential” and “secret,” and that “as president I could have declassified it,” and “Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.”
The former president also allegedly showed a representative of his political action committee a classified map of a military operation, telling the representative that he should not be showing it to him and that he should not get too close.
“Today an indictment was unsealed charging Donald J. Trump with felony violations of our national security laws as well as participating in a conspiracy to obstruct justice,” Special Counsel Jack Smith said in a press briefing Friday afternoon.
Smith urged the public to read the indictment in full to “understand the scope and the gravity of the crimes charged.”
“We have one set of laws in this country, and they apply to everyone,” Smith said. “Applying those laws, collecting facts, that’s what determines the outcome of an investigation. Nothing more, nothing less.”
The 37 charges against Trump include:
- 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information in violation of the Espionage Act
- Conspiracy to obstruct justice
- Withholding a document or record
- Corruptly concealing a document or record
- Concealing a document in a federal investigation
- Scheme to conceal
- False statements and representations
The obstruction of justice charge carries the largest maximum prison sentence of the seven.
If convicted, the former commander-in-chief could face up to 20 years in prison for that charge alone.