Former U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday evening that his lawyers were informed by federal prosecutors that he is being indicted in the classified documents probe. This is the first time a former American president has faced federal criminal charges.
Trump wrote on Truth Social that he has "been summoned to appear at the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, at 3 PM."
Media reports indicated that there are seven charges against the 45th president which involve the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice and illegal retention of classified material. There is at least one conspiracy count, according to CNN.
"The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax, even though Joe Biden has 1850 Boxes at the University of Delaware, additional Boxes in Chinatown, D.C., with even more Boxes at the University of Pennsylvania, and documents strewn all over his garage floor where he parks his Corvette, and which is "secured" by only a garage door that is paper thin, and open much of the time," Trump said on his social media platform.
The former president insisted that he is an “innocent man” and called the indictment “election interference and a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time.”
“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!” he added.
Special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the investigation into Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents, met with a federal grand jury in Miami on Wednesday. Smith was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland in November, following the unprecedented FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago 20-acre estate in August. FBI agents seized hundreds of classified documents inside the former president’s private club and residence, more than a year after he left the White House.
One day prior to the indictment, CBS News reported that Trump’s legal team had prepared a defense plan to allege that prosecutors committed misconduct in their investigation, should charges be pressed.
Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence, who is running against him in the 2024 presidential election said on Thursday that his potential indictment would be "extremely divisive" for the nation and send a “terrible message to the wider world.”
Pence was quoted on Wednesday by NBC News as saying that “President Trump should end his campaign if he's indicted in federal court.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is trailing in second place behind Trump in polls, posted on Twitter: “The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society. We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation. Why so zealous in pursuing Trump yet so passive about Hillary or Hunter?”
DeSantis vowed that if elected, “The DeSantis administration will bring accountability to the DOJ, excise political bias and end weaponization once and for all.”
Longshot Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy wrote on Twitter: “We can’t have two tiers of justice: one for Trump, another for Biden. One for Assange, another for Manning. One for BLM/Antifa, another for peaceful protesters on Jan 6. 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.”
“It’s hypocritical for the DOJ to selectively prosecute Trump but not Biden. There are also serious legal questions about the President’s power to declassify documents and the potential illegality of the over-classification of federal documents in the first place. That’s for the courts to decide, but we the people decide who governs this nation,” Ramaswamy continued. “It would be much easier for me to win this election if Trump weren’t in the race, but I stand for principles over politics. I commit to pardon Trump promptly on January 20, 2025 and to restore the rule of law in our country.”
Trump was indicted earlier this year in a separate case on state charges in New York. In April, he pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.