Former President Donald Trump has been indicted for mishandling of classified documents and summoned to appear before a federal judge in Miami, he announced on Thursday.
He has been charged with seven counts – and is now the first former president to face federal charges.
A source told DailyMail.com that Trump has been indicted on charges of possession of the classified documents and obstruction, and that all seven counts relate to those two areas. The New York Time reported that charges also relate to Trump making false statements.
It is the second set of charges leveled at Trump this year, plunging the country into fresh legal and political uncertainty as he campaigns to return to office.
Prosecutors have investigated the transfer of presidential files to his Mar-a-Lago Florida estate since last year.
The probe exploded into the headlines in August when the FBI searched Trump’s beachside home, recovering 11,000 documents, including about 100 that were marked as classified.
For his part, Trump has repeatedly insisted he did nothing wrong and that he is the victim of a federal witch hunt.
At times the controversy has even boosted his standing in the polls and allowed him to raise money from supporters who see a ‘deep state’ plot to take him out of the 2024 race.
‘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 wrote on Truth Social Thursday night.
‘I have been summoned to appear at the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, at 3 PM. I never thought it possible that such a thing could happen to a former President of the United States, who received far more votes than any sitting President in the History of our Country, and is currently leading, by far, all Candidates, both Democrat and Republican, in Polls of the 2024 Presidential Election. I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!’
Donald Trump on Thursday announced that he had been indicted for mishandling classified documents
Security is already being increased around the courthouse in Miami ahead of his appearance before a judge, scheduled for 3pm on Tuesday.
The investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents is being overseen by a special counsel, Jack Smith, who was appointed by the Attorney General Merrick Garland in November.
On Monday, Trump’s attorneys met with Smith and his team in Washington, D.C.
On Wednesday, it was confirmed that Trump was an official target of the investigation.
Trump himself is currently in Bedminster, New Jersey, huddled with his advisors.
Earlier this week, Trump took to his social media platform to condemn reports of looming charges.
‘Wow, this is turning out to be the greatest and most vicious instance of election interference in the history of our country,’ he wrote on Truth Social.
He had already earned the status of being the first former president to face criminal charges. Those relate to a $130,000 hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
In April, he appeared in Manhattan court where he was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records as part of an alleged plot to hide damaging information from voters before the 2016 election.
Trump pleaded not guilty.
Legal analysts believe the documents case could be more legally difficult for the former president.
During the past year, a grand jury has heard testimony from Mar-a-Lago employees and former administration officials who worked in Trump’s post-presidential office.
One of the final witnesses was Mark Meadows, Trump’s last White House chief of staff.
And Taylor Budowich, who served as a spokesman for Trump after his presidency and runs a pro-Trump political action committee, confirmed that he had given evidence too.
‘Today, in what can only be described as a bogus and deeply troubling effort to use the power of government to “get” Trump, I fulfilled a legal obligation to testify in front a federal grand jury and I answered every question honestly,’ he wrote on Twitter.
Smith’s team has not commented on the charges, which remain under seal.
If he is charged and convicted of obstruction of justice, or of sharing classified information, then he faces far more significant penalties than those potentially at stake in his Manhattan case.
Under the Presidential Records Act, all documents from a presidential administration are the federal government’s property and go to the National Archives (NARA) upon the end of a presidency.
Trump has said he believed they were his property.
He told a CNN town hall last month that he was entitled to take the documents, and claimed that other presidents took records with them when they left the White House – including Barack Obama, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.
‘The Presidential Records Act is not criminal,’ he said.
‘I took the documents. I’m allowed to. You know who else took them? Obama took them, Nixon took them. Reagan took them.’
Trump’s claim was false.
NARA was granted custody of the presidential records of former presidents, beginning with Ronald Reagan, as soon as these presidents left office, as required by the Presidential Records Act.
The Justice Department has been investigating potential mishandling of classified material by Trump for about a year.
A grand jury has been hearing testimony from dozens of witnesses in recent months at the federal courthouse in downtown Washington.
Trump attorneys Lindsey Halligan, from left, John Rowley and James Trusty exit the Department of Justice on Monday after meeting with federal prosecutors
Jack Smith was appointed in November as special counsel to investigate Trump’s handling of classified information
Documents found at Mar-a-Lago in an August raid are pictured on display
A Mar-a-Lago employee drained the resort’s swimming pool and flooded a room where computer servers containing surveillance video logs were kept
Donald Trump has denied any wrongdoing but took to his Truth Social platform to post a message that seemed to indicate his lawyers had discussed with him the possibility he might be indicted
News of the indictment came days after it emerged that a storage room at Mar-a-Lago where surveillance camera footage was flooded.
The flooding happened as a swimming pool was being drained, it was reported on Monday.
Prosecutors wanted the footage to track how White House records were moved around Trump’s Palm Beach residence.
It’s unclear if the room was intentionally flooded or if it was a mistake.
Prosecutors are investigating whether there was any attempt by Trump or his associates to obstruct the Justice Department’s investigation after Trump received a subpoena in May 2022 for classified documents.
Trump continues to deny any wrongdoing and claims to be the victim of a politically-charged investigation led by prosecutors who don’t want to see him make another run for president.
Prosecutors have focused on Trump, his body man Walt Nauta and a maintenance worker who helped Nauta move boxes of classified documents ahead of federal agents searching the property last summer in their investigation.
The maintenance worker is the person who drained the pool that led to the flooding of the IT room where the surveillance footage was held, CNN reported.
Smith is also investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to undo the results of the 2020 presidential election – the subject of a similar, ongoing inquiry by prosecutors in Atlanta.
New York prosecutors charged Trump earlier this year with falsifying business records.