Trump’s second indictment appears more serious than the first, but his defenders say it’s just further proof the political establishment has no other way to keep him out of the Oval Office.
Former US President Donald J. Trump is facing up to 20 years in prison after US prosecutors charged the former commander-in-chief with 37 counts in relation to allegations that he handled classified documents inappropriately.
The indictment makes Trump the first former president in US history to face criminal charges.
Trump faces 37 charges including seven felony counts, five of which relate to allegations that he mishandled classified information and supposedly showed classified documents to people without the necessary security clearance.
The charges include 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information, as well as a single count each of 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, and false statements and representations.
Also included in the indictment was Trump aide Walt Nauta. Both men are expected to appear at a federal courthouse in Miami, Florida, at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, a spokesperson for special counsel Jack Smith said.
Charges leveled against the pair include:
Willful Retention of National Defense Information
Charges 1 through 31 refer to allegations Trump intentionally retained national defense documents and failed to hand them over to investigators.
Prosecutors insist the documents included military information and contained details of the US nuclear arsenal as well as White House intelligence briefings — all of which were supposedly labeled either “secret” or “top secret.”
The charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a fine of $250,000 each.
Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice
The 32nd charge was filed against both Trump and Nauta.
Prosecutors claim Trump tried to hold onto classified documents and keep the federal grand jury from finding out.
The charge comes with a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a possible $250,000 fine.
Withholding a Document or Record Related to National Defense
The 33rd charge pertains to the pair of Trump and Nauta, and relates to allegations they withheld information related to national defense.
It carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and could mean a $250,000 fine.
Corruptly Concealing a Document or Record Related to National Defense
The 34th charge relates to claims that Trump and Nauta corruptly concealed a document or record related to national defense.
The charge stipulates a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Concealing a Document in a Federal Investigation
The 35th charge is also directed at both Trump and Nauta, and relates to claims they concealed a document in a federal investigation.
It carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a fine of $250,000.
Scheming to Conceal Relevant Information or Evidence from Law Enforcement
The 36th charge involves prosecutors’ claims that Trump and Nauta plotted to conceal relevant information or evidence from law enforcement.
The charge could mean a five-year prison sentence and $250,000 in fines.
Making False Statement or Representations to Law Enforcement
The final charge relates to claims that Trump made false statements or representations to law enforcement.
If convicted, he could be hit with a maximum prison sentence of five years and a $250,000 fine.
Despite numerous reports of former presidents keeping similar documents after their time in office, prosecutors now insist Trump jeopardized America’s national security by holding onto classified records after exiting the Oval Office in 2020.
In a post on Truth Social on Friday, Trump maintained there’s no legal prohibition against former presidents holding onto “personal records” allegedly stored at his Florida residence Mar-a-Lago. “There’s nothing wrong with that,” he said.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald said the case shows America’s ruling class is “petrified that Trump will run and win again.”
The most recent indictment against the former president “is another case of the political establishment very scared that Donald Trump is going to run again in 2024 and win — all the polls right now show that he would — and because they fear his return to the White House and believe they may not have a chance to defeat him politically,” Greenwald said in his most recent broadcast on Rumble, adding: “they thought they did in 2016 and he won.”