Former President Donald Trump has been federally indicted by special counsel Jack Smith in relation to his alleged handling of classified documents. Trump pre-empted the unsealing of court documents on this case today when he announced the information through his social media platform, Truth Social, on Thursday, condemning the Biden Administration for what he called the “Boxes Hoax”.
Trump further highlighted a similar investigation into President Biden’s handling of classified materials. The former president is due to appear at the federal courthouse in Miami at 3 p.m. on June 13, a fact he relayed in disbelief, considering his popularity in past elections and current polls for the 2024 presidential race, according to a report from The Epoch Times.
On Friday, Trump sent a message through Truth Social regarding the case against him:
His legal representative, Jim Trusty, told CNN recently that the indictment on an alleged violation of the Espionage Act is “ludicrous”. Additional charges include intentional retention of classified documents, obstruction, false statements, and conspiracy.
After news started spreading about details of the Trump indictment on Friday, Schuylkill County’s Congressman US Rep. Dan Meuser reacted. He said, “From the very onset of his Presidential campaign, the Justice Dept. has unfairly targeted Donald Trump. And time and time again we have seen allegations amount to nothing more than nonsense claims proven to be false – beginning with the Russian Collusion Hoax, which a Special Counsel has now concluded was politically motivated.”
Trump’s lawyers and the Department of Justice (DOJ) met for two hours on June 5, where they allegedly aimed to discuss the attorneys’ concerns about the management of the case.
The Trump campaign has called for the charges to be dismissed, denouncing them as unprecedented and an unconstitutional abuse of power. In a lengthy statement, they outlined the reasons for their plea, expressing concerns about Biden’s record and behavior, and critiqued Smith’s past conduct. They condemned the Department of Justice for becoming highly politicized, and for setting a dangerous precedent through its prosecution of the leading candidate of the current administration’s political opposition.
On Friday, Trump went after the special prosecutor who is bringing the charges against him, calling him a “deranged lunatic” who goes “after Evangelicals and Great Americans of Faith.”
Reaction to the indictment has been divided along party lines. Republican leaders voiced outrage over the indictment, asserting a two-tiered justice system currently exists in America. Democrats, however, argued that the indictment proves the effectiveness of the American justice system.
Meuser added, “The double standard the justice system has applied to President Trump is evident, and rogue prosecutors like Alvin Bragg and others continue to come after him to get their own names in the paper.
“Joe Biden kept classified documents for decades, and the enormous evidence of foreign payoffs is mounting — yet he goes uncharged. Why? Because Joe Biden has a D next to his name and Donald Trump has an R. This is the United States — not a third-world country. We cannot use the power of the federal government to arrest political opponents, which is what Biden has done in seemingly weaponizing the DOJ against his leading competitor for the presidency,” Meuser said.
This is not Trump’s first indictment. He was charged on March 30 over state business records in New York, making him the first ex-U.S. president to face a felony indictment. He pleaded not guilty to all 34 charges related to an attorney’s hush-money payment to an adult film actor. Despite these charges, Trump and his supporters continue to argue that he is a victim of political persecution.
Other investigations into Trump’s activities are also ongoing, including a probe into his contestation of the 2020 election results. Special counsel Robert Hur is similarly investigating Biden’s handling of records found at multiple locations, which Trump has contrasted to his own treatment. Federal law can impose a prison sentence of up to 10 years for unauthorized possession of documents that could harm the U.S., and other laws forbid concealing, mutilating, falsifying, or destroying certain records, with some sections of the law carrying a potential 20-year prison term.
Trump’s former lawyer, Timothy Parlatore, argued that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) deviated from the standard procedure with Trump, leading to a dispute. The disagreement escalated to the FBI’s controversial raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence on Aug. 8, 2022, while Trump was in New York.
Republicans and conservative commentators have decried these charges as political weaponization, expressing concern about a perceived uneven application of the law. Some Democrats, however, have called for Trump to abandon his bid to return to the White House in light of the second indictment. Trump, despite the charges, maintains his innocence and intends to continue fighting for his case.
Meuser said in his statement Friday, “It is a sad day in America, and we cannot allow tyranny like this to reign. I stand with President Trump against this blatant abuse of power. Such an injustice should never be perpetrated in the United States.”