The latest news on Donald Trump's indictment on federal charges
- Former President Donald Trump has been indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with his alleged mishandling of more than 100 classified documents.
- The indictment was made public just before 2 p.m. ET. Trump faces 37 counts on seven charges, including false statements, conspiracy to obstruct and willful retention of national defense information.
- Trump's personal aide Walt Nauta was also indicted on six counts, including conspiracy to obstruct and false statements. Nauta's lawyer declined to comment.
- Special counsel Jack Smith urged the public to read the indictment to "understand the scope and the gravity of the crimes charged."
- The investigation began last year when the National Archives alerted the FBI that government documents Trump had returned after having been out of office for about a year included 184 that were marked classified. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
- Trump and his allies have tried to make the indictment about President Joe Biden, but Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland have sought to insulate themselves from the case.
- Trump is not the only politician to have problems with classified documents. Part of his argument that he is being treated unfairly is that Biden has not also been indicted. But the way Trump and Biden handled their classified documents is very different. Find out more here.
Live coverage of former President Donald Trump’s indictment continues here.
Here are 11 key takeaways from the Trump indictment
Hiding documents in a shower. Showing national security secrets to a political aide and an author. And telling lawyers to simply not cooperate with a grand jury subpoena.
These are some of the allegations against Donald Trump in the bombshell federal indictment unsealed Friday, related to the more than 100 classified documents federal agents retrieved from the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida in August.
GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski calls Trump charges 'quite serious'
Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a Republican who's butted heads with Trump in the past, said today that the charges against him “are quite serious and cannot be casually dismissed."
"Mishandling classified documents is a federal crime because it can expose national secrets, as well as the sources and methods they were obtained through. The unlawful retention and obstruction of justice related to classified documents are also criminal matters," the senator said in a statement.
"Anyone found guilty — whether an analyst, a former president, or another elected or appointed official — should face the same set of consequences,” she added.
With her statement, Murkowski joined Mitt Romney of Utah as one of the few Senate Republicans to emphasize the seriousness of the charges facing the former president.
In 2021, Murkowski and Romney were among the seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump at his second impeachment trial. Murkowski later defeated Trump's hand-picked challenger for her Senate seat in 2022.
Nebraska Republican criticizes Trump post-indictment
Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska tonight became one of the few congressional Republicans to criticize Trump following his indictment, saying he was "shocked" by the handling of government documents.
“As a retired brigadier general who worked with classified materials my entire career, I am shocked at the alleged callousness with which the documents were handled,” Bacon said in a statement. “The alleged obstruction to the requests of the National Archives and FBI, if true, is inexcusable.”
"I’m the same person who criticized Hilary Clinton for knowingly and willfully storing thousands of classified emails on her unclassified computer, and thought the DOJ failed in holding her accountable. I believe in using the same standards and ask the DOJ to do the same. No one is above the law, and we demand due process and expect equality under the law.”
Bacon is one of 18 House Republicans representing a district Biden would have carried in 2020 had new congressional maps been in place at that time.
Chris Christie says 'facts are devastating' in Trump indictment
GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie tonight called the Trump indictment "very evidence-filled" and said "the facts are devastating."
"It is bad for anyone in this country," but especially for a former president who's running for office, the former New Jersey governor told CNN in an interview. "Is this the type of conduct we want from someone who wants to be president of the United States?"
He also said Trump's problems were "self-inflicted" and could have been avoided entirely had he just complied with the Justice Department's subpoena for the return of the documents. Christie noted that the indictment does not include any charges relating to the classified documents Trump voluntarily turned over to the government in January and June 2022.
Christie, a former federal prosecutor, had declined to comment on the case Thursday night before the indictment was unsealed. “Let’s see what the facts are when any possible indictment is released,” Christie tweeted at the time.
Trump was notified May 19 that he's a target in the docs probe
A newly unsealed court document revealed that Trump was informed on May 19 that he was a target of special counsel Jack Smith's classified documents investigation.
The date was included in Smith's motion Thursday to seal the indictment. That motion, along with the indictment, was unsealed today.
The motion also said that Trump aide Walt Nauta was notified on May 24 that he, too, was a target in the probe.
People who are informed of their status as targets in federal probes are usually told late in the investigative process and are often, but not always, indicted.
Judge assigned to docs case also overseeing civil suit against Trump
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon — the Florida judge initially assigned to oversee Trump’s federal indictment — is overseeing another active court case involving Trump: a civil lawsuit brought by a Texas lawyer who seeks to bar the former president from running for the White House again.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Miami by John Anthony Castro, who is registered as a Republican candidate for president, cites the 14th Amendment as the basis to declare Trump “ineligible to hold public office for having given aid or comfort to the insurrectionists that attacked our United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.”
Cannon, a Trump appointee, has presided over the civil case since it was filed in January, court records show. As of today, she had yet to rule on the case’s latest filing — a May 22 motion by Castro that seeks an expedited ruling on efforts by Trump’s lawyers to dismiss the lawsuit.
Cannon has also had previous involvement with the classified documents probe: She made the controversial appointment of a special master to review materials seized by federal agents from Mar-a-Lago last summer. Her assignment to oversee the Mar-a-Lago documents trial was chosen randomly, a court official told NBC News.
Trump was underperforming in Georgia pre-indictment, Kemp-backed PAC poll shows
Trump still plans to make his way to Georgia this weekend for the state Republican convention following his indictment on federal charges. And Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s PAC is welcoming him with a poll that shows a generic Republican not named Trump fares much better in a 2024 general election race.
It is significant that a group aligned with Kemp would circulate the poll, which was conducted prior to the indictment, as the former president comes to Georgia. Trump and Kemp have been at odds since the governor resisted Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. Trump then worked to defeat Kemp in his 2022 primary, which the governor easily won.
McCarthy to Garland: Voters 'elected us to conduct oversight of you'
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., today backed up Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan’s request for additional information from Attorney General Merrick Garland regarding the FBI's Mar-a-Lago search in August.
“Merrick Garland: the American people elected us to conduct oversight of you,” McCarthy tweeted. “We will fulfill that obligation.”
Reality Winner says she's 'blown away' by details in Trump indictment
Reality Winner, the former intelligence contractor imprisoned for leaking a top secret report on Russian hacking, said today that she was “blown away” by the level of detail in the unsealed indictment against Trump.
Winner was prosecuted and convicted under the Trump administration for defying the Espionage Act by leaking classified information. Now Trump faces 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information — also in violation of the Espionage Act — as well as other counts related to making false statements and conspiring to obstruct justice.
“This is probably one of the most egregious and cut-and-dry cases,” Winner, 31, said in a phone interview with NBC News of the allegations that Trump held onto sensitive government documents and attempted to mislead investigators.
'There is a strong technical case here,' former Trump official says of indictment
Ken Cuccinelli, a former attorney general in Virginia who served as deputy secretary of Homeland Security under Trump, called the classified docs indictment much stronger than the case against the former president in New York.
"If what reads out in the indictment is accurate ... there is a strong technical case here against the president," Cuccinelli said on "Meet the Press Now," later adding: “He shouldn’t have had and no president should have any classified documents, even after they leave the White House."
Cuccinelli launched a PAC earlier this year that encouraged Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to enter the presidential race and challenge Trump in 2024 for the GOP nomination. He said voters he's talked to are tired of the drama and he believes DeSantis will provide "a stark contrast."
"You’ve heard of Trump derangement syndrome, there’s also Trump exhaustion syndrome — and that’s among many of us who have or had supported him," Cuccinelli said.
Biden classified docs vs. Trump classified docs: What’s the difference?
The discovery of classified documents among Biden’s vice presidential papers in a Washington office has led to yowls by some Republicans who say there is an unfair double standard being applied to Trump’s stash of classified documents — but the circumstances of the finds are very different.
Jim Jordan sends new letter to DOJ requesting info on Mar-a-Lago search
House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland today renewing his request for additional information on the FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home last year.
Jordan, a staunch Trump ally, set a June 16 deadline for the information, including all “documents and communications referring or relating to meetings between FBI and Justice Department officials prior to the execution of the search warrant on President Trump’s private residence.”
Schumer and Jeffries: 'No one is above the law'
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, the two top Democrats in Congress, released a joint statement this evening.
“No one is above the law — including Donald Trump," they wrote. "This indictment must now play out through the legal process, without any outside political or ideological interference. We encourage Mr. Trump’s supporters and critics alike to let this case proceed peacefully in court.”
See the photos included in the Trump indictment
The indictment against Trump included multiple photos of places where boxes of documents were kept.
Comparing Trump and Clinton's handling of classified information
Donald Trump said Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information “disqualifies her from the presidency” during their 2016 campaign, when his supporters would frequently chant “lock her up!” at his rallies.
Trump has now been charged with mishandling classified information — and apparently for more serious alleged violations than Clinton ever faced, since federal investigators ultimately decided that while she had been “extremely careless” in her handling of classified information, it did not rise to the level of criminality or warrant charges.
The FBI investigated Clinton for months over her use of a private email account as secretary of state under President Barack Obama, with a focus on whether she mishandled classified information by sending it over an unsecured private server.
“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case [against Clinton],” former FBI Director James Comey said in a press conference when he closed the Clinton probe in July, 2016.
“In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts,” Comey continued. “All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.”
Trump’s case differs from Clinton’s because it may involve several of the issues Comey mentioned, such as Trump’s intentions, the quantity of the information he allegedly took and his potential efforts to obstruct justice.
Ultimately, Trump now faces 37 federal counts while Clinton faced none — though it may have cost her the election against Trump.
McCarthy: 'This is going to disrupt this nation'
Speaker McCarthy reacted to the Trump indictment in a taped interview with Fox News. McCarthy continued to defend the former president, telling Fox: “You’ve got a sitting president right now in the exact same situation. You have a former first lady, senator, secretary of state that had the same situation, that nothing was done to her.”
“This is going to disrupt this nation because it goes to the core of equal justice for all, which is not being seen today. And we’re not going to stand for it.” McCarthy said.
Trump golfed with a Florida congressman today
Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., posted on Twitter that he played a round with the former president on Friday at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club following news of his indictment.
Gimenez had already endorsed Trump.
Trump lawyer declines to comment on indictment
Trump lawyer Todd Blanche declined to comment now that the indictment has been unsealed.
Secret Service won't seek 'special accommodations' for Trump in Miami
The U.S. Secret Service, which is preparing for Trump's appearance in federal court on Tuesday, said in a statement today that it will not seek "any special accommodations" for the former president's security next week in Miami.
"As with any site visited by a protectee, the Secret Service is in constant coordination with the necessary entities to ensure protective requirements are met," said Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesperson for the Secret Service.
"We have the utmost confidence in the professionalism and commitment to security shared by our law enforcement partners in Florida."
'I don't know': Nauta charged with false statements to the FBI
Nauta faces a count of making false statements and representations, which stem from a voluntary interview he gave to the FBI on May 26, 2022.
During the interview, Nauta told the FBI he was not aware of any boxes being brought to Trump's home.
The FBI asked Nauta if he had any information about where and how the documents were kept, and if they were locked, according to the indictment. "Something that makes the intelligence community feel better about these things, you know," the FBI interviewer said to Nauta.
The indictment says Nauta responded: "I wish, I wish I could tell you. I don't know. I don't — I honestly just don't know."
The indictment alleges Nauta had moved the boxes to various locations at The Mar-a-Lago Club, including a specific time with an unnamed Trump employee (referred to as "Trump Employee 2").
The conspiracy charge, in detail
The newly unsealed indictment alleges that Trump and his personal aide Walt Nauta conspired to obstruct justice by keeping "classified documents [Trump] had taken with him from the White House and to hide and conceal them from a federal grand jury."
The two men, the indictment states, "did knowingly combine, conspire, confederate and agree with each other" to "corruptly persuade" another person to withhold the documents and "corruptly conceal" the documents from an official proceeding.
They did this in part by suggesting that an unnamed attorney falsely tell the FBI and the grand jury that the former president did not have documents requested in a May 11, 2022, subpoena, according to the indictment.
Trump and Nauta also allegedly "moved boxes of documents to conceal them" and suggested that the same unnamed attorney — likely Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran — "hide or destroy documents" requested in the subpoena.
Democrat suggests GOP colleague is 'inciting violence' with indictment tweet
Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois called on police to probe a tweet by Louisiana Republican Rep. Clay Higgins that appeared to contain coded messages in response to Trump's indictment.
Quigley tweeted: "Inciting violence is a crime. Law enforcement in his district and Capitol Police should be made aware of these calls for civil war. "
Bolton calls on Trump to withdraw from 2024 race
John Bolton, who was Trump's national security adviser and is now considering a White House bid, tweeted today that his former boss "should immediately withdraw as a candidate for president."
Bolton, a vocal Trump critic, also called on the Republican Party to "adopt a rule that no one under Federal or state criminal indictment is eligible to be nominated" for president.
'I don’t want anybody looking through my boxes'
On May 23 last year, Trump met with two of his attorneys to discuss the Justice Department's subpoena from earlier that month demanding he turn over all classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, according to the indictment.
During that meeting, Trump allegedly asked his lawyer if they could just tell the Justice Department that he didn't possess any classified documents.
"I don’t want anybody looking, I don’t want anybody looking through my boxes, I really don’t, I don’t want you looking through my boxes," one of the lawyers recalled Trump saying. "Well what if we, what happens if we just don’t respond at all or don’t play ball with them?"
"Wouldn’t it be better if we just told them we don’t have anything here?" Trump added, according to the lawyer.
"Well look isn’t it better if there are no documents?"
Trump attacks special counsel Smith
Minutes before Smith spoke at the Justice Department about the charges against the former president, Trump attacked him in a post on his social media site, alleging involvement in the IRS scandal over its targeting conservative nonprofit groups seeking tax exempt status.
"He went after Evangelicals and Great Americans of Faith. The United States had to apologize, and pay major damages for what this deranged lunatic did," Trump wrote.
Trump was apparently referring to a meeting Justice Department officials had with then-IRS official Lois Lerner in 2010 when Smith was the new chief of the DOJ's Public Integrity Section. Smith had asked for the meeting to assess the “evolving legal landscape” of campaign finance law following the Supreme Court’s Citizen's United decision, according to a letter that then-House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, sent to then-Attorney General Eric Holder in 2014. Republicans at the time were investigating the IRS scandal.
Smith later testified that his office "had a dialogue" with the FBI about the but "never opened any investigations."
Trump not charged with disseminating classified info
Although the indictment described two incidents of Trump showing classified information to people not cleared to receive it, it does not charge him with the crime of dissemination of national defense information under the Espionage Act.
Transcript of Smith's remarks
Here is a transcript of Smith's two-minute speech:
"Good afternoon. 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. This indictment was voted by a grand jury of citizens in the Southern District of Florida, and I invite everyone to read it in full to understand the scope and the gravity of the crimes charged.
"The men and women of the United States Intelligence Community and our Armed Forces dedicate their lives to protecting our nation and its people. Our laws that protect National Defense Information are critical to the safety and security of the United States, and they must be enforced.
"Violations of those laws put our country at risk. Adherence to the rule of law is a bedrock principle of the Department of Justice, and our nation’s commitment to the rule of law sets an example for the world.
"We have one set of laws in this country, and they apply to everyone. Applying those laws, collecting facts, that’s what determines the outcome of an investigation. Nothing more and nothing less. The prosecutors in my office are among the most talented and experienced in the Department of Justice. They have investigated this case, hewing to the highest ethical standards, and they will continue to do so is this case proceeds.
"It’s very important for me to note that the defendants in this case must be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. To that end, my office will seek a speedy trial on this matter, consistent with the public interest and the rights of the accused. We very much look forward to presenting our case to a jury of citizens in the Southern District of Florida.
"In conclusion, I would like to thank the dedicated public servants of the Federal Bureau of Investigation with whom my office is conducting this investigation and who work tirelessly every day, upholding the rule of law in our country. I’m deeply proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them. Thank you very much."
Prosecutors will seek a 'speedy trial' in Trump docs case, Smith says
Smith said in his remarks today that the special counsel's office "will seek a speedy trial...consistent with the public interest and the rights of the accused."
"It's very important for me to note that the defendants in this case must be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law," he said.
"We very much look forward to presenting our case to a jury of citizens in the Southern District of Florida," Smith added in brief remarks.
Smith says U.S. has 'one set of laws ... and they apply to everyone'
Smith continued his remarks at the Justice Department saying that the U.S. has "one set of laws in this country, and they apply to everyone."
"Adherence to the rule of law is a bedrock principle of the Department of Justice, and our nation's commitment to the rule of law sets an example for the world," he said.
Special counsel says laws protecting national defense 'must be enforced'
Smith delivered brief remarks from the Justice Department on the unsealing of the indictment, saying Trump has been charged "with felony violations of our national security laws as well as participating in a conspiracy to obstruct justice."
Smith said that the indictment was voted on by a grand jury of citizens in the Southern District of Florida.
"Now I invite everyone to read it fully to understand the scope and the gravity of the crimes," he said.
Smith said that the members of the U.S. intelligence community and the military "dedicate their lives to protecting our nation and its people."
"Our laws that protect national defense information are critical for the safety and security of the United States. And they must be enforced," he said. "Violations of those laws put our country at risk."
Biggs tweets U.S. is now in 'a war phase'
Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, a staunch Trump ally and member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, tweeted after the unsealing of the indictment that the U.S. was now in "a war phase."
In his tweet, he added: "Eye for an eye."
Who is Smith, special counsel in the Trump indictment?
Prior to being named special counsel, Smith served as the chief prosecutor for the special court in The Hague, where he investigated war crimes committed during the Kosovo War.
Before that, he served as the vice president of litigation for the Hospital Corporation of America, the nation’s largest nongovernmental health care provider.
Smith began his prosecutorial career in 1994 as an assistant district attorney with the New York County District Attorney’s Office.
Trump kept classified documents from several government agencies
After he left office, Trump retained troves of classified documents from the following government agencies: CIA, Defense Department, National Security Agency, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, Energy Department and State Department, as well as the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, an entity within the State Department, according to the indictment.
Trump showed classified map of an unnamed country to PAC representative, indictment details
Prosecutors said that in August or September 2021, Trump met in his office at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, with a representative of his political action committee.
During the meeting, Trump commented that "an ongoing military operation in Country B was not going well," the indictment said.
Trump then "showed the PAC Representative a classified map of Country B and told the PAC Representative that he should not be showing the map to the PAC Representative and to not get too close."
"The PAC Representative did not have a security clearance or any need-to-know classified information about the military operation," the indictment said.
The indictment did not name the PAC representative who viewed the document and did not specify the country in which the military operation was carried out.
Congress has not received an assessment of potential risk from Mar-a-Lago docs
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has not provided Congress with an assessment of the potential risk to national security from the documents found at Mar-a-Lago, according to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and a congressional aide with knowledge of the matter.
“We’d like to know what damage, if any, was created by the improper storage of these documents. That’s what we’re waiting on next,” Rubio, vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told NBC News yesterday.
U.S. intelligence agencies conduct damage assessments whenever classified material is compromised to determine whether any information exposed could endanger or affect sources or intelligence gathering methods. The ODNI declined to comment.
A congressional aide said the administration previously briefed lawmakers on the documents, including in “recent weeks.” But the damage assessment has not been completed and it remains unclear when it will be finished, the aide said.
'Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this,' Trump said
The indictment detailed a meeting Trump held at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, in July 2021 when he gave an interview to a writer and publisher in connection with a "then-forthcoming book," which is believed to be the memoir of former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Trump showed a classified document to the group during the meeting, which was recorded with Trump’s knowledge and consent, prosecutors said. The indictment contained a transcript of that recording.
When Trump greeted the writer, publisher and two of his staff members, Trump said, "Look what I found, this was [the Senior Military Official's] plan of attack, read it and just show...it's interesting," the indictment said.
The indictment said that that senior military official "purportedly feared that TRUMP might order an attack on Country A" and that official advised him against doing so. It's believed that the country was Iran, NBC previously reported.
Later in the interview, Trump acknowledged that the information he was sharing with the group was "highly confidential."
"Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this. You attack, and —," the indictment said.
A staffer at one point appeared to start saying that they have to do something with the document Trump was referring to.
"Declassify it," Trump interjected. "See as president I could have declassified it...Now I can't, you know, but this is still a secret."
The staffer replied, "Yeah...now we have a problem."
Trump 'personally involved' in the process of packing boxes, indictment says
As he was preparing to leave the White House in January 2021, Trump and his White House staff, including Nauta, packed boxes and Trump was "personally involved in this process," according to the indictment.
Trump then "caused his boxes, containing hundreds of classified documents, to be transported from the White house to Mar-a-Lago," the indictment said.
Attorney Bradley Moss previously told NBC News that Trump's best defense in the case "is he didn’t realize they were classified documents because he didn’t pack them up."
In an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” earlier this year, Trump lawyer Jim Trusty had insisted that Trump “didn’t pack the boxes.”
The view from Fox News: Key legal commentator calls indictment 'damning'
Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law expert who drew national attention when he became the lone Republican witness to testify during the first Trump impeachment hearings, appeared on Fox News this afternoon and described the newly unsealed federal indictment as "extremely damning."
"This is not an indictment that you can dismiss," said Turley, who is a regular legal analyst on Fox News and tends to provide analysis that is more favorable to the former president.
Trump made a 'funny' 'plucking' motion
The indictment recounted an interaction between Trump and one of his lawyers ("Trump Attorney 1") when they were discussing what to do with a folder containing documents with classified markings. The lawyer recounted that Trump made a "plucking" motion, that seemed to indicate the lawyer should just remove the incriminating papers.
"He made a funny motion as though — well okay why don’t you take them with you to your hotel room and if there’s anything really bad in there, like, you know, pluck it out," the lawyer said. "And that was the motion that he made. He didn’t say that."
Trump employee took photo of docs strewn on floor in storage room
Nauta, the Trump employee facing criminal charges along with his boss, walked into a storage room at Mar-a-Lago on Dec. 7, 2021, only to find various papers strewn on the floor, including one marked "secret," according to the newly unsealed indictment.
The document contained markings indicating it could be viewed only by members of the "Five Eyes" intelligence agencies (the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand), the indictment said.
Upon seeing the mess, Nauta took photos and texted them to another Trump employee. One of the photos shows a classified document, the indictment alleged.
"Oh no oh no," the unnamed second Trump employee responded.
Classified documents Trump stored at Mar-a-Lago included U.S. military info, including on nuclear programs
The classified documents that Trump stored at Mar-a-Lago included information "regarding defense and weapons capabilities of both the United States and foreign countries," as well as on U.S. nuclear programs, according to the indictment.
Prosecutors also said the classified documents included information about "potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attack" and "plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack. "
"The unauthorized disclosure of these classified documents could put at risk the national security of the United States, foreign relations, the safety of the United States military, and human sources and the continued viability of sensitive intelligence collection methods," the indictment said.
In indictment, prosecutors include a series of statements on classified documents Trump made during the 2016 campaign
Trump spent months during the 2016 campaign assailing his then-Democratic opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, over her use of a private email server while in office.
In doing so, he made multiple pledges that in his administration, laws regarding mishandling classified documents would be strongly enforced.
Today, prosecutors circled back to a number of those proclamations in their indictment of Trump in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents probe.
"In my administration I’m going to enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information," Trump said in August 2016, as prosecutors noted. "No one will be above the law.”
Trump didn't inform the Secret Service that he was storing classified docs at Mar-a-Lago, indictment says
Secret Service agents provided protection services to Trump and his family after he left office, including at Mar-a-Lago, but prosecutors say the agency was "not responsible for the protection of TRUMP's boxes," according to the indictment.
"TRUMP did not inform the Secret Service that he was storing boxes containing classified documents at the Mar-a-Lago club," the indictment said.
NBC News reported earlier this week that about two dozen Secret Service agents had been subpoenaed or appeared before a Washington federal grand jury in the case of Trump's handling of classified documents.
Trump 'showed classified documents to others' on two occasions in 2021, indictment says
The indictment said that the former president showed classified documents to other people on two occasions in 2021.
The first time was in July 2021 at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, during an audio-recorded meeting "with a writer, a publisher and two members of his staff, none of whom possessed a security clearance," the filing said.
NBC News reported last week that the special counsel had obtained that audio recording of the meeting.
The former president "showed and described a 'plan of attack' " that he said "was prepared for him by the Department of Defense and a senior military official," the indictment said. He "told the individuals that the plan was 'highly confidential' and 'secret,' " it said.
During that meeting, Trump also acknowledged that he could have declassified the document as president. "Now I can't, you know, but this is still a secret," he told the group, according to the indictment.
In August or September 2021, also at Bedminster, Trump showed a representative of his political action committee "who did not possess a security clearance a classified map related to a military operation and told the representative that he should not be showing it to the representative and that the representative should not get too close," the indictment said.
Biden says he hasn't spoken to Garland
Biden told pool reporters that he hasn't spoken to Garland about the Trump indictment.
"I have not spoken to him at all, I’m not going to speak to him. I have no comment on what happened," Biden said.
Trump alleged to have asked his attorney to hide or destroy subpoenaed documents
The 49-page federal indictment unsealed today alleged that Trump suggested that one of his attorneys "hide or destroy documents called for by the grand jury subpoena."
That subpoena required Trump to turn over all documents with classification markings.
The indictment alleged Trump took other actions to obstruct the probe, too, including suggesting an attorney "falsely represent" to federal investigators and the grand jury that he did not possess the documents being sought.
Trump faces 37 counts on seven charges
Trump faces 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information, one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, a count of withholding a document or record, a count of corruptly concealing a document or record, a count of concealing a document in a federal investigation, a count of scheming to conceal, and a count of false statements and representations.
Each of the charges carries a maximum fine of $250,000 and prison time of five to 20 years.
Classified documents were stored in a ballroom, bathroom and shower, indictment says
Trump stored boxes containing classified documents in various locations at Mar-a-Lago, "including in a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, an office space, his bedroom, and a storage room," the indictment said.
"After Trump's presidency, The Mar-a-Lago Club was not an authorized location for the storage, possession, review, display, or discussion of classified documents," the indictment said.
The indictment also noted that Mar-a-Lago is an "active social club" that hosted events for "tens of thousands of members and guests" from January 2021 to August 2022, the period when much of that classified information was on the grounds.
Read the full federal indictment in the Trump classified documents case
The federal government’s indictment of Trump and his aide Walt Nauta was unsealed today.
The document outlined criminal charges related to the more than 100 classified documents federal agents recovered from Trump’s Florida resort last August.
Indictment details charges against Trump’s personal aide
The indictment against Trump also detailed the federal charges against the former president's personal aide Walt Nauta:
— 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
Who is Walt Nauta, the Trump aide indicted in the classified documents probe?
Waltine "Walt" Nauta, a personal aide to Trump, was indicted in Smith's investigation into Trump's alleged mishandling of classified documents.
Nauta, Trump's former White House military valet and a Navy veteran, came under scrutiny for his conflicting narratives on whether he moved boxes of documents at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida at Trump's urging.
Numerous former Trump staffers were quoted by The Washington Post as saying that Nauta was always by Trump's side and followed the former president to his Mar-a-Lago residence where the classified documents were eventually seized, even after many left Trump for other jobs.
Nauta’s military background dates back to 2001, and he served across the United States before retiring as a senior chief culinary specialist, according to records obtained from the Navy.
He was charged Friday with one count of making false statements and representations, which carries a sentence of up to five years.
Special counsel in classified docs probe to speak at 3 p.m. ET
The special counsel overseeing the Justice Department's investigation into Trump's handling of classified documents will make a statement at 3 p.m. ET, according to the department.
Smith will not take questions. The statement will be live-streamed on the department's website.
Indictment charging Trump in classified docs case is unsealed
The indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Florida in the Trump classified documents case overseen by Smith has been unsealed.
The federal grand jury indicted Trump on seven criminal charges related to his alleged mishandling of more than 100 classified documents discovered last year at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, NBC News reported yesterday.
The former president shared last night that he had been indicted. One of his lawyers, Jim Trusty, said on CNN shortly afterward that the legal team had received a summons. The language in the summons laid out some of the charges, Trusty said, and asked that Trump appear at a courthouse in Miami on Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET. (Trump said today that Trusty is no longer representing him.)
Details on plans for Trump's arraignment Tuesday
Trump's arraignment Tuesday will be overseen by either Magistrate Judge John Goodman or Chief Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres, a court official told NBC News.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon was assigned to oversee the trial and was chosen randomly, the official said.
The hearing is expected to take place in a new Miami courthouse and Trump will likely enter through an underground parking lot, according to the court official.
Journalists are expected to be able to use approved electronic devices but will be prohibited from texting during court proceedings.
The venue for Trump's trial is still undecided.
Biden: 'No comment' on Trump
Biden was asked at an event in North Carolina about Trump's indictment. He gave a one-sentence answer: "I have no comment at all."
Pompeo says those who mishandle documents must be held accountable 'no matter which party'
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yesterday in a Fox Business interview that those with access to classified documents "have a responsibility to handle them appropriately, and those of us who don’t have to be held accountable for that, no matter which party they’re from."
Pompeo, who decided not to run against his former boss for the GOP presidential nomination, said, "When you make a mistake, you need to own it," adding, "I hope that everyone who takes this sacred duty of protecting this information will do that.”
Clinton sells 'But her emails' hats as Trump criticisms resurface
Hillary Clinton, who ran for president against Trump in 2016, is selling "limited edition But Her Emails" hats "in light of recent news," the former secretary of state said in an Instagram post this morning.
Her announcement comes as Trump's criticisms of then-candidate Clinton resurface. In 2016, Trump vowed to "enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information" as president. Drawing a contrast between himself and Clinton, who the State Department said had violated federal records rules by using a private email server while secretary of state, Trump added that "no one will be above the law."
Trump made the remarks while addressing supporters at a rally in North Carolina, and the clip appeared in much of this morning's news coverage of the indictment, including in The Guardian, CNN, and The New York Times.
Pence says he's 'deeply troubled' by Trump's indictment, encourages voters 'to pray' for former president
Former Vice President Mike Pence said at a campaign stop in New Hampshire today that he's "deeply troubled" by the indictment against Trump, saying "it would only further divide our nation at a time when American families are facing real hardship at home and real peril abroad."
Pence, who like his former boss is vying for GOP presidential nomination, said he was also concerned about "the message this sends the wider world," adding, "We're the beacon of democracy, but we're also an emblem of justice in the world."
U.S. leaders and those aspiring to lead should remember "no one is above the law," and "the handling of classified materials of the United States is a serious matter," he said.
Pence encouraged New Hampshire voters "to pray for our former president and his family," saying the "unprecedented indictment" marks "a sad day in America."
Barrasso is first Senate Republican leader to comment
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., is the first GOP leader in the Senate to weigh in on Trump's indictment. Aligning with many other Republican colleagues, he called the indictment an "unequal application of justice."
Much of his statement shifted focus toward Biden's own classified documents probe and, a popular Republican talking point, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails.
"We are learning more and more about the ethical mess President Biden and his family were involved in. no indictments," Barrasso wrote. "You can't help but ask why this is happening. It feels political, and it's rotten."
Trump says aide Walt Nauta also has been indicted in the classified documents case
Trump said on Truth Social that his aide Walt Nauta has been indicted in the classified documents case.
"I have just learned that the 'Thugs' from the Department of Injustice will be Indicting a wonderful man, Walt Nauta, a member of the U.S. Navy, who served proudly with me in the White House, retired as Senior Chief, and then transitioned into private life as a personal aide," Trump wrote this morning.
The former president continued, "He has done a fantastic job! They are trying to destroy his life, like the lives of so many others, hoping that he will say bad things about 'Trump.' He is strong, brave, and a Great Patriot. The FBI and DOJ are CORRUPT!"
Nauta's lawyer declined to comment. NBC News has not yet independently confirmed charges against Nauta, who had been under scrutiny by investigators over his shifting accounts of whether he moved boxes of documents at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida at Trump's urging.
Garland won't play any role in the unsealing of the indictment
The attorney general will not play any role in the unsealing of the indictment against Trump, NBC News has confirmed.
Garland will not need to sign off on making that happen.
Republicans have denounced the Justice Department over the indictment and former Vice President Mike Pence called on Garland to unseal the charges by the end of the day today.
Haley tweets apparent criticism of Trump indictment
Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley tweeted that "this is not how justice should be pursued in our country," though she did not mention Trump by name.
“The American people are exhausted by the prosecutorial overreach, double standards, and vendetta politics,” she wrote. “It’s time to move beyond the endless drama and distractions.”
Haley, a former South Carolina governor, served as Trump's ambassador to the United Nations and is now running against him for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Trump announces shake-up in legal team
In a shake-up of his legal team, Trump announced on Truth Social that he will now be represented by Todd Blanche in the case "and a firm to be named later."
"For purposes of fighting the Greatest Witch Hunt of all time, now moving to the Florida Courts, I will be represented by Todd Blanche, Esq., and a firm to be named later," he wrote.
Trump thanked two of his attorneys — Jim Trusty and John Rowley — for their work. "They were up against a very dishonest, corrupt, evil, and 'sick' group of people, the likes of which has not been seen before. We will be announcing additional lawyers in the coming days."
Trusty and Rowley released a joint statement saying that they had resigned. Trusty had spoken to a number of morning news shows today about the case.
"We will no longer represent him on either the indicted case or the January 6 investigation," the two lawyers said, adding that they think Trump "will be vindicated in his battle against the Biden Administration’s partisan weaponization of the American justice system."
Durbin says Smith should be able to investigate 'without interference'
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., broke his silence on Trump's federal indictment this morning, writing on Twitter that as the case unfolds, "Special Counsel Smith must be allowed to continue his investigation without interference," as Republican lawmakers continue to say they will hold the Justice Department "accountable."
Durbin, the second highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate, also serves as the chair of the Judiciary Committee.
Judge Aileen Cannon has been assigned to initially oversee Trump indictment case
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has been assigned to initially oversee the case involving the Justice Department's indictment of Trump, two sources familiar with the situation told NBC News.
The development was first reported by ABC News this morning.
Cannon, a Trump appointee, was the federal judge who appointed a special master last year to review the documents seized by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago last August.
Cruz slams indictment he hasn't read yet
Echoing Trump's condemnation of his criminal indictment, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, took to his podcast to criticize the charges.
“This indictment is garbage," Cruz said. "This is a political attack. It is a political attack from a thoroughly corrupted and weaponized Department of Justice. And it’s a sad day for America.”
The indictment remains under seal, which means Cruz hasn't been able to read the content of it, and so far, all that is public is what Trump's lawyers have said, including which charges are being brought.
And unlike the case in New York, where key witnesses were giving public statements and Michael Cohen had detailed his role in open court as part of a guilty plea, many of the facts surrounding the classified documents may still be unknown — or never known. For example, given the classified nature of the documents, the public may never know their contents.
Pro-Trump protesters outside Pence event called former VP 'a traitor'
A small group of pro-Trump demonstrators are gathered outside former Vice President Mike Pence’s New Hampshire kickoff event in Derry right now.
When asked by NBC News if their demonstration was more pro-Trump or anti-Pence, one demonstrator said: “It’s both. Benedict Pence is a traitor.”
Trump tries to make his criminal indictment about Biden
When Trump announced to the world last night that he had been indicted on a raft of federal charges, his message was consistent and singularly focused: Joe Biden is using the government to crush his political comeback.
That the attorney general appointed by Biden had named a special counsel to helm the investigation — a move intended to insulate the president from a decision to prosecute — was omitted by Trump and the battery of Republican allies who quickly rushed to his defense. And it’s likely to be a nuance lost on voters, as the indictment stokes Republican fears about political bias inside the Justice Department.
But so far, Biden has shown no sign of changing strategy when it comes to his chief political rival’s legal woes: Stay silent and keep going about White House business.
Romney says Trump 'brought these charges upon himself'
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, a frequent critic of Trump, appeared to release the first statement from a congressional Republican that wasn't highly critical of the Justice Department.
"By all appearances, the Justice Department and special counsel have exercised due care, affording Mr. Trump the time and opportunity to avoid charges that would not generally have been afforded to others," he said in a statement.
Romney continued, "Mr. Trump brought these charges upon himself by not only taking classified documents, but by refusing to simply return them when given numerous opportunities to do so."
Romney was the lone Senate Republican to join Democrats and vote to convict Trump after his first impeachment in 2020 and also voted to convict Trump in 2021 after he was impeached over his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
House GOP whip reacts to Trump indictment after silence last night
House Republican Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., said in a tweet this morning that the indictment of Trump shows that Democrats are abusing their power.
Emmer, who was notably the highest-ranking member of the House GOP leadership who remained silent last night after the news broke, tweeted that the Biden administration is indicting Trump "over the same thing Joe Biden has done."
Trump has also equated his situation to that of Biden, who was also found to be in possession of classified documents from the Obama administration. But the circumstances are much different.
Hunt seems to question need for a 2024 GOP primary
The Office of Rep. Wesley Hunt, R-Texas, tweeted this morning that "the entire Democrat Leviathan has been mobilized against President Trump" and questioned the necessity of the GOP primary.
"The DOJ, the FBI, prosecutors in New York, prosecutors in Georgia," the tweet read, apparently referring to Trump's mounting legal challenges. "But we're going to have a GOP primary? America, Donald Trump will be Republican Nominee."
Pence calls for DOJ to unseal Trump indictment by the end of the day
Former Vice President Mike Pence said in a radio interview with conservative host Hugh Hewitt that Attorney General Merrick Garland should immediately unseal the indictment against Trump.
"I don't understand the rollout of this," Pence said, adding that it's "totally unacceptable" that the Justice Department hasn't yet released the indictment to the public, which has learned about the indictment from the former president.
"I think before the sun sets today, the attorney general of the United States should be standing in front of the American people to unseal this indictment, to provide the American people with the facts and information," Pence said. "And the American people will be able to judge for themselves whether this is just the latest incident of weaponization and politicization of the Justice Department or if it's something different."
He said he hadn't testified before the Florida grand jury that returned the Trump indictment.
Pence, who's running against Trump for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, said that if he were elected, he would "clean house" at the Justice Department and the FBI because, he said, Americans have lost confidence in those institutions.
Trump will be arraigned a day before his birthday
Trump's arraignment Tuesday will come just a day before he turns 77. The former president has protested his innocence in a post on his social media site and called the probe “a hoax.”
Trump plans to host a fundraiser to celebrate his birthday on Tuesday night in Bedminster, New Jersey. His campaign confirmed that despite his arraignment earlier in the day, the party is still on.
Violent rhetoric spreading on pro-Trump sites over indictment, group says
Some users on fringe and pro-Trump internet message boards have posted some violent rhetoric in response to his indictment, according to a report from Advance Democracy Inc., a nonprofit group that conducts public interest research.
The group monitored the Trump-backed social media platform Truth Social, the fringe message board 4chan, and Patriots.win (a pro-Trump community that spun off from Reddit), and noted that it saw no definitive plans to engage in real-world violence.
“As of June 8, 2023, ADI has identified platform users using violent rhetoric and making threats in response to Trump’s indictment, including a post containing threatening language aimed at Attorney General Merrick Garland’s family,” the group wrote in the report.
Violent online rhetoric has followed other major news events around Trump, including his previous indictment.
Analysis: Trump’s trial is a test of the nation
WASHINGTON — The whole country is on trial now. First and foremost, Trump, charged with seven counts related to his handling of classified information amid his front-running campaign for the White House, has become the only former American president to face federal prosecution.
The charges are serious, and a grand jury determined they were substantive enough to warrant a trial. But special counsel Smith — and by extension Biden’s Justice Department — has the legal burden of proving that Trump broke the law and the substantial challenge of showing that he was not — as he suggests — unfairly targeted for political purposes.
Likewise, Biden, who stands to benefit from political injury to Trump and the GOP, must demonstrate that he is not abusing power to take down his top rival in the courts rather than at the ballot box. And Trump’s Republican opponents were forced to weigh whether to stand with him or risk the wrath of a base that could punish politicians — in primaries or a general election — for abandoning him.
In that way, this first trial-of-the-millennium test is one of more than a man who has routinely scoffed at the law and of the specific charges against him. It is a test of America’s political, legal and social fabric that is unlike any other since the Civil War.
Trump lawyer Jim Trusty denies it's a crime for former president to possess 'even the most sensitive documents'
Trump lawyer Jim Trusty said in an interview on NBC's "TODAY" show that the former president is being charged with “something that was never criminal for any other president in history" and "has suddenly been weaponized by this Department of Justice."
Trusty said the Presidential Records Act — which requires that official White House records be preserved— doesn’t anticipate anything criminal.
"There’s no criminal statute within the Presidential Records Act that says it’s a violation to possess any of these things — even the most sensitive documents," he said.
Trusty said Trump's legal team thinks the indictment from the Florida grand jury is the only one in the classified documents case. He made it clear the team doesn't anticipate an indictment from the D.C. grand jury that was empaneled.
Trusty said the creation of the Florida grand jury "could be a reflection of an acknowledgment by DOJ they had some venue problems, that they really never should have been venued it in D.C.," or that they want to "sanitize" and "kind of repackage, re-remarket it for consumption down in South Florida."
Lawyer for witness in Trump docs probe alleges prosecutorial misconduct
A lawyer for Trump’s butler and body man — whose legal bills are being paid by a Trump political organization — alleges in court papers that a key prosecutor in the classified documents case inappropriately sought to pressure him by bringing up his application for a judgeship in Washington, D.C., a source familiar with the matter said yesterday.
The lawyer, Stanley Woodward, represents Walt Nauta, who is under scrutiny by investigators over his shifting accounts of whether he moved boxes of documents at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida at his urging.
The source said that in a letter filed under seal with the chief federal judge in Washington, Woodward alleged that Jay Bratt, the Justice Department’s chief of counterintelligence, raised the issue of the judgeship at a meeting in October at the Justice Department, where prosecutors were trying to convince Woodward that Nauta had lied and should cooperate in the investigation. Bratt has been working for more than a year on the classified documents case.
Trump allies say Biden is ‘weaponizing’ DOJ against his chief 2024 rival following indictment
Top congressional Republicans rallied behind Trump last night, framing the former president’s indictment as nothing more than Biden’s “weaponizing” of his Justice Department against his likeliest 2024 political opponent.
“It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him. Joe Biden kept classified documents for decades,” tweeted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., a Trump loyalist. “I, and every American who believes in the rule of law, stand with President Trump against this grave injustice.
“House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable,” McCarthy wrote.
Trump indicted on 7 charges in classified docs probe
A federal grand jury has indicted Trump on seven criminal charges in connection with his handling of more than 100 classified documents that were discovered last year at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, making the twice-impeached former commander-in-chief the first former president to face federal criminal charges.
Trump said last night that his attorneys were informed that he has been indicted in the special counsel’s investigation into his handling of classified documents. Two sources familiar with the matter confirmed the indictment, one adding that the former president had received a summons to appear in U.S. District Court on Tuesday.
In a post on his social media platform, Truth Social, Trump said: “The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax.”