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Special counsel adds charges against Trump in classified documents case

Trump has said he is also the target of a criminal investigation into the efforts to overturn his electoral defeat to Joe Biden.

Here’s the latest on the investigation into Donald Trump:

  • A new indictment was filed today in connection with the ongoing prosecution by special counsel Jack Smith of Trump and a top aide, adding charges against the former president for his handling of classified documents after he left the White House. The new, or superseding, indictment also charges Carlos De Oliveira, a maintenance worker at Mar-a-Lago who helped move boxes in of classified documents.
  • Trump announced last week that he received a letter notifying him he is the target of a grand jury examining the Jan. 6 riot and efforts to overturn the 2020 election, the other probe being led by Smith.
  • Members of the grand jury in the Jan. 6 investigation were spotted at the courthouse today. A court official said later in the day that no indictments had been returned and that none were expected. Members of the grand jury were seen leaving the courthouse around 4:30 p.m.
  • NBC News reported that Trump's lawyers met with Smith's office and were advised to expect an indictment, but Trump and a spokesman rebutted that report as being incorrect.

Biden makes no mention of new Trump charges in remarks

In his first public remarks after the new charges against Trump, Biden made no mention of his potential 2024 opponent but criticized a senator who was endorsed by the former president.

Speaking at the Truman Civil Rights Symposium in Washington, D.C., Biden took aim at Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., and his blockade on military nominees over the Pentagon's abortion policy.

"The senior senator from Alabama who claims to support our troops is now blocking more than 300 military operations with his extreme political agenda," Biden said.

Biden has said very little about the charges against Trump, often responding to reporters' questions about the case by saying he does not tell the Justice Department what to do.

GOP presidential candidate Will Hurd weighs in

Republican presidential candidate Will Hurd tonight took a jab at Trump after new charges against the former president were revealed.

Former Representative Will Hurd, a Republican from Texas, speaks during the Road to Majority's Faith and Freedom policy conference in Washington, DC on  June 24, 2023.
Former Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, in Washington, D.C., on Monday.Nathan Howard / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

While noting he's not a lawyer, Hurd, a former House member from Texas, tweeted that “it seems like you know you’re committing a crime if you’re having an employee delete security camera footage.”

In a separate tweet, Hurd said that if Trump did try to destroy security video, as the indictment alleges, then he "thinks you're not smart enough to catch him in a lie" and that Trump will "always put himself first and America last."

Those who do not acknowledge the severity of the charges, Hurd added, are "complicit in endangering America and the men and women who serve our country."

Trump repeats 'election interference' claims after new charges

Trump repeated earlier claims that the classified documents case against him is “election interference at the highest level” after new charges were unveiled today.

“This is prosecutorial misconduct used at a level never seen before," he told Fox News Digital in an interview.

And in his first Truth Social post following the new charges, Trump shared an article titled "It's time to prosecute the prosecutors" from the conservative blog American Thinker. He did include any accompanying comments in the post.

Secret Service and D.C. police prepare for potential Trump indictment

Diana Paulsen

Julia Ainsley and Diana Paulsen

Officials from the Secret Service and the Washington Metropolitan Police Department met today to discuss the potential for violence from protesters if Trump is indicted.

An official said both the Secret Service and Washington police believe Trump may be indicted soon in connection with his involvement in Jan. 6 and interference in the 2020 election, but neither law enforcement organization has been given an exact date.

The two law enforcement agencies are coordinating in case Trump needs to travel to Washington for an arraignment. As of now, no rhetoric online has alarmed law enforcement, but they continue to monitor for violence among those who would protest a possible indictment.

House GOP conference chair decries latest Trump charges, says justice system is 'broken'

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., in Washington, DC., in 2021.
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., in Washington, DC., in 2021.Caroline Brehman / CQ Roll Call via AP file

House Republican Conference chair Elise Stefanik tweeted a statement tonight arguing that the new charges represent the latest evidence that Trump is the target of a "witch hunt" and that the justice system is "broken."

"It is no coincidence that the day after a federal judge throws out Hunter Biden's corrupt, sweetheart plea bargain, Biden's weaponized DOJ continues its witchhunt against President Trump," Stefanik wrote. Legal experts note that the cases against Trump and Hunter Biden are fundamentally different.

Prosecutors baffled by Trump's desire to discuss classified evidence outside of classified setting

On top of the new charges against the former president about his alleged mishandling of classified documents comes word from the special counsel that Trump wants to be able to discuss classified discovery outside of a classified setting. Clearly baffled, prosecutors from the special counsel’s team write in part in the latest court filing:

“There is no basis for the defendant’s request that he be given the extraordinary authority to discuss classified information at his residence, and it is particularly striking that he seeks permission to do so in the very location at which he is charged with willfully retaining the documents charged in this case.

“The government is not aware of any case in which a defendant has been permitted to discuss classified information in a private residence, and such exceptional treatment would not be consistent with the law.”

Special counsel won't ask that Trump and Nauta be arraigned again

Daniel Barnesis reporting from the federal courthouse.

An interesting footnote in the new indictment:

Subject to the Court’s approval, the Special Counsel’s Office will not oppose defendants Trump and Nauta waiving appearance at an arraignment on the superseding indictment pursuant to the conditions set forth in Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 10(b). 

COLUMBUS, GA- JUNE 10: Former President Donald Trump and his aid Walt Nauta (right) arrive at an airport after Trump spoke at the Georgia Republican Party's state convention on Saturday, June 10, 2023 in Columbus, GA.  (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Former President Donald Trump and his aid Walt Nauta, right, arrive at an airport in Columbus, Ga., on June 10.Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images file

A brief timeline of events presented by prosecutors in today's court filing

The superseding indictment the special counsel revealed today lays out new allegations against the former president.

Here is a brief timeline of events leading up to last year's search at Mar-a-Lago, according to the special counsel's court filing:

  • June 22 — The Justice Department requests security video from Mar-a-Lago.
  • June 23 — Trump speaks to De Oliveira on the phone for roughly 24 minutes.
  • June 24 — One of Trump's attorneys speaks with the former president about the security video.
  • June 25 — Nauta and De Oliveira meet at a security guard booth, where surveillance video is displayed on monitors. De Oliveira later steps into an audio closet with another employee and has a conversation that De Oliveira says should be kept between them.
  • June 27 — De Oliveira tells an unnamed employee that the "boss" wants the Mar-a-Lago surveillance video deleted.

'He doesn't give you orders. He speaks in a code'

Diana Paulsen

Garrett Haake and Diana Paulsen

The new charging documents include an exchange between De Oliveira and an unnamed Trump employee. In the exchange, De Olivera says that "the boss," presumably Trump, wanted the server storing security video deleted. When the other employee pushed back against the request, De Olivera insisted that "the boss" wanted it "and asked, 'what are we going to do?'"

The testimony echoes that given by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen when he testified before Congress in 2019.

Asked about whether Trump explicitly asked him to lie about the purpose of money used to pay off adult film actress Stormy Daniels, Cohen said: "He doesn’t give you questions. He doesn’t give you orders. He speaks in a code, and I understand the code because I’ve been around him for a decade."

Attempt to delete video could damage Trump argument that he was entitled to the documents

The latest charges accusing Trump and his staff of trying to delete surveillance camera video provide prosecutors with a significant new tool to bolster their story to the jury.

According to the superseding indictment, after Trump was served with a grand jury subpoena to return the classified materials, Carlos De Oliveira allegedly told the director of IT at the club that “‘the boss’ wanted the server deleted.”

The former president’s defense has consistently taken some form of “I had the right to possess the documents (despite no longer being president).”

But if prosecutors can prove he and others engaged in a conspiracy to delete video to thwart federal efforts to locate the documents, that adds a new dimension to the story that was missing previously.

Prosecutors aren’t required to prove a defendant’s motive, but attempting to delete the video (assuming the Justice Department can show that) would strengthen the overall obstruction case, as well as provide evidence toward Trump’s consciousness of guilt over the alleged retention of the classified materials.

Pelosi 'heard on the phone' about new charges against Trump

Emily Hung

Emily Hung and Zoë Richards

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she "heard on the phone" about the superseding indictment involving Trump, Nauta and De Oliveira.

“I mean, every day we keep hearing there’s going to be another indictment about Jan. 6 and overturning the election," Pelosi said in remarks at the Voters of America Summit after she described how she heard the news about Trump on her way to the event.

She added that Trump's supporters "think he is above the law."

Some of the new charges in Trump docs case carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years

Daniel Barnesis reporting from the federal courthouse.

Trump faces three new charges as a result of the superseding indictment filed today, with maximum prison sentences from 10 to 20 years.

The additional count of willful retention of national defense information has a maximum sentence of 10 years, while the two additional counts of obstruction related to deleting security camera video have maximum sentences of 20 years.

Some of the charges from the initial indictment, including the conspiracy and concealment counts, carry maximum prison sentences of 20 years.

Trump, Nauta, De Oliveira tried to delete video at Mar-a-Lago, new indictment alleges

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Trump, Nauta and De Oliveira tried to delete video at Mar-a-Lago last summer, prosecutors said in the new indictment.

According to the indictment, in late June 2022, the Justice Department twice communicated that a grand jury was issuing a subpoena requesting video from Mar-a-Lago. Trump's lawyers communicated that to the former president, who then asked to see Nauta, who was scheduled to travel with Trump the next day to Illinois, but he instead flew to Palm Beach, Florida.

Once he was there, Nauta met with De Oliveira. Separately, De Oliveira met with a security employee and told him that "'the boss' wanted the server deleted," the indictment says. The employee said that "he would not know how to do that, and that he did not believe that he would have the rights to do that," the indictment says.

After that exchange, De Oliveira met twice with Nauta near "bushes" on the northern edge of the Mar-a-Lago property. A little while after that, Trump called Oliveira, and they spoke briefly, the indictment says.

The indictment doesn't say whether they were able to delete any video.

New indictment likely to delay May trial date

These latest charges against the former president and his aides make it very likely the current May trial date will be pushed back.

The destruction of videotape evidence means more discovery from prosecutors, which means more opportunities to file motions to delay. The judge overseeing the case was already concerned about the mountain of evidence to digest in the case, and this will only add to it.

Trump, Nauta and De Oliveira charged with new obstruction counts over alleged attempts to delete video

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Under the superseding indictment, prosecutors have charged Trump, Nauta and De Oliveira with two new obstruction counts based on allegations that they attempted to delete surveillance video at Mar-a-Lago last summer.

Trump faces additional charges in superseding indictment

Trump faced additional charges in a superseding indictment that was returned by a grand jury in the Southern District of Florida.

The former president is charged with one additional count of willful retention of national defense information, according to the new filing.

The superseding indictment also charges Trump, De Oliveira and Nauta with two new obstruction counts stemming from allegations that they attempted to delete surveillance video last summer at Trump's Mar-a-Lago club.

Read the full superseding indictment

Read the full 60-page superseding indictment filed today against Trump, Nauta and De Oliveira.

Third defendant, Carlos De Oliveira, faces several charges

The third defendant added to the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case, Carlos De Oliveira, faces the following charges:

  • Conspiracy to obstruct justice.
  • Altering, destroying, mutilating or concealing an object.
  • Corruptly altering, destroying, mutilating or concealing a document, record or other object.
  • False statements and representations.

Special counsel files new indictment leveling additional charges against Trump, adds new defendant

Smith has filed new indictment leveling additional charges against Trump and adding new defendant.

Lawyer for new defendant in classified docs case declines to comment

Daniel Barnesis reporting from the federal courthouse.

John Irving, a lawyer for Carlos De Oliveira, declined to comment when he was asked about his client’s being added today as the third defendant in Trump’s classified docs case.

Trump campaign says adding new defendant to classified docs case is another attempt to harass former president

Adam Reiss

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Adam Reiss and Rebecca Shabad

Steven Cheung, the press secretary for Trump's 2024 presidential campaign, said in a statement tonight that the addition of a third defendant to the Mar-a-Lago case is "nothing more than a continued desperate and flailing attempt by the Biden Crime Family and their Department of Justice to harass President Trump and those around him."

Cheung added, "Deranged Jack Smith knows that they have no case and is casting about for any way to salvage their illegal witch hunt and to get someone other than Donald Trump to run against Crooked Joe Biden."

Special counsel adds third defendant in classified docs case

The special counsel has added a third defendant in the classified documents case, Carlos De Oliveira, a maintenance worker from Mar-a-Lago, according to a filing today.

Trump was previously indicted and pleaded not guilty in June to charges stemming from his alleged mishandling of classified documents after he left the White House.

Barricades go up outside Fulton County courthouse ahead of possible indictments in Georgia election interference probe

Charlie Gile

Diana Paulsen

Charlie Gile and Diana Paulsen

Barricades were erected outside the Fulton County courthouse in Georgia yesterday in preparation for possible indictments in a probe that looked into whether Trump and his allies interfered in the state's 2020 presidential election.

District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat, informed law enforcement this year that the courthouse needed to be secured from July 31 to Aug. 18 for any possible indictments.

Trump campaign fundraises off of grand jury meeting

Olympia Sonnier

Diana Paulsen

Olympia Sonnier and Diana Paulsen

In a fundraising email this afternoon, the Trump campaign cited the ongoing grand jury meeting in soliciting donations.

Trump repeated his claims that the special counsel's investigation is a "witch hunt" by the "Deep State" and questioned the timing of today's grand jury meeting.

Trump has raised funds in the wake of previous indictments, including the week after his indictment on charges he mishandled classified documents and his indictment in a hush-money case.

Grand jurors seen leaving the courthouse

Daniel Barnesis reporting from the federal courthouse.

Grand jurors who are part of the panel investigating the 2020 election have been spotted leaving the courthouse.

Chris Christie says video of Mark Meadows not commenting looks ‘like somebody who is cooperating’ with Trump probe

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Frank Thorp Vproducer and off-air reporter

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said yesterday that it seems like Donald Trump’s final White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, might be cooperating with the federal probe into the former president.

Christie was reacting to a brief exchange captured on video yesterday morning in Washington between Meadows and an NBC News reporter, who asked Meadows whether he has testified before a federal grand jury.

“I don’t talk about anything J6-related,” Meadows said, referring to Smith’s probe into Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 riot and efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Read the full story here.

Sen. Coons says Trump should be held accountable for encouraging the mob to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Nicole Moeder

Rebecca Shabad and Nicole Moeder

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said in an interview on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" today that Trump "should be held accountable" for "what he did or didn’t do to incite the mob and to encourage them to come and attack the Capitol and to seek to overturn the peaceful transfer of power following an election."

"That conduct is foundational to both our system of ordered liberty, our Constitution and our understanding of his willingness to respect those guardrails, those rules and those traditions," Coons said.

He added: "This was the closest we came to not succeeding, and I think President Trump, former President Trump, should be held accountable for that."

Grand jury hasn't been seen departing courthouse

Daniel Barnesis reporting from the federal courthouse.

The grand jury investigating the 2020 election appears to still be meeting. While some members were seen briefly leaving the jury room midday to get a snack, the panel didn't appear to take a lunch break as it often does on days that it is working.

Court official says no grand jury decisions today

A court official told reporters waiting at a federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., this afternoon that no indictments have been returned today and none are expected.

The grand jury investigating Trump and the 2020 election has been meeting in that courthouse today.

Congress is leaving town ahead of another possible Trump indictment

Sarah Mimms

Sarah Mimms and Kyle Stewart

Congress is leaving Washington for a six-week recess today, giving Republicans a convenient reprieve from throngs of reporters in the halls of the Capitol ahead of another possible Trump indictment. (Though there's no official indication that the two issues are related.)

The House was originally scheduled to be in tomorrow, but it has decided to leave a day early and will close up for the August recess in the next few hours, Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., announced. It was supposed to vote on another government funding bill Friday but has decided to punt that to September.

Jan. 6 defendant who wanted to ‘grab Nancy Pelosi by the hair’ arrested

As we await news on a potential Trump indictment, cases against Jan. 6 defendants continue to be unsealed.

The latest case is that of Michael St. Pierre, who the FBI said posted a video saying he wanted to “rush the Capitol, to grab Nancy Pelosi by the hair and f---ing twirl her around."

Trump invokes 'many lawyers' in defense in investigation

The former president’s vague reference on Truth Social to being “advised by many lawyers” is notable.

In this case, he may try to argue that he was told by attorneys — such as Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark and Kenneth Cheseboro, among others — that he could try to undo the election results by having state legislatures put forth “alternative” slates of electors after the 2020 presidential election.

He could claim that he was merely relying on their advice that the conduct was legal, so he can’t be prosecuted if their advice turned out to be unlawful.

The problem for him is that the Jan. 6 congressional investigation shows many of these lawyers were told what they were doing had no legal merit.

The other snag is that if an advice-of-counsel defense is raised, the prosecutors could be able to pierce the privilege between Trump and his lawyers to discover precisely what he was advised and when.

Trump says on Truth Social that his lawyers had a 'productive meeting' with the DOJ

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Kevin Breuninger, CNBC

Rebecca Shabad and Kevin Breuninger, CNBC

Trump said in a post on Truth Social just after 1 p.m. ET that his attorneys had a "productive meeting" with Justice Department prosecutors this morning.

He said his lawyers spent the meeting "explaining in detail that I did nothing wrong, was advised by many lawyers, and that an Indictment of me would only further destroy our Country."

"No indication of notice was given during the meeting — Do not trust the Fake News on anything!" he wrote.  

Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement that NBC News’ report that the former president’s lawyers were told to expect an indictment was “incorrect.”

U.S. marshals meet with law enforcement partners outside courthouse

U.S. Marshals are meeting with other members of law enforcement at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse ahead of a possible indictment of Trump.

Officials from the U.S. Park Police and the Washington Metropolitan Police Department were present.

Trump lawyers meet with prosecutors in Smith's office

Adam Reiss

Adam Reiss and Vaughn Hillyard

Trump's attorneys Todd Blanche and John Lauro have met with prosecutors in Smith's office, according to three sources.

The lawyers were told to expect an indictment, two sources said.

Rudy Giuliani concedes he made ‘false’ statements about Georgia election workers

Rudy Giuliani conceded in a court filing Tuesday that he made “false” statements about two Georgia 2020 election workers who are suing him over baseless claims of fraud he made against them.

“Defendant Giuliani, for the purposes of litigation only, does not contest that, to the extent the statements were statements of fact and other wise actionable, such actionable factual statements were false,” Giuliani wrote in a signed stipulation that he said was intended to “avoid unnecessary expenses in litigating what he believes to be unnecessary disputes.”

Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, have said their lives were turned upside down when conspiracy theorists, as well as then-President Donald Trump and his ally Giuliani, claimed they had committed election fraud in the 2020 presidential election. A brief, heavily edited clip of security video was widely circulated online and by Trump allies as supposed proof.

Read the full story here.

Former lawmaker says Trump asked him to overturn the 2020 election but so far special counsel hasn’t contacted him

Former Rep. Mo Brooks is “mildly surprised” Smith’s office has not sought a meeting with him to discuss his accusations that Trump urged him to help “rescind” the 2020 election and “violate the U.S. Constitution and federal law.” 

Brooks, a Republican who represented an Alabama district in Congress, said in an interview that he would meet with prosecutors if they ask.

“Yeah, if they asked me to, I’d explain what I know about it. Whether it’s relevant or material, I’m not sure,” he said, continuing: “I was shocked [Trump] was so blatant about it — illegal conduct.”

Read the full story here.

Former Trump DOJ official Richard Donoghue has met with the special counsel’s office

Former senior Justice Department official Richard Donoghue says he has been interviewed by special counsel Jack Smith’s office but has not been called to testify before the federal grand jury investigating Jan. 6 and efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Donoghue, who confirmed the meeting with Smith’s office Monday, was acting deputy attorney general near the end of the Trump administration. He testified before the House Jan. 6 committee that investigated the Capitol riot.

The special counsel’s office declined to comment to NBC News.

Read the full story here.

Grand jury members are arriving at the courthouse

Daniel Barnesis reporting from the federal courthouse.

Members of the federal grand jury hearing evidence and testimony in Smith’s investigation into 2020 election interference and efforts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power have started to arrive at the courthouse in Washington, D.C.

Multiple members have been seen in the courthouse cafeteria and heading up to the grand jury area on the third floor. 

Special counsel examines 2020 meeting during which Trump was briefed on U.S. election system’s integrity

The special counsel’s office has inquired about a White House briefing Feb. 14, 2020, at which federal officials assured Trump of the security and integrity of the U.S. election system, people familiar with the matter said.

Three sources said the special counsel’s office interviewed them about the White House meeting with Trump. Two of the sources were at the meeting.

In the briefing, officials from multiple agencies — including the FBI, the national intelligence director’s office and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency — laid out why it’s extraordinarily difficult for hacking or fraud to change the results of a U.S. election.

Read the full story here.

Trump teams prepare for possible Thursday grand jury vote

Trump’s legal and political teams are preparing for the possibility that the federal grand jury will vote on charges against the former president as early as Thursday, according to three sources familiar with the thinking of his inner circle.

Trump said July 18 on his social media platform that he was notified that he is a target in an investigation into the Jan. 6 riot and efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The target letter mentioned three federal statutes related to the deprivation of rights, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and tampering with a witness, two attorneys with direct knowledge of the document have said.

Read the full story here.