Former President Donald Trump has been indicted by the Justice Department over his handling of classified documents at his residence at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, according to court documents unsealed Friday.
Trump, who is facing felony charges related to retaining classified information, making false statements and obstructing justice, will appear in court in Miami on Tuesday.
Read live updates on the indictment below:
Key Things To Know Friday Evening
- The indictment against Trump was unsealed Friday afternoon, revealing 37 felony federal charges related to his handling of classified documents after his term in the White House ended.
- It includes several photos of documents stored around Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, including one showing boxes of documents stacked next to a toilet and others showing boxes in a storage room with multiple outside access points.
- Special counsel Jack Smith, who is overseeing the investigation, spoke at a press conference following the indictment’s release, saying: “Our laws that protect national defense information are critical to the safety and security of the United States, and they must be enforced.”
- Following the indictment’s release, Trump posted on his Truth Social site that he didn’t know he couldn’t take documents with him from the White House. “Nobody said I wasn’t allowed to look at the personal records that I brought with me from the White House,” he wrote. “There’s nothing wrong with that…."
Stay Tuned Next Week For More Live Coverage
In the meantime, check out HuffPost.com for more reporting and analysis throughout the weekend.
"It's Actually Incredible, Right?"
Chris Christie Calls Trump Indictment ‘Devastating’
Former New Jersey governor and 2024 presidential candidate Chris Christie (R) told CNN on Friday night that Donald Trump’s indictment is “devastating.”
“Is this the type of conduct that we want from someone who wants to be president of the United States?” he asked, The New York Times reported.
Christie had tweeted about the indictment on Thursday night, before it had been unsealed. He appeared to warn people to be cautious when reading information posted on Trump’s Truth Social account and emphasized the importance of waiting for the facts.
“We don’t get our news from Trump’s Truth Social account. Let’s see what the facts are when any possible indictment is released. As I have said before, no one is above the law, no matter how much they wish they were. We will have more to say when the facts are revealed,” Christie wrote Thursday.
Lisa Murkowski Echoes What Other Lawmakers Have Been Saying: ‘No One Is Above The Law’
“As I’ve stated before, no one is above the law but every American is innocent until proven guilty. Still, the charges in this case are quite serious and cannot be casually dismissed,” she said in a tweet on Friday evening.
She continued: “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. Anyone found guilty – whether an analyst, a former president, or another elected or appointed official – should face the same set of consequences.”
Chuck Schumer And Hakeem Jeffries: ‘No One Is Above The Law - Including Donald Trump’
"No one is above the law - including Donald Trump. This indictment must now play out through the legal process, without any outside political or ideological interference,” the New York Democrats said. “We encourage Mr. Trump's supporters and critics alike to let this case proceed peacefully in court."
Trump Claims He Didn't Know He Couldn't Look At Classified Documents He Took
But according to MSNBC, this isn't true. Several people, including the National Archives and Records Administration and the FBI subpoena, warned Trump not to look at the documents.
"I had nothing to hide, nor do I now. Nobody said I wasn’t allowed to look at the personal records that I brought with me from the White House. There’s nothing wrong with that…." he wrote.
Secret Service Says Business As Usual In Miami
Spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi added, "We have the utmost confidence in the professionalism and commitment to security shared by our law enforcement partners in Florida."
Trump Attacks Smith Ahead Of His Indictment Address
In his post, the former president accused Smith of involvement in the IRS’s investigation of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in 2010.
“This is the man who caused the Lois Lerner catastrophe with the IRS. 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 posted, referencing a meeting Smith had asked for with then-IRS official Lois Lerner, according to NBC News.
Trump continued: “He had a unanimous loss in the Supreme Court. His wife is a Trump Hater, just as he is a Trump Hater—a deranged “psycho” that shouldn’t be involved in any case having to do with “Justice,” other than to look at Biden as a criminal, which he is!”
Smith Vows To Seek ‘Speedy Trial’
“We very much look forward to presenting our case to a jury of citizens in the Southern District of Florida,” he said.
Smith also thanked the FBI for collaborating with his office on the investigation.
“I’m deeply proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with them,” he said.
Special Counsel: Laws Apply To Everyone
"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," Smith said.
"We have one set of laws in this country, and they apply to everyone," he continued. "Applying those laws, collecting facts, that’s what determines the outcome of an investigation. Nothing more, nothing less."
Smith also defended his team of prosecutors as "among the most talented and experienced" in the DOJ.
"They’ve investigated this case hewing to the highest ethical standards, and they will continue to do so as this case proceeds," he said.
Smith Formally Announces Indictment
“I invite everyone to read [the indictment] in full to understand the scope and the gravity of the crimes charged,” Smith said.
Coming Up: Smith Speaks
Marjorie Taylor Greene Speaks Out On Indictment: ‘We Must Win In 2024.’
In a long tweet posted shortly after news of the indictment broke last night, Greene took a dig at the Democratic Party, saying that they must “awake in the night with panic” at the thought of Republicans winning in 2024.
“Their heads must ache painfully from never ending think tank sessions in white walled rooms trying to figure out how to cover up everyone’s crimes because their web of crimes and corruption are so intricately weaved together while they contort their minds to come up with never ending fake crimes from fake accusations as they harass innocent people any where in or near the Trump orbit,” she tweeted on Friday night.
The Republican also took a moment to reference an investigation that found classified documents at President Joe Biden home — among other examples — as a means of highlighting what she called the “biggest hypocrisy in modern day history.”
“Literally on the garage floor next to the garage door that opens and closes, but the corrupt and complicit FBI and DOJ do nothing,” she tweeted.
Fox News Legal Analyst Calls It 'An Extremely Damning Indictment'
"It is an extremely damning indictment. ...This is not an indictment you can dismiss," Turley, a vocal critic of past legal cases brought against Trump, said Friday on Fox News.
"The Trump team should not fool itself. These are hits below the water line. It's damaging," Turley added.
Trump Indictment Reveals The Strange Places He Hid Classified Docs
According to the indictment, Trump stored boxes of classified documents from the CIA, Pentagon, NSA and more in “a ballroom, a bathroom & a shower, an office space, his bedroom and a storage room” at his resort in Mar-a-Lago.
Read the full indictment here.
Lauren Boebert Weighs In Multiple Times On Indictment
Last night, Boebert echoed sentiments that Trump has previously shared on his social media platform Truth Social, tweeting that the former president is “an innocent man caught in a witch hunt.”
“This sham indictment has proven once and for all that there is no low these people won’t stoop to to stop Trump!” she tweeted on Thursday night.
She later posted similar rhetoric to that of other Republican lawmakers, that Trump is being indicted for something that no one else would be charged for.
“The federal government has indicted President Trump for a ‘crime’ that no one else would have been tried for,” she tweeted. “The weaponization of our government is totally out of control and we need to do everything in our power to bring it under control!”
Her comments on the indictment carried into Friday morning, in a tweet where she referenced President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and the controversy surrounding his laptop.
“The same folks that are feverishly going after Trump have had Hunter Biden's revolting laptop for years and years… NO ARREST YET! What am I missing here?” Boebert tweeted on Friday morning.
Special Counsel To Speak
Indictment Reportedly Unsealed
Biden: 'No Comment'
"I have no comment," the president said when reporters asked about his predecessor's legal troubles, according to a pool report.
Marianne Williamson Reacts To Indictment
“No person is above the law, and all are innocent until proven guilty. Both apply to the former president, as they apply to every American,” she said in a statement.
She continued: “The law should be a nuanced instrument, not a meat cleaver, and it should never be an instrument of personal grievance. Such a case as this, if prosecuted unfairly, could set a dangerous precedent; it is to every American's benefit, therefore, that Mr. Trump receives equal justice before the law.”
What's Trump Up To Today? Golfing, Apparently.
Key Things To Know Friday
- A federal grand jury has indicted Trump on criminal charges, this time for removing top-secret documents from the White House, bringing them to his Mar-a-Lago social club in South Florida and refusing to return them. It’s his second indictment in just over two months.
- A U.S. district judge appointed by Trump will reportedly oversee the case.
- Republicans have rushed to defend Trump, with several claiming that President Joe Biden ordered the special counsel overseeing the matter to bring charges, even though there’s no evidence of that.
- Trump valet Walt Nauta, who was seen on surveillance video moving boxes believed to contain classified documents, has reportedly also been indicted.
- Even with two indictments against him — and the possibility of jail time — Trump can still run for the presidency.
Nikki Haley Weighs In
Trump Aide Walt Nauta Indicted In Classified Documents Case: Report
Walt Nauta, a former military valet, worked at Mar-a-Lago following Trump’s presidency. Nauta had previously been eyed by investigators in the documents probe after he was seen on Mar-a-Lago surveillance video moving boxes from a storage room before and after a subpoena was issued.
Nauta later told investigators he moved the boxes at Trump’s request.
It's not yet clear what the charges against Nauta are.
Trump Attorneys Resign
In a statement, Trusty and Rowley said they resigned Friday morning.
"Now that the case has been filed in Miami, this is a logical moment for us to step aside and let others carry the cases through to completion," the statement reads.
Trusty appeared on CNN Thursday evening to defend Trump and criticize the DOJ.
Trump addressed the changes to his legal team Friday morning.
“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,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social site. “I want to thank Jim Trusty and John Rowley for their work, but they were up against a very dishonest, corrupt, evil, and 'sick' group of people, the likes of which has not been seen before.”
Blanche, a criminal defense lawyer, was previously hired by Trump to fight the criminal charges he’s facing in Manhattan over alleged hush money payments.
“We fully cooperated with the Justice Department. I took full responsibility, and I’m pleased the Justice Department concluded that investigation last week, found that it was an innocent mistake,” said Pence, who is running against Trump for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024. “But it was a mistake. We have to protect our nation’s secrets.”
Pence continued: “And my only hope is as we learn about the facts of this indictment next week, that the American people will see in this case that it would meet a high standard necessary to justify the unprecedented federal indictment of a former president of the United States by the current president of the United States’ Justice Department, and by a potential rival.”
Pence previously warned the Justice Department against charging Trump in the documents case, arguing that doing so would be “terribly divisive.”
He stood by that argument during his interview with Hewitt, saying the indictment “sends a divisive message across the country and a terrible message across the wider world.” He also vowed to “clean house” at the Justice Department if elected president.
Biden Ignores Shouted Questions About Trump’s Latest Indictment
Pool reporters tried to get Biden to weigh in on the news as he walked from his motorcade to his presidential plane bound for North Carolina, where he is scheduled to give remarks about workforce training programs.
Biden simply kept walking to his plane.
Mitt Romney: Trump 'Brought These Charges Upon Himself'
“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 said.
Nixon Historian: Trump Understood Power But Not Obligations
“We live in a constitutional democracy. Everybody, including the president, is bound by the Constitution and there are limits to their power,” Naftali said.
“Trump not only had a hard time with limits, he didn’t respect them,” Naftali added. “And this is a case where he was told repeatedly that there were limits on his ability to keep materials and he said, ‘I don’t care.’”
Trump Appointee Judge Aileen Cannon May Initially Oversee Case: ABC
Cannon has come into contact with Trump cases before. She faced criticism last year for granting Trump's request for an independent arbiter to review records taken during the Aug. 8, 2022, search of the former president's Mar-a-Lago residence.
Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart's name also appeared on summons sent to Trump, the sources said. He signed off on the initial search warrant of Mar-a-Lago in 2022 and ruled to unseal the search affidavit.
Trump Admits On Tape He Retained 'Secret' Information: CNN
The network previously reported the existence of the meeting and on Friday said it obtained a transcript of the audio. The transcript suggests Trump is showing a document he's discussing to others in the room.
“All sorts of stuff — pages long, look. Wait a minute, let’s see here. I just found, isn’t that amazing? This totally wins my case, you know. Except it is like, highly confidential. Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this," Trump said.
It's unknown whether the indictment involves this meeting. But the transcript suggests Trump had an understanding that documents in his possession were classified.
Trump Attorney Says She's 'Ashamed To Be A Lawyer'
Habba suggested the indictment was an attempt to distract voters from President Joe Biden, HuffPost's Lee Morán writes.
“What they do is they say, ‘Oh, look at this shiny ball, Jesse. Look at the shiny ball. Let’s go after Trump. Whatever you hear about the Bidens, don’t worry about it. Trump, Trump, Trump.’ It’s called Trump derangement syndrome and now it’s becoming so sick,” she said in a Fox News interview.
Stephen Miller Makes Big Claim About Trump Indictment
“I believe history will record today as the day that we cease to be a democratic republic and we became a people ruled by an unelected government bureaucracy," Miller said on Fox News.
Miller also said he hopes that Republicans, conservatives and “the whole of the country that cares about the rule of law” will coalesce around Trump.
Twitter users promptly criticized his take on things.
Pence Is A No-Show For Sean Hannity Interview Following Indictment News
Pence was scheduled to appear on Hannity’s show at 9 p.m. ET to discuss his 2024 presidential campaign announcement, which he shared in a tweet that appears to be deleted from his account. A source told NBC News that Fox News and Pence’s team mutually decided to reschedule the interview since the Trump indictment was dominating the show’s conversations.
On Wednesday, Pence warned the Department of Justice against indicting Trump, stating that it "would only fuel further division in the country."
This was the last thing that the GOP candidate said on the matter. Pence had not issued a statement about the indictment as of late Thursday.
A Federal Trial Could Take Months To Begin
The hush-money case in Manhattan, in which Trump was indicted in April, won’t go to trial until next March. A federal case will likely take place on a similar timeline, as the long pretrial process will allow his attorneys to prepare a defense once he is arraigned.
The president is known for drawing out cases against him, Politico notes.
Trump Says He Will 'Of Course' Plead Not Guilty
Trump Attorney Says He Hasn’t Received A Copy Of The Indictment
The document they did receive has wording that "suggests what the seven charges would be. Not 100% clear that all of those are separate charges, but they basically break out from an espionage act charge," he said.
"And several obstruction-based-type charges and then false statement charges, which are actually, again, kind of a crazy stretch just from the facts as we know it," Trusty added.
Ron DeSantis Calls Out Indictment: The 'Weaponization Of Federal Law Enforcement' Is A 'Mortal Threat'
The Florida governor also said that there has been an “uneven application of the law” based on political affiliation, name-dropping 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and President Joe Biden’s son Hunter as examples.
Clinton was extensively investigated for her use of a personal e-mail server while she was secretary of state, but “no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information” was found. Meanwhile, Hunter Biden was recently investigated for allegedly failing to file his taxes in 2016 and 2017 and wrongfully claiming $30,000 in deductions for business-related expenses.
“Why so zealous in pursuing Trump yet so passive about Hillary or Hunter?” DeSantis said in his tweet.
He continued: “The DeSantis administration will bring accountability to the DOJ, excise political bias and end weaponization once and for all.”
Secret Service And Trump Team To Meet Friday
At his April indictment and arraignment in New York City in a hush-money case, Trump was accompanied by multiple Secret Service agents and was not handcuffed.