POLITICS

Former President Trump Indicted On 37 Charges Of Espionage And Obstruction

Former President Donald Trump has been indicted by the Department of Justice on 37 charges, including 31 counts of violations of the Espionage Act, as part of a special counsel investigation into his handling of classified documents from his time in the White House.

The indictment, which was unsealed on Friday, accuses Trump of storing boxes containing classified documents in various locations at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, including a ballroom, a bathroom, his office, his bedroom, and a storage room.

The documents contained some of the country’s most important secrets, such as information on foreign nations’ nuclear capabilities, U.S. military plans and vulnerabilities, and potential retaliation strategies in case of an attack.

According to the indictment, Trump not only retained and concealed the documents from federal authorities but also showed them to individuals without security clearances at his golf club in New Jersey. He allegedly acknowledged knowing the documents were classified, saying, “this is still a secret” to one of his guests.

Trump is also charged with conspiring with his personal valet, Walt Nauta, who helped him move and hide the boxes of documents from his lawyer, the FBI, and the grand jury. He also allegedly suggested his lawyer falsely tell the FBI and the grand jury that he did not have any classified documents and that a diligent search was conducted.

The indictment includes several photos of the boxes in different locations around Mar-a-Lago, showing how they were left unsecured and exposed to unauthorized access. One of the photos shows a stack of boxes that had fallen over in a storage room, revealing documents marked with a designation that the information can only be released to the closest allies of the U.S.: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

The charges against Trump include:

Willful retention of national defense information

Conspiracy to obstruct justice

Withholding a document or record

Corruptly concealing a document in a federal investigation

Scheming to conceal

False statements and representations

He faces up to 10 years in prison for each count of violating the Espionage Act and up to five years for each count of obstruction.

The indictment is the result of a two-year investigation led by special counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland in March 2021. Smith said in a brief televised statement that he urged the public to read the indictment in order to understand “the gravity of the crimes charged.”

“We have one set of laws in this country, and they apply to everyone,” Smith said. “Applying those laws, collecting facts, that’s what determines the outcome of an investigation.”

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called the indictment “a witch hunt” and “a political hit job” by the Biden administration. He said he was confident that he would be exonerated by a jury of his supporters.

“This is a disgraceful attempt to silence me and stop me from speaking out against the radical left agenda that is destroying our country,” Trump said in a statement. “They are trying to take away my freedom of speech and my right to defend myself. They are afraid of me because I am exposing their corruption and their lies.”

Congressional Republicans have also rallied behind Trump, with some GOP leaders vowing to investigate the Biden administration over accusations of political malfeasance. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he would launch a probe into whether Smith’s investigation was influenced by partisan interests or pressure from the White House.

“This is an unprecedented abuse of power by the Justice Department and a clear attempt to undermine the will of the American people who elected President Trump twice,” McCarthy said. “We will not stand by and let this happen. We will get to the bottom of this and hold those responsible accountable.”

The indictment comes just months after Trump was acquitted by the Senate in his second impeachment trial for inciting the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

He is also facing several civil lawsuits and criminal investigations in New York and Georgia over his business dealings and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

Trump is expected to appear in court next week for his arraignment on the charges. He has not yet announced who will represent him in this case.

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Readers Bureau, Contributor

 Edited by Jesus Chan

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