Thread Trump indicted again

Trump says he’s been indicted in special counsel investigation into classified documents

VIDEO | 01:24
Trump indicted over classified documents

Trump said he has been summoned to appear Tuesday in federal court in Miami. There, the former president will be formally placed under arrest by the government he once led.

Share via

Former President Trump has been indicted in connection with his handling of classified records, he said on social media Thursday, making him the first U.S. president charged with a federal crime.

“The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax,” he said on his Truth Social platform. “I never thought it possible that such a thing could happen to a former President of the United States... I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!”

Trump attorney John Rowley told NBC that his client was indicted on seven counts, but did not reveal the precise nature of the charges. Trump’s legal team did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Times.


The former president said he has been summoned to appear in federal court in Miami on Tuesday afternoon.

Trump’s presidential campaign issued a fundraising appeal to donors within minutes of his social media post claiming that “we are watching our Republic DIE before our very eyes.”

The unprecedented decision to indict him comes after a more than yearlong investigation into whether Trump knowingly retained top-secret and other classified government records when he left office in 2021 and disregarded a subpoena to return all classified documents in his possession, and whether he and his staff obstructed FBI efforts to ensure all documents had been returned.

Presidential and other government records in the White House’s possession must be turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration by the day a president leaves office. Archives staff quickly questioned why some materials were not received from Trump in January 2021, prompting a months-long negotiation with the former president and his staff and resulting in the return of over 15 boxes of material in January 2022, including nearly 200 documents marked as classified.

Archives officials notified the Justice Department about the classified materials, and officials sought a subpoena demanding that Trump return any other classified material in his possession. Trump’s legal team produced about three dozen additional documents and a letter stating that a diligent search had turned up nothing more.

The FBI had information indicating more classified records might be in the former president’s possession and secured a warrant to search Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last August. More than 100 additional documents labeled classified and top-secret were found.


Special counsel Jack Smith was appointed in November by U.S. Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland to oversee the classified documents investigation and another probe scrutinizing Trump’s actions in his effort to remain in office after losing the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden.

A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment. It would be unusual for Smith, a tight-lipped adherent to protocol, to speak publicly before arraignment.

Federal grand juries have been meeting about the documents investigation in both Washington, D.C., and Florida, and it is unclear whether a second set of charges are coming as part of the inquiry. While bringing at least some of the charges in southern Florida is seen as an attempt to head off challenges over venue, it may increase the possibility that the case could land before a Trump-appointed judge.

Trump had luck in that regard early in the investigation, when he challenged the FBI search before Florida District Judge Aileen Cannon, whom he appointed. Cannon’s decision to appoint a special master to review materials taken in the search delayed the investigation for several weeks.

Reports in recent weeks fueled speculation that an indictment was imminent. According to news reports, Trump is heard acknowledging in an audio recording of a summer 2021 meeting that he retained a classified Pentagon document after leaving office. His lawyers have reportedly been unable to find that document, which related to military planning for confronting Iran.

Other reporting indicated that Trump and his aides may have obstructed efforts to retrieve security camera video, and that the special counsel’s team has been asking witnesses about potential damage from the flooding of a room where computer servers containing video surveillance logs were stored.


Garland has adhered to precedent and not overruled Smith’s charging decision.

Smith’s decision adds to the mounting legal challenges Trump faces heading into the 2024 presidential election.

In March, he was indicted in New York City on 34 felony charges related to an alleged hush-money payment made to porn actor Stormy Daniels in the final days of the 2016 campaign. It marked the first time in history that a former U.S. president has been criminally prosecuted.

In addition to Smith’s concurrent investigation into efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election, Fulton County, Ga. Dist. Atty. Fani Willis is leading a criminal probe related to Trump’s alleged efforts to convince Georgia officials to change results there.

In a four-minute video posted on Truth Social, Trump called the indictment “election interference” and an extension of previous probes, including the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Several prominent Republicans quickly echoed his language in statements of support.

“I, and every American who believes in the rule of law, stand with President Trump against this grave injustice,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) said in a statement. “House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable.”

Those efforts appear to have already begun. Earlier this week, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) demanded that the Justice Department hand over documents detailing the scope of Smith’s authority and investigations.


Burbank Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who played prominent roles in both of Trump’s impeachments, tweeted that Thursday’s indictment was an “affirmation of the rule of law.” He also derided the GOP threat to have Congress interfere in an ongoing criminal case.

“For four years, he acted like he was above the law,” Schiff tweeted, referring to Trump. “But he should be treated like any other lawbreaker. And today, he has been.”

The legal challenges are expected to complicate Trump’s campaign. The judge presiding over his New York criminal trial has ordered Trump to be present during the proceedings, which are scheduled to start in March 2024.

Last fall, the handling of classified documents became an unexpected flashpoint ahead of the 2024 presidential campaign with the news that President Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence — who joined the race on Monday — had both discovered they still possessed classified records from their time in the vice president’s office. Those instances stand apart from the Trump case because both men voluntarily turned the documents over to the Justice Department upon their discovery.

On June 1, the Justice Department informed Pence it was closing its investigation into his handling of classified documents without filling charges. Garland appointed a special counsel in January to review Biden’s handling of classified documents; that investigation is ongoing.