Trump on Trial

Trump facing 37 criminal counts, unsealed federal indictment says

Former President Donald Trump faces 37 criminal counts involving confidential documents found at his Mar-a-Lago residence.

Trump facing 37 criminal counts, unsealed federal indictment says
Charlie Neibergall /AP
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The Department of Justice has unsealed the indictment of former President Donald Trump and associate Walt Nauta. The indictment is related to classified documents found at Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence.

Trump is facing 37 criminal counts, according to the indictment. 

31 counts - Willful retention of national defense information

1 count - Conspiracy to obstruct justice

1 count - Withholding a document or record

1 count - Corruptly concealing a document or record

1 count - Concealing a document in a federal investigation

1 count - Scheme to conceal

1 count - False statements and representations 

The first 35 counts carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. 

Trump will be arraigned on Tuesday. 

The former president has called the charges a "witch hunt." Trump has not denied having the classified documents, but maintained that the documents were declassified when he left office.

The DOJ said that on Jan. 17, 2022, Trump provided 15 boxes containing 197 documents after the National Archives demanded he turn over records. On June 3, 2022, the DOJ said Trump’s attorneys handed over 38 additional classified documents. Then on Aug. 8, 2022, federal officials issued a search warrant. The DOJ said the warrant turned up 102 additional documents with classified markings.

The indictment alleges that Trump kept classified documents in a ballroom, in bathrooms and in showers at Mar-a-Lago. It also says that on at least two occasions Trump showed documents to individuals who were unauthorized to view classified documents.

The DOJ alleged that Trump directed his attorneys to lie about possessing these documents.

“What if we, what happens if we just don’t respond at all or don’t play ball with them," Trump said, according to the indictment.

Nauta is facing six counts, including withholding a document, corruptly concealing a document and conspiracy to obstruct justice. 

Jack Smith, the special counsel assigned by Attorney General Merrick Garland to handle investigations involving Trump, delivered a brief statement Friday afternoon defending the work of investigators and encouraged the public to “read it in full to understand the scope and gravity of the crimes charged.” 

“Our laws that protect national defense information are critical to the safety and security of the United States and they must be enforced,” Smith said. “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 added. “We have one set of laws in this country and they apply to everyone applying those laws, collecting facts.”

DOJ says it has an audio tape

The indictment contains a transcript of a conversation Trump had with a writer for an upcoming book in which he shows off a document and acknowledges that it is classified and that he cannot declassify it.

The Department of Justice released the following transcript of the conversation Trump had:

TRUMP: Well, with [the Senior Military Official]-uh, let me see that, I'll show you an example. He said that I wanted to attack [Country A]. Isn't it amazing? I have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up. Look. This was him. They presented me this—this is off the record, but they presented me this. This was him. This was the Defense Department and him.

Wow.

We looked at some. This was him. This wasn't done by me, this was him. All sorts of stuff-pages long, look.

STAFFER: Mm.

TRUMP: Wait a minute, let's see here.

STAFFER: [Laughter] Yeah.

TRUMP: I just found, isn't that amazing? This totally wins my case, you know.

STAFFER: Mm-hm

TRUMP: Except it is like, highly confidential.

STAFFER: YEAH [Laughter]

TRUMP: Secret. This is secret information. Look, look at this. You attack, and - 

TRUMP: By the way. Isn't that incredible?

STAFFER: Yeah.

TRUMP: I was just thinking, because we were talking about it. And you know, he said, "he wanted to attack [Country A], and what . . ."

STAFFER: You did.

TRUMP: This was done by the military and given to me. Uh, I think we can probably, right?

STAFFER: I don't know, we'll, we'll have to see. Yeah, we'll have to try to-

TRUMP: Declassify it.

STAFFER: -figure out a-yeah.

TRUMP: See as president I could have declassified it.

STAFFER: Yeah. [Laughter]

TRUMP: Now I can't, you know, but this is still a secret.

STAFFER: Yeah. [Laughter] Now we have a problem.

TRUMP: Isn't that interesting?

Read the full indictment

DOJ

DOJ