On Tuesday, Donald Trump announced that he had been charged with mishandling secret papers at his Florida residence.
This sparked a federal investigation, likely the most dangerous of several legal threats the former president faces as he strives to retake the White House.
The indictment was not immediately officially confirmed by the Justice Department.
At the moment, Trump is in Bedminster, New Jersey. A person with knowledge of the matter who was not authorized to address it publicly said that just before Trump announced his indictment on his Truth Social platform, prosecutors contacted his attorneys.
After making the announcement, Trump started raising money for his 2024 presidential campaign 20 minutes later.
Trump stated that he is scheduled to appear in Miami on Tuesday afternoon in court.
Trump is now in even more legal danger due to the case. He has already been charged in New York and is already the subject of other investigations in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Trump’s claims of broad presidential authority will be contrasted with Attorney General Merrick Garland’s oft-repeated maxim that no one, not even a previous commander in chief, should be seen to be above the law as the case proceeds.
The indictment results from a months-long investigation by special counsel Jack Smith into whether Trump violated the law by keeping hundreds of documents marked confidential at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach and whether Trump took actions to thwart the government’s attempts to get the records.
According to prosecutors, Trump brought around 300 secret documents to Mar-a-Lago after leaving the White House, including about 100 that the FBI collected during a search of the residence in August last year, underscoring the seriousness of the Justice Department’s inquiry.
The special counsel inquiry has always been viewed by Trump and his administration as far riskier than the New York case, both politically and legally. Since Trump’s attorneys were informed that he was the subject of the investigation, campaign staffers had been preparing for the consequences, anticipating that it was only a matter of time until charges were filed.
What the short- and long-term political repercussions for Trump will be, however, is still unknown.
Trump’s popularity didn’t suffer from his first indictment, which sparked millions of dollars in donations from furious fans.
Whatever happens, the charge and the subsequent court battle will thrust Trump back into the public eye and divert attention from the other contenders attempting to gain ground in the 2024 presidential election.