Former President Trump said Thursday that his legal team has been told he’s been indicted in an investigation into his handling of classified documents.
Trump posted on Truth Social that he has been summoned to appear in federal court in Miami on Tuesday afternoon.
“I never thought it possible that such a thing could happen to a former President of the United States, who received far more votes than any sitting President in the History of our Country, and is currently leading, by far, all Candidates, both Democrat and Republican, in Polls of the 2024 Presidential Election. I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!” Trump wrote on the social media platform.
“This is indeed a DARK DAY for the United States of America. We are a Country in serious and rapid Decline, but together we will Make America Great Again!” he added.
One of Trump’s attorneys in the matter, Jim Trusty, confirmed the indictment during a late Thursday appearance on CNN, indicating that the former president is facing charges on seven counts, including for violations of the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice.
Special counsel Jack Smith has been overseeing the investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents since he was appointed to the role in November.
Trump’s attorneys met earlier this week with Justice Department officials, including Smith. Experts widely viewed the meeting as a sign that Smith’s investigation was winding down.
The National Archives spent months seeking the return of presidential records after Trump left office, with Trump’s team eventually turning over a tranche that included nearly 200 classified records.
That ignited the Justice Department investigation that included a subpoena for records and eventually spurred the August 2022 search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, where the FBI found more than 100 additional classified records. Trump’s team in June had turned over just 38 classified records when asked to hand over any remaining classified materials.
The warrant the FBI secured to search the property indicated that they expected to find evidence to support violations of the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice.
Trusty said those charges were included on what he described as a summons rather than an indictment along with charges for making a false statement. Also included was a charge under a statute dealing with witness tampering, which covers obstruction of an official proceeding, a charge leveled against numerous Jan. 6 defendants.
He said he also believes a conspiracy count is included among the charges, an indication others would face charges in the probe.
“He’s gonna show up,” Trusty said of Trump’s Tuesday summons.
“Look, he knows he’s innocent. He knows this is garbage. He knows there’s fundamental flaws with each one of the counts that they’re apparently putting in this indictment,” his lawyer said. “And he knows that the whole process starting from the Archivist, was a corrupt and politicized one, so he’s not shrinking from the fight. He’s disappointed that this is where we are as a country.”
Trusty declined to answer when the Justice Department told Trump he was a target of the investigation but added, “let me just put it to you this way: witnesses don’t have raids and their houses. We’ve known he’s a target.”
The special counsel’s office declined to comment on the matter, while the larger Justice Department did not respond to request for comment.
The White House said it had no advance notice of the Trump indictment and learned of the news from media reports.
The notice to appear in Miami comes after the Justice Department recently began bringing witnesses before a grand jury there, and could suggest it plans to pursue a broad case against Trump. Much of the activity to support both Espionage Act and obstruction of justice occurred in Florida.
Doing so could also shield the prosecution from legal challenges based on bringing the charge in an improper venue, as defendants have a right to face trial in the location where the alleged crime occurred.
Regardless, the indictment is a historic one — the first-ever federal criminal charges brought against a former president. Trump was indicted on state charges in New York in a separate matter earlier this year.
Trump has offered various defenses, including that he had the right to take the documents and that he could unilaterally declassify them without going through any formal process.
Multiple outlets reported last week that prosecutors obtained audio of Trump in 2021 discussing a classified Pentagon document he still had in his position, and that he indicated there were restrictions on who could view it — a comment that could undercut his defense.
The Espionage Act also only requires wrongfully retaining national defense information, meaning prosecution does not hang on a documents’ classification status.
Trump has compared his handling of classified documents to President Biden ever since late last year and earlier this year when Biden aides discovered sensitive classified materials from Biden’s time as vice president at an old Washington, D.C., office and his Delaware home.
But Biden’s team notified Justice Department officials of the discovery and are cooperating with an ongoing special counsel review of Biden’s handling of classified materials.
The indictment is likely to loom over Trump’s 2024 campaign for the White House, but the former president and his team wasted little time Thursday seeking to rally support.
Trump’s campaign sent out a fundraising email shortly after he announced he was charged looking to raise funds off of the news.
Trump is currently scheduled to attend state GOP events in North Carolina and Georgia on Saturday. A Trump spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment about whether those plans had changed.
Updated June 8 at 10:45 p.m.