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DONALD TRUMP INDICTED BY DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Donald Trump
Scott Olson/Getty Images

This is the first time a former president has faced federal criminal charges.

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The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted Donald Trump on several criminal charges, The New York Times and other major outlets, including NBC News, are reporting.

The indictment, filed in U.S. District Court in Miami, “is the first time in American history a former president has faced federal charges,” the Times reports. They were filed by the office of Special Counsel Jack Smith, appointed by the DOJ to investigate Trump.

The Times and NBC confirmations came after Trump announced on his social media platform, Truth Social, that he was going to be indicted and would appear in court Tuesday. The charges are related to the discovery of classified documents from his presidency at his home in Florida, Mar-a-Lago. The indictment includes seven counts of criminal wrongdoing, the Times reports, "including willfully retaining national defense secrets in violation of the Espionage Act, making false statements and an obstruction of justice conspiracy."

Trump has already been charged in New York City in the hush-money case related to payments to adult-film star Stormy Daniels. He is set to go to trial in March. He will likely face other charges in connection with his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and the attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters on January 6, 2021, as Congress was certifying the electoral vote.

The charges will undoubtedly complicate his run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Former Vice President Mike Pence and President Joe Biden have also been found to be in improper possession of classified documents, Biden's from his time as a U.S. senator and Barack Obama's vice president. But both Biden and Pence have cooperated with the Justice Department and turned over the documents, whereas Trump has obstructed investigators, according to public legal filings in the case. He finally turned over 15 boxes of documents in January 2022. Trump has also repeatedly said he did nothing wrong and had every right to retain the documents.

Democratic leaders responded to the indictment news by saying no one is above the law. "Donald Trump is now facing federal charges," tweeted U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who was manager of the first impeachment of Trump. "He will try to weaponize this indictment for political gain. Because winning the presidency may be his only hope of avoiding jail. He must be held accountable. There’s one standard for the rule of law. Anything else is not democracy." It is Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be prosecuted.

"Never before has a former president been indicted for a federal crime," U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado tweeted. "By indicting Trump & holding him accountable for his actions, America’s justice system is once again showing its strength & reminding us all: No one is above the law in this country, not even former presidents."

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.