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Business News/ News / World/  'Don't want anybody looking through my boxes,' Donald Trump's indictment states; Key takeaways

'Don't want anybody looking through my boxes,' Donald Trump's indictment states; Key takeaways

Former US President Donald Trump is indicted on 37 counts of illegally hoarding classified documents at his Florida estate and lying to prevent their recovery.

US President Donald Trump is scheduled to attend his inaugural court hearing on TuesdayPremium
US President Donald Trump is scheduled to attend his inaugural court hearing on Tuesday

The federal indictment against Donald Trump accuses the former president of illegally hoarding classified documents at his Florida estate after leaving the White House in 2021, and then scheming and lying to thwart government efforts to recover them. The 37-count felony indictment claimed that Trump shared classified maps and the details of a Pentagon "plan of attack" to visitors at his Mar-a-Lago residence. An aide to Trump, Walt Nauta, was charged as a co-conspirator with six felony counts.

Also Read: Donald Trump indictment: Former US President can now file a lawsuit against his niece

The indictment accuse the Republican leader of willfully defying the demands of the Justice Department to return the classified documents. Trump faces 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information under the Espionage Act. Other charges include: conspiracy to obstruct justice; corruptly concealing a document or record; concealing a document in a federal investigation; and making false statements. The stored classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago residence were store in a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, and office space, his bedroom, and a storage room.

Also Read: What does Donald Trump's indictment mean for his 2024 US Presidential candidacy?

Here are the 5 key takeaways of the charges:

1) Indictment accuses Trump of conspiring to hide the secret documents: The conspiracy allegation included a suggestion from Trump that his lawyer falsely tell investigators that the former president didn't have any more classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. It also involved moving boxes to hide the secret documents from Trump's lawyer, and suggesting that Trump's lawyer hide or destroy documents that investigators were seeking. When a grand jury in May 2022 issued a subpoena for classified records at Mar-a-Lago, Trump sought to defy the order, telling his attorneys, “I don’t want anybody looking through my boxes," according to notes from a lawyer detailed in the indictment. The former president asked his attorneys if it "Wouldn't be better if we just told them we don’t have anything here," according to the lawyer's recollection.

2) Trump hid documents from his lawyers: According to the indictment, Trump had told his valet Walt Nauta “to move boxes of documents to conceal them" from the FBI, the grand jury and one of his own lawyers. The former president agreed at a May 23, 2022, meeting with his lawyers that one of them would return at a later date to look through storage boxes at Mar-a-Lago for classified documents. Before the lawyer could return, prosecutors said, Trump directed Nauta to remove 64 boxes from the storage room and bring them to his residence. He had Nauta return 30 boxes just before the lawyer showed up to look for documents, the indictment said.

3) Donald Trump directed lawyers to ‘Pluck it out’: One of Trump's lawyers in June 2022 had identified 38 documents with “classified" markings and put them in a folder, which he sealed with duct tape. He then went to see Trump, who asked the attorney: “Did you find anything? Is it bad? ... Is it good?" The attorney told federal investigators that he discussed the folder with Trump and the former president made a gesture that suggested he wanted the attorney to identify “anything really bad" and “you know, pluck it out." The attorney clarified that Trump did not articulate such instructions beyond making that “plucking motion." The attorney said he did not “pluck" anything from the folder but instead immediately contacted the FBI and another Trump attorney.

4) Classified documents included details of the US Nuclear weapons: Each of the willful retention counts pertains to a specific classified document found at Mar-A-Lago were marked “SECRET" or “TOP SECRET." Topics addressed in the documents include details about U.S. nuclear weapons, the nuclear capabilities of a foreign country and the military activities or capabilities of other countries.

5) Flaunting the classified documents: Earlier in July 2021 at Trump's Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course, the former president showed a writer, a publisher and two of his staff members — none of whom had a security clearance — a “plan of attack" that had been prepared by the Defense Department and a senior military official. In the meeting, which prosecutors said was recorded on audio, Trump told them the plan was “highly confidential." “As president, I could have declassified it," he said. “Now I can't, you know, but this is still a secret." Later in August or September 2021, more than six months after he was no longer president, Trump showed a classified map of a military operation in a foreign country to someone working for his political action committee. Trump acknowledged that he should not be showing the staffer the map and warned the staffer not to get too close.

Meanwhile, Trump's first court appearance on Tuesday is expected to be in front of a magistrate judge in Miami, the case was filed in West Palm Beach — about 70 miles to the north. The case was assigned to Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, who issued rulings favorable to him last year and expressed repeated skepticism of Justice Department positions. 

This indictment arrives at a time when Trump is continuing to dominate the Republican presidential primary. A Trump campaign official described the former president’s mood as “defiant" and he is expected to deliver a full-throated rebuke of the filing during a speech before Republican Party officials in Georgia Saturday afternoon and will also speak in North Carolina in the evening.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Updated: 10 Jun 2023, 12:38 PM IST
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