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Friday, September 22, 2023

Trump Risked National Secret, Kept US Nuclear Files in the Bathroom, Says Indictment

Trump is scheduled to make his initial court appearance in the case on Tuesday

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

UNITED STATES : On Friday, US prosecutors unveiled a 37-count charge against Donald Trump, accusing him of putting some of the nation’s most important security secrets at risk after leaving the White House in 2021.

Trump handled sensitive papers improperly, including details on the covert American nuclear programme and possible domestic attack vulnerabilities, the federal indictment stated.

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Trump also discussed with his attorneys the notion of lying to government agents looking to collect the record, moved certain documents around his Mar-a-Lago resort house in Florida, and placed others in boxes near a toilet in an effort to hide them, the charges said.

Prosecutors said that the unauthorised exposure of secret information endangered American national security, international relations, and intelligence gathering.

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The Justice Department made the criminal allegations public on a turbulent day when two of Trump’s attorneys, John Rowley and Jim Trusty, left the case for reasons that were not immediately obvious. Walt Nauta, a former adviser, is accused of conspiring with Trump.

Trump is scheduled to make his initial court appearance in the case on Tuesday, the day before his 77th birthday, in a Miami court.

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Trump would serve all sentences consecutively if found guilty, so the most time he might spend behind bars is 20 years for the offence of obstructing justice, which carries the stiffest sentence.

U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is in charge of the prosecution, stated at a press conference that “our laws that protect national defence information are critical to the safety and security of the United States, and they must be enforced.”

Smith made the statement in his first public outing since Attorney General Merrick Garland tasked him with the inquiry last year: “We have one set of laws in this country, and they apply to everyone.”

Smith stated he would look for a quick jury trial in Florida.

Trump has asserted his innocence. He criticised Smith on social media once the allegations were revealed.

Trump stated on his Truth Social platform, “He is a Trump Hater—a deranged ‘psycho’ that shouldn’t be involved in any case having to do with “justice.”

At a time when Trump is the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination next year, the indictment of a former U.S. president on federal charges is unprecedented in American history.

According to Ipsos polls, Trump’s legal troubles have not yet diminished his support among Republican voters.

But the accusations made against him on Friday would offer his Republican opponents in the presidential election justification to question his background in national security. They have mostly sided with him up to this point.

Trump and his allies have claimed that Democratic President Joe Biden is engaging in political retaliation on this issue, although Biden has refrained from commenting. 

Biden later declined to respond when reporters questioned him about the indictment after the White House claimed he was unaware of it beforehand. Trump kept the records at Mar-a-Lago and his New Jersey golf club. 

The indictment contains images showing Trump’s boxes on a ballroom stage, in a club toilet, and in a storage closet, where some were lying on the floor, and claims that Mar-a-Lago hosted tens of thousands of people at more than 150 events during their time there.

The indictment said that seven federal intelligence organisations, including the Pentagon, CIA, National Security Agency, and Department of Energy, provided the sensitive information. One paper dealt with the foreign nation’s support of terrorism against American interests.

Trump allegedly displayed a Defence Department document that was described as a “plan of attack” against another nation, according to the prosecution.

The indictment claims that Trump and Nauta planned to keep the confidential information they had stolen from the White House and conceal it from a federal grand jury. Nauta, who supported Trump at the White House and Mar-a-Lago, is accused on six counts.

According to the indictment, Nauta misled the FBI by claiming he was unaware of how some of the documents came to be in Trump’s suite at Mar-a-Lago when, in reality, he had assisted in moving them there from a storage area.

Documents in the bathroom

At Mar-a-Lago, investigators seized around 13,000 papers nearly a year ago. Even though one of Trump’s attorneys had earlier claimed that all documents with classified markings had been sent back to the government, 100 of them were marked as such.

Trump has previously claimed that he declassified the records while serving as president, but the indictment claims that he knew that after leaving office, he no longer had that authority.

The case was originally assigned to U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, according to a source who was briefed on the situation on Friday. The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, indicated that she might also preside over the trial.

Cannon, who was appointed by Trump in 2019, made headlines last year when she ruled in favour of the former American president at a crucial juncture in the case, which was later overturned on appeal.

It is Trump’s second criminal case; he will also stand trial in New York in March of next year in a state case involving a hush-money payment to a porn star.

If he wins the presidency again, Trump might try to pardon himself, which would be a controversial and unheard-of legal action.

He would not, however, be able to stop the state’s prosecution of him.

If Trump were to win the November 2024 presidential election, the case would not stop him from running for office or from beginning his campaign. Legal experts claim that even if he were found guilty and imprisoned, there would be no reason to prevent his swearing-in.

A second criminal investigation that Special Counsel Smith is leading focuses on Trump and his associates’ attempts to overturn their defeat to Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

Trump faces a separate criminal investigation in Georgia related to his efforts to overturn his loss to Biden in that state.

Also Read: Joe Biden, McCarthy Reach Tentative Deal to Raise US Debt Ceiling


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