By ERIC TUCKER, JILL COLVIN and MICHAEL BALSAMO (Associated Press)
MIAMI (AP) — Donald Trump said Thursday he has been accused of mishandling classified documents at his Florida estate, triggering a federal prosecution that is perhaps the most dangerous of multiple legal threats against the former president as he trying to reclaim the White House.
The Justice Department did not immediately publicly confirm the indictment.
Trump is currently in Bedminster, New Jersey. A person familiar with the situation, who was not authorized to discuss it publicly, said Trump’s lawyers were contacted by prosecutors shortly before he announced on his Truth Social platform that he had been indicted.
Within 20 minutes of his announcement, Trump began fundraising for his 2024 presidential campaign.
Trump said he is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon in Miami.
The case adds to deepening legal jeopardy for Trump, who has already been indicted in New York and faces additional investigations in Washington and Atlanta that could also lead to criminal charges. As the impeachment moves forward, it will pit Trump’s claims to expand executive power against Attorney General Merrick Garland’s oft-stated mantra that no person, including a former commander in chief, should be seen as above the law.
The indictment stems from a month-long investigation by special counsel Jack Smith into whether Trump broke the law by keeping hundreds of documents marked classified at his Palm Beach estate, Mar-a-Lago, and whether Trump took steps to hinder the government’s efforts to recover. the records.
Prosecutors said Trump took about 300 classified documents to Mar-a-Lago after he left the White House, including about 100 that were seized by the FBI last August in a search of the home that underscored the seriousness of Department of Justice investigation.
Trump and his team have long seen the special counsel’s investigation as far more dangerous than the New York matter — both politically and legally. Campaign aides have been bracing for fallout since Trump’s lawyers were told he was the target of the investigation, assuming it wasn’t a matter of if charges would be brought, but when.
But it remains unclear what the immediate and long-term political consequences will be for Trump. His first impeachment spurred millions of dollars in contributions from angry supporters and didn’t hurt Trump in the polls. Regardless, the indictment — and the legal battle that follows — will thrust Trump back into the spotlight, drawing attention away from the other candidates trying to build momentum in the 2024 presidential race.