Special counsel Jack Smith has unsealed the 49-page indictment of Donald Trump, who is set to be arraigned on Tuesday. Trump was hit with 37 counts for willfully retaining confidential documents after leaving office.
“Our laws that protect national defense information are critical to the safety and security of the United States, and they must be enforced,” Smith said during a news conference. “Violations of those laws put our country at risk.”
The documents withheld by Trump included “defense and weapons capabilities of both the United States and foreign countries; United States nuclear programs; potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attack; and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack.” Trump allegedly stored the classified documents in various locations at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, “including in a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, an office space, his bedroom, and a storage room.”
He is also accused of showing these documents to others on two instances in 2021 and directing others to obstruct the investigation into the documents’ whereabouts.
Trump’s aide, Walt Nauta, was also indicted for his involvement.
Trump has since responded to the indictment, saying that Nauta is “a member of the U.S. Navy, who served proudly with me in the White House, retired as Senior Chief, and then transitioned into private life as a personal aide.”
He went on to say the former aide has “done a fantastic job” and that the Biden administration is “trying to destroy his life.”
Nauta is accused of moving the boxes of classified material “to conceal them from Trump’s attorney, the FBI, and the grand jury.” He was so labeled a co-conspirator.
Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said the Department of Justice and the U.S. attorney general’s office are conducting a political “witch hunt.”
The 49-page indictment also includes several transcripts, surveillance footage, notes from at least one of his lawyers, audio recordings, and other evidence that federal prosecutors claim Trump knowingly kept top-secret documents and endangered national security, ABC News reported.
Former Vice President Mike Pence responded to the news, saying he is “deeply troubled” by Trump’s indictment during an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt.
“Yesterday on the road in Iowa, I had said I had hoped that the DOJ would see its way clearer not to move forward here. But let me be very clear: No one is above the law,” he added.
Earlier this week, Pence announced his bid for the presidency.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also responded to the indictment of Trump: “The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society,” he posted to Twitter.
“We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation,” he continued. “Why so zealous in pursuing Trump yet so passive about Hillary or Hunter?”
What could seem like an attempt to gain votes, the controversial governor vowed that if elected, his administration would go after the Department of Justice for exercising political bias.
However, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took a different stance, tweeting, “no one is above the law, no matter how much they wish they were.”