According to a report, Donald Trump faces 100 years in prison if convicted on all seven counts related to mishandling classified information.
The 76-year-old said Thursday he had been told he would be charged with espionage – the first time in US history that a former president had faced federal indictment.
ABC News reported that Trump faces a possible 20-year prison sentence each on four separate counts: conspiracy to obstruct justice; withholding a document or record; fraudulently conceal a document or record; and concealing a document as part of a federal investigation.
In one case, a ten-year prison sentence is imposed: willful withholding of information from the national defense.
And the last two charges each have a maximum term of five years: concealment schemes and false statements and representations. Trump’s charges remain classified, but his decision to release them means the government could unveil them as early as Friday ahead of a court hearing in Miami next Tuesday.
The news provoked outrage from the Republican Party, with even his 2024 rival Ron DeSantis declaring that “arming federal law enforcement poses a deadly threat to a free society.” DeSantis did not say if he would pardon his rival if Trump is convicted, although he has urged the Florida governor to commit to doing so.
Trump himself – who was in Bedminster, New Jersey when news of the indictment broke – condemned the indictment in a clip that the New York Times said was prerecorded, saying it was a matter of political persecution, and said, “I’m innocent.”
Trump railed against the “corrupt Biden administration” and accused it of election interference in a video released just minutes after the announcement by his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey
The 76-year-old was at his golf club in Bedminster when news of his charges broke
He is due to appear in court in Miami at 3 p.m. Tuesday, where he will face the charges. Trump denies all allegations he is faced with.
His attorney, Jim Trusty, told CNN that all seven charges “are based on a charge under the Espionage Act.”
Jack Smith, the special counsel overseeing the investigation, has not commented.
Despite the pre-recorded clip, CBS News claimed that Trump did not expect to be charged and that he was upset with his inner circle for being told there was little risk of indictment over the classified documents incident.
The former president reportedly complained that those close to him “talked too long and too happily about the prospect of criminal action.”
Jack Smith was appointed special counsel in November to investigate Trump’s handling of classified information
A wealth of classified documents was found in an FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in August (pictured)
In April, he was charged in Manhattan with hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels — those charges, too, were historic.
However, the charge of classified information is nationwide and much more serious, and carries heavy prison terms.
Prosecutors have been investigating the transfer of presidential files to his Mar-a-Lago, Fla., estate for the last year.
THE INSTALLATIONS TRUMP FACES AND THE MAXIMUM SENTENCES FOR JAIL
Trump’s attorneys have confirmed he faces seven federal charges. They have not received the official indictment, but have been sent subpoenas indicating that he faces the charges and maximum penalties listed below.
- Willful withholding of national defense information in violation of the Espionage Act (maximum penalty 20 years in prison if convicted)
- Conspiracy to obstruct justice (20 years)
- Retention of a document or record (20 years)
- Corrupt concealment of a document or record (20 years)
- Concealing a document in a federal investigation (20 years)
- Plan for Obfuscation (five years)
- False statements and representations (five years)
The investigation made headlines in August when the FBI raided Trump’s Florida home and seized 11,000 documents, including about 100 classified as confidential.
For his part, Trump has repeatedly insisted that he did nothing wrong and that he was the victim of a nationwide witch hunt.
At times, the controversy has even boosted his standing in the polls, allowing him to raise money from supporters who see a “deep state” conspiracy to ban him from the 2024 race.
“The corrupt Biden administration has informed my attorneys that I have been charged, apparently on the Boxes hoax, even though Joe Biden has 1850 boxes at the University of Delaware, more boxes in Chinatown, DC, and more boxes at the University of Pennsylvania “And documents are strewn all over the floor of his garage where he parks his Corvette, which is only ‘secured’ by a garage door, which is paper thin and is open most of the time,” Trump wrote on Truth Thursday night social.
“I was subpoenaed to appear in federal court in Miami at 3 p.m. Tuesday. I never thought it possible that something like this could happen to a former President of the United States, who received far more votes than any other sitting President in the history of our country and currently leads by far all candidates, both Democratic and Democratic Republicans, in polls for the 2024 presidential election. I’m an innocent man!’
He released a video later Thursday night.
“It is very sad that we are a nation in decline and yet they are targeting a very popular President,” Trump said.
“I’m an innocent man, I did nothing wrong,” he continued, vowing to “fight that.”
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Trump also said he would “obviously” plead not guilty.
Security around the Miami courthouse is already being tightened ahead of his appearance before a judge, which is scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Trump will be indicted in federal court in Miami on Tuesday. Pictured are news teams staking out their positions on Thursday
The probe into Trump’s handling of classified documents will be overseen by a special counsel, Jack Smith, who was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland in November.
DeSantis, who ranks second in polls across the country, declined to say he would pardon Trump if he won the 2024 race, and the former president was convicted.
However, he condemned the decision to press charges.
“We have seen unequal application of the law based on political affiliation for years,” he said.
“Why are they so eager to pursue Trump and so passive to Hillary or Hunter?” “The DeSantis administration will be accountable to the Justice Department, eradicate political bias, and end the use of guns once and for all.”
Ron DeSantis ran to the defense of his Republican rival Donald Trump in 2024 to attack the Justice Department and ask why it isn’t taking action on Hillary Clinton or Hunter Biden
DeSantis and Trump trade disagreements as the 2024 Republican presidential campaign gathers momentum.
But DeSantis relaxed his vigilance and criticized the move, making Trump the first president to face federal indictments.
He joined Republican congressmen in breaking the double standard of the judiciary, claiming the impeachment timing was opportune amid fresh allegations that President Biden received a $5 million bribe from a Burisma executive as vice president.
DeSantis supporters have said Trump should drop out of the White House race so the Florida governor can pardon him if he wins in 2024. Trump currently has a significant lead over DeSantis in the polls.
“Today is indeed a dark day for the United States of America,” said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
“It is unacceptable for a President to impeach the front runner who opposes him.” Joe Biden kept secret documents for decades.
“I and every American who believes in the rule of law stand with President Trump against this grave injustice.” House Republicans will hold this brazen use of power accountable.”
Josh Hawley, a Missouri senator, tweeted, “If those in power can imprison their political opponents at will, we don’t have a republic.”
And Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, wrote on Twitter: “DOJ indicts former President/Nominee Trump. SAME DAY DOJ/FBI Restricts Access to Unnecessarily Redacted Biden Allegations.”
“And they wonder why people think there are two standards of justice.”