Donald Trump charged by federal grand jury over handling of classified national security documents

Former US president tells Twitter followers he has been summoned to appear in court in Miami on Tuesday


Former US president Donald Trump has been charged by a federal grand jury over his handling of classified national security documents which were taken to his home in Florida after he left the White House.

Mr Trump said on his social media platform on Thursday that he had been summoned to appear in federal court in Miami in Florida next Tuesday.

The indictment remained under seal last night.

However the New York Times reported that Mr Trump had been charged with a total of seven counts, including wilfully retaining national defence secrets in violation of the Espionage Act, making false statements and obstruction of justice.


Such charges carry the potential of years in prison if Mr Trump is found guilty.

A lawyer for Mr Trump, Jim Trusty, told broadcaster CNN that the former president’s legal team had not been given the indictment itself but rather a summons directing that he appear in court next week.

He said the summons contained some language suggesting the nature of the charges. He referred to the Espionage act, multiple false statement charges as well as some obstruction-based charges.

The US department of justice did not comment.

Mr Trump on Thursday insisted he had done nothing wrong. He claimed the indictment was politically motivated.

“It is election interference at the highest level. There has never been anything like it. I am an innocent man”, he said.

Special counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed by the US department of justice, has been investigating whether the former president mishandled classified documents after he left the White House in January 2021.

Last August the FBI seized about 13,000 documents at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

About 100 of these documents were marked classified, even though one of Mr Trump’s lawyers had previously said all such records had been returned to the government.

Mr Trump has defended holding on to the documents. He has maintained that he declassified this material while he was in the White House.

However, Mr Trump has not provided evidence of such a declassification and his lawyers have not made such arguments in court.

The developments in Miami next week will mark the second time that Mr Trump has been indicted, but the first time at federal level.

In April, he pleaded not guilty in New York to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records relating to hush money paid before the 2016 election to a porn star with whom it is alleged he had an affair.

Mr Trump is facing a parallel investigation by Mr Smith into attempts to hold on to power after the presidential election in 2020 and issues surrounding the attack on the US Capitol in Washington in January 2021 by his supporters as Congress was formally certifying the victory of Joe Biden as president.

A district attorney in Georgia is also carrying out an investigation into whether Mr Trump and others broke the law in trying to overturn his 2020 election defeat in the state.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent