Former President Donald Trump said Thursday that his lawyers have been told he has been indicted in the classified documents probe
The U.S. Justice Department has not yet confirmed the indictment.
Trump was in Bedminster, New Jersey when he learned about the indictment, The Associated Press reported. Prosecutors contacted Trump’s lawyers just before Trump announced on his Truth Social platform that he has been indicted.
The indictment includes seven counts, according to two people briefed on the charges, The New York Times reported.
The Times reported that the charges include conspiracy to obstruct, willful retention and false statements, according to sources familiar with the indictment.
Trump on his Truth Social platform said that his arraignment is on Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET, according to the Times.
The White House said that they were not given advanced notice of the indictments, the newspaper reported.
This indictment is the first time in U.S. history that a former president has faced federal charges, according to the Times. The indictment was filed in Federal District Court in Miami.
The Department of Justice informed the former president’s legal team earlier this week that he was the target of a federal investigation into the possible mishandling of classified documents, several media outlets, including CNN, reported.
In filings last year, prosecutors said they were looking at whether Trump broke any laws concerning the handling of national security documents and whether he obstructed government attempts to get them back, the Times reported.
More than 300 documents with classified markings were found at his private club and residence, Mar-a-Largo. Some were found during an FBI search of the property two months after the former president told government officials that a search of the property came up empty, the newspaper reported.
The search happened after Trump had said that he had returned all classified documents. The National Archives later recovered 15 boxes of documents from Trump’s time in the White House.
The FBI search found about 100 additional documents with classified markings. Recent reports allege that staff members moved boxes out of a storage area after his office received a subpoena for the documents in May 2022. They were moved back into the storage area the next month.
Another search at Trump’s other properties found at least two items with classification markings. Those were found in a storage unit in West Palm Beach.
The notification showed that special counsel Jack Smith was looking directly at Trump and not his support system.
The Justice Department allows prosecutors but does not require them, to tell people when they have become a target - rather than the subject - of an investigation. It usually indicates that an indictment could come, but that is not always the case. Sometimes the person is not charged.
When someone is told they’re a target, they can present evidence or testify in front of a grand jury if they decide to do so.
Trump’s attorneys met with Smith on Monday to try to prevent charges from being filed, the Times reported. Two days later, a grand jury in Miami heard testimony from several witnesses, including former Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich.
The use of a Miami grand jury indicated that it may be the correct venue for potential charges if they were to be filed, The Associated Press reported. CNN reported on air that charges are filed when an alleged crime happened, alluding to the documents being held in South Florida rather than in Washington, D.C. The Washington Post also reported this week that a “significant portion” of charges would be filed in federal court in South Florida, but the newspaper said that there may be additional charges that would be filed in Washington such as perjury or false statements.
Before this week, the grand jury in Washington heard from Trump’s White House advisors, Mar-a-Lago staff and more than 20 members of his Secret Service detail, the Times reported.
Trump told The New York Times he was not told he would be indicted but did not say whether he was told he was a target, adding that he had done nothing wrong.
Trump is not only being investigated by the Justice Department.
The former president was indicted in New York in a hush-money case and is being investigated in Georgia over his alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election.
Trump announced that he is running for president in the 2024 election.