"A quick trial": this is what special prosecutor Jack Smith wants, saying Friday, that in the United States, "the laws are the same for all", in this case for the one who was at the head of the country. Donald Trump has endangered the "national security" of the United States by keeping American nuclear secrets after his departure from the White House, according to a historic indictment made public Friday.
The Republican billionaire, who is seeking a second term in 2024, faces 37 charges including "unlawful withholding of national security information" and "obstruction of justice," according to the document.
He is also accused of giving false testimony and colluding with his personal assistant Walt Nauta - also prosecuted - to conceal documents requested by the federal police, the FBI. "I just learned that the thugs of the Department of Justice will indict Walt Nauta, a wonderful man, responded Donald Trump on his network Truth Social. They are trying to destroy his life, like the lives of so many others, hoping that he will say bad things about Trump," he added.
Donald Trump had announced Thursday that he had been indicted by the federal justice for his management of the archives of the White House, a first for a former president, and that he was summoned Tuesday before a court in Miami.
"Victim" of a conspiracy
"I am innocent," he claimed, presenting himself as the victim of a plot orchestrated by his Democratic opponents. The nature of the prosecution had been described by his lawyer, but the court file remained under seal, with the Justice Ministry observing absolute silence.
In the United States, a law requires presidents to forward all emails, letters, and other working documents to the National Archives. Another, on espionage, prohibits the keeping of state secrets in unauthorized and unsecured locations.
In January 2021, when he left the White House to settle in his luxurious Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, Donald Trump had taken dozens of boxes full of files. A year later, after several reminders, he agreed to return 15 boxes containing nearly 200 classified documents.
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The federal police, however, had estimated that he had not returned everything and still kept many in his club in Palm Beach. FBI agents had carried out a spectacular search on August 8 and had seized about thirty other boxes, containing 11,000 documents.
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According to the indictment, classified documents were found "in a ballroom," but also "in a bathroom, in the shower," or in "an office" or "a bedroom."
They "included information on the defense capabilities of the United States and foreign countries," "on U.S. nuclear programs," and "on potential vulnerabilities in the event of an attack on the United States and its allies." The documents also mentioned the names of clandestine human sources.
Joe Biden says he won't interfere
Their potential "dissemination would have endangered the national security of the United States, its international relations," adds special prosecutor Jack Smith, appointed last November to oversee the investigation independently.
Special Counsel Jack Smith. REUTERS/Leah Millis
US President Joe Biden said Friday he was not in contact with Attorney General Merrick Garland about the historic indictment of his predecessor Donald Trump in the case of secret documents that the latter had kept.
"I haven't spoken to him at all and I won't talk to him. And I have no comment on that," he told a reporter when asked about it. Supporters of the former Republican president accuse Joe Biden of instrumentalizing justice before the 2024 presidential election, which could see the two men clash again.