Former US President Donald Trump has been charged with mishandling classified documents at his home in Florida, in a remarkable development that makes him the first former president in US history to face criminal charges by the federal government he once oversaw.
The Justice Department had been expected to announce a seven-count indictment ahead of his historic court appearance next week in the midst of a 2024 presidential campaign punctuated by criminal trials in multiple states.
The indictment carries serious and unequivocal legal consequences, including the possibility of imprisonment if Trump is convicted. But it also has huge political ramifications, potentially upending the Republican presidential primaries that Trump had been in control and testing again the willingness of GOP voters and party leaders to commit to a twice-indicted candidate who could face more charges.
The Justice Department did not immediately publicly confirm the indictment. But two people familiar with the situation who were not authorized to discuss it publicly said the indictment included seven criminal counts. One of those people said prosecutors contacted Trump’s lawyer shortly before he announced Thursday on his platform, TruthSocial, that he had been charged.
Trump declared his innocence in a video clip and repeated what he used to do, which is that “the investigation is a witch hunt.”