A 37-count criminal indictment against former president Donald Trump was unsealed Friday afternoon, revealing that Trump intentionally took away classified documents and showed them to people who did not have a security clearance.
“This indictment says Trump intentionally took away classified documents and then showed them to people without a security clearance. If he did that, that’s a guaranteed trip to the slammer,” Richard Painter wrote.
The indictment was made public one day after Trump was charged federally with seven counts in southern Florida.
It lays out that Trump took documents that could put at risk the national security of the United States, foreign relations, the safety of the U.S. military and human sources. Of the 37 counts, there are 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information.
The documents Trump took are related to defense and weapons capabilities of the U.S and other countries, vulnerabilities of the United States to military attack, U.S. nuclear programs, and plans for possible retaliation in response to an attack by a foreign country.
“The classified documents Trump stored in his boxes included information regarding defense and weapons capabilities of both the United States and foreign countries; United States nuclear programs; potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attack; and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack.”
It charges that Trump showed classified documents on two occasions to other people after he left office.
One of these documents was a document Trump told the others in the room with him in July of 2021 was prepared for him by the Pentagon and was called a “plan of attack.”
Then in August or September of 2021, Trump showed an operative from his PAC a classified map related to a military operation.
The document lays out how Trump took steps to obstruct the investigation into his handling of classified documents, including instructing his attorney to tell the DOJ that he didn’t have the documents listed in the subpoena.
It lists his valet Walt Nauta as his co-conspirator and alleges that Trump instructed Nauta to move documents for the purpose of hiding them not only from the FBI but from his own attorneys. Furthermore, it alleges that Trump suggested his lawyer to hide or destroy the evidence sought by FBI agents.
Nauta had at one point texted two photos to another Mar-a-Lago employee showing spilled classified documents on the floor that included intelligence releasable only to “Five Eyes” countries (U.S., UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand).
Trump stored these documents all over Mar-A-Lago, including a ballroom and a bathroom and shower.
The document makes it clear that after his presidency, Trump was not authorized to posses or retain these documents. While it is possible to obtain a waiver Trump did not obtain one.
In closing, 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information represents a staggering threat to the security of our country, our military, intelligence collectors, alliances and more. It’s clear from the indictment that when he wasn’t sharing it deliberately with others, Trump was also reckless and careless with the top secret, sensitive and critical information.
Donald Trump is innocent until proven guilty and he has denied all accusations and charges against him.
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Sarah is two-time Telly award winning video producer and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.