Donald Trump will speak Tuesday evening, June 12, from one of his golf courses in New Jersey, after his first appearance in federal court in Miami (Florida), his campaign team announced on Sunday. The former US president, candidate for the Republican nomination in the race for the White House for 2024, is charged with 37 counts including “unlawful retention of national security information”, “obstruction of justice” et “false testimony”.
Accusations he disputes: according to relatives of the former far-right president, the documents that the federal justice accuses him of having withheld from the authorities are nothing more than « notes » personal information or declassified documents. On Fox News, one of his lawyers, Alina Habba, confirmed on Sunday that he will plead not guilty in this case, the political consequences of which are difficult to measure for Donald Trump, still favorite in the Republican primary.
According to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released on Sunday, 47% of a sample of 910 Americans polled Friday and Saturday believe the lawsuits in this case are “politically motivated”, compared to 37% who do not think so. But at the same time, 61% of respondents believe that these lawsuits are “very serious” (42%) or “fairly serious” (19%), including 38% of Republicans.
The former real estate magnate is accused of having, when he left the White House, took away thousands of documents, some of them confidential, when he should have entrusted them to the National Archives, and of having then refused to return most of it despite requests from the federal police (FBI).
Arguments undermined by the indictment
In this context, the allies of the 76-year-old candidate have redoubled their efforts on television sets to ensure that he had nothing to be ashamed of. “He has every right to hold classified documents that he had declassified”assured his lawyer Alina Habba. “These are notes, things he has the right to take away”she added.
“The President’s ability to classify and control access to national security information derives from the Constitution. (…). He said he declassified this material, he can put it wherever he wants, he can treat it however he wants”abounded on CNN the chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives, Jim Jordan, a close ally.
The argument, already put forward by Donald Trump, is undermined by the indictment. We thus learn that in July 2021 the stormy billionaire showed four people without secret-defense clearance “a plan of attack” prepared for him by the Ministry of Defense when he was president. “As president, I could have declassified them (…)now I can’t, but it’s still about secrets »says the one who is already no longer president of the United States, on an audio recording cited by the court document.
Also according to the indictment, the confidential documents “included information on the defense capabilities of the United States and foreign countries”, “on nuclear programs” Americans and “on potential vulnerabilities in the event of an attack on the United States and its allies”.
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“It’s a pretty detailed indictment. And it is overwhelming”Donald Trump’s former justice minister Bill Barr, now critical of the former president after being one of his allies, told Fox News. “The idea that the president has total authority to decree that any document is personal is ridiculous”Mr. Barr said again.