By Brett Rowland (Centre Square)
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland defended Special Counsel Jack Smith on Wednesday after former President Donald Trump was impeached the day before.
“As I said when I appointed Mr. Smith, I did so because it underscores the Justice Department’s commitment to independence and accountability,” Garland said Wednesday. “Mr. Smith is a veteran career prosecutor. He has assembled a group of experienced and talented prosecutors and agents who share his commitment to integrity and the rule of law.
Garland declined to comment further on the matter.
As you know, I cannot speak to the details of this case or any other ongoing criminal case,” he said.
Garland said any questions about the case will have to be answered by court filings.
Trump pleaded not guilty Tuesday in a federal courthouse in Miami to 37 counts alleging that he kept sensitive military documents, shared them with people who lacked security clearances and attempted to circumvent the government efforts to recover them.
The former president was voluntarily released without any travel restrictions. He was ordered not to discuss the matter with his valet and alleged co-conspirator Walt Nauta except through his attorneys, according to court records. The investigating judge who oversaw the indictment also ordered that the investigation begin. This process will require federal prosecutors to share all evidence in the case with Trump’s defense attorneys.
No other court date or hearing had been set in Trump’s criminal case as of Wednesday afternoon.
Trump said the indictment helped his fundraising efforts. Trump is leading early polls for the 2024 Republican nomination for president.
“REALLY BIG FUNDRAISING, EVEN MORE POLLS, SINCE THE RADICAL LEFT ACCUSATION HOAX WAS INITIATED BY THE MISFITS, MUTANTS, MARXISTS AND COMMUNISTS! THANK YOU!!!” Trump posted on his social media platform on Wednesday afternoon.
His campaign said Trump had raised $6.6 million since the indictment, including $2.1 million Tuesday night in New Jersey after he appeared in federal court in Miami earlier in the day.
Related: Judge in Trump Documents Case Orders Lawyers to Obtain Security Clearance
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The 49-page indictment sets out the charges against Trump and Nauta. Trump has been accused of keeping classified documents after leaving office and then obstructing government efforts to retrieve them. The indictment contains specific dates and times with up-to-the-minute details of where the documents were stored, where they were moved and who was involved.
Of the files, 197 contained classified entries, including 98 marked “secret” and 30 marked “top secret.” The “top secret” designation means that unauthorized disclosure “could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave harm” to national security,” according to the indictment. Trump turned the documents over to the National Archives and Records Administration on January 17, 2022, in response to requests from this federal agency.
On June 3, 2022, an attorney for Trump provided the Federal Bureau of Investigation with 38 additional documents with classified marks. And during a Mar-a-Lago raid on August 8, 2022, the FBI recovered 102 additional documents with classified markings.
While the US Secret Service provided security for Trump while he was at his Palm Beach property, Trump never told the agency that classified documents were stored there, according to the indictment. . Mar-a-Lago hosted 150 social events – such as weddings, fundraisers and movie premieres for tens of thousands of guests from January 2021, when Trump left office, until the raid from the FBI on Aug. 8, 2022. Mar-a-Lago had about 150 employees during that time, prosecutors said in the indictment.
Prosecutors say the documents belong to some of the most secretive agencies in the country, including the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, National Security Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, Department of Energy and the Department of State.
The documents contained information on the defense and armament capabilities of the United States and other allied countries, American nuclear programs, possible plans for retaliation in the event of an attack and potential vulnerabilities of the United States, according to the indictment.
Trump stored the boxes in multiple locations at Mar-a-Lago, his 25-room social club in Palm Beach. The boxes that contained classified documents were stored in a ballroom, bathroom and shower, office space, his bedroom and a storage room, prosecutors alleged in the indictment.
The club was not authorized to store classified documents.
Related: Trump Slams ‘Gutless Pig’ Bill Barr After Ex-AG Says He Could Be ‘Toast’ Due to Federal Indictment
Prosecutors further alleged that Trump showed classified documents to people not authorized to see those documents. In one instance, on July 21, 2021, at the Bedminster Club in New Jersey, Trump allegedly showed a writer, an editor and two staff members classified documents. During the taped interview, Trump said the documents were “highly classified” and could have been declassified when he was president, but could not do so after leaving office, according to the indictment. charge. In August or September 2021, prosecutors allege Trump showed a representative of his political action committee a classified map of a country.
Trump is the first president to face federal criminal charges.
As a presidential candidate in 2016, Trump repeatedly spoke about the handling of classified documents.
“In my administration, I will enforce all laws regarding the protection of classified information,” he said on August 18, 2016, according to the indictment. “No one will be above the law.
In April, Trump pleaded not guilty on 34 counts in New York related to charges he paid money to adult film star Stormy Daniels through a lawyer before the 2016 presidential election and the ‘covered as legal fees before being elected president.
Syndicated with permission from The central square.