The Justice Department has detailed stunning allegations against Donald Trump in a criminal indictment unsealed on Friday.
They include allegations that he stored classified documents in a bathroom and shower at his Florida club, flaunted the documents to people without security clearances and at times tried to conceal material from his own lawyers as well as investigators.
In the indictment, prosecutors spell out the types of classified material the Republican presidential candidate is accused of keeping at his Florida beach club after he left office in 2021, along with where he is said to have kept them and what he did with them.
A look at key moments as described in the indictment:
– Flaunting documents
In July 2021 at Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, the former president showed a writer, a publisher and two of his staff members — none of whom had security clearance — a “plan of attack” prepared by the Defence Department and a senior military official. In the meeting, which prosecutors said was recorded on audio, Trump told them the plan was “highly confidential”.
“As president, I could have declassified it,” he said. “Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.”
In August or September 2021, more than six months after he was no longer president, Trump showed a classified map of a military operation in a foreign country to someone working for his political action committee who also did not have security clearance. Trump acknowledged he should not be showing the employee the map and warned the staff member not to get too close.
– Documents stored in bathroom and shower
Trump, known for keeping mementos, kept hundreds of classified documents, along with newspapers, press clippings, notes and cards, in cardboard boxes at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, according to the indictment.
Although “tens of thousands of members and guests” visited the club between the time Trump left office and when federal agents retrieved the documents in August 2022, he had documents stored in various places around the resort, including a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, an office space, his bedroom and a storage room.
The documents included “information regarding defence and weapons capabilities of both the United States and foreign countries, United States nuclear programmes, potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attack, and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack”, the indictment said.
– ‘I don’t want anybody looking through my boxes’
When a grand jury in May 2022 issued a subpoena for classified records at Mar-a-Lago, Trump sought to defy the order, telling his lawyers, “I don’t want anybody looking through my boxes”, according to notes from a lawyer detailed in the indictment.
The former president asked his lawyers if it would be better “if we just told them we don’t have anything here”, according to the lawyer’s recollection.
– Directing a lawyer to ‘pluck it out’
One of Trump’s lawyers in June 2022 identified 38 documents with “classified” markings and put them in a folder, which he sealed with duct tape. He then went to see Trump, who asked the lawyer: “Did you find anything? Is it bad? … Is it good?”
The lawyer told federal investigators he discussed the folder with Trump and the former president made a gesture that suggested he wanted the lawyer to identify “anything really bad” and “you know, pluck it out”.
The lawyer that Trump did not articulate such instructions beyond making that “plucking motion”. The lawyer said he did not “pluck” anything from the folder but immediately contacted the FBI and another Trump lawyer.
– Keeping documents from his lawyer
Trump told his valet Walt Nauta “to move boxes of documents to conceal them” from the FBI, the grand jury and one of his own lawyers, according to the indictment.
The former president agreed at a May 23 2022 meeting with his lawyers that one of them would return at a later date to look through storage boxes at Mar-a-Lago for classified documents.
Before the lawyer could return, prosecutors said, Trump directed Nauta to remove 64 boxes from the storage room and take them to his residence. He had Nauta return 30 boxes just before the lawyer showed up to look for documents, the indictment said.
Trump’s lawyers turned over some records to authorities on June 3 2022. Trump told his lawyers he was “an open book”, even though earlier in the day, Nauta had loaded “several of Trump’s boxes… on aircraft that flew Trump and his family north for summer”, the indictment said.
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