Donald Trump: “charged with mishandling documents”

The Justice Department did not immediately publicly confirm the charges, which would trigger federal prosecution and arguably the most dangerous of all legal threats against the former president.

US media said the charges included seven counts. Mr Trump said he was due to appear in court in Miami on Tuesday afternoon – making him the first former US president to face federal criminal proceedings.

He has already been charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in New York and faces further investigations in Washington and Atlanta that could lead to criminal charges.

Former President Donald TrumpFormer President Donald Trump

Mr Trump claimed the investigation was a “witch hunt,” posting on his social media platform Truth: “This is indeed a DARK DAY for the United States of America.” We are a country in a serious and rapid decline, but together we will make America great again!”

The charges stem from a months-long investigation by Special Counsel Jack Smith into whether Mr Trump broke the law by storing hundreds of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, and whether he has taken steps to obstruct government efforts to restore the records.

READ MORE: Trump is more likely to end up in jail than the White House

Prosecutors said the former president took about 300 classified documents to Mar-a-Lago after leaving the White House, including about 100 the FBI seized in a search of the house in August, underscoring the gravity of the Justice Department’s investigation .

The former president insisted he was authorized to keep the confidential documents as he left the White House and claimed without evidence that he released them.

Mr. Trump and his team have long viewed the special counsel’s investigation as far more dangerous than the New York affair — both politically and legally.

Attorney Jack SmithProsecutor Jack Smith (AP)

It remains unclear what immediate and long-term political ramifications it will have for Mr Trump.

His first indictment sparked millions of dollars in donations from angry supporters and did not hurt Mr Trump in the polls as the 2024 presidential race draws closer.

Mr Trump’s legal troubles extend beyond the New York indictment and the classified documents case.

The Special Counsel has a separate investigation underway focused on attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, while the district attorney in Georgia’s Fulton County is investigating Mr Trump over alleged attempts to undermine the state’s 2020 election.

READ MORE: Former President ‘Writer Sexually Abused in New York Store’

Meanwhile, Mr Trump’s lawyers have asked a New York judge to reduce the $5 million awarded to writer E. Jean Carroll in a civil lawsuit to less than $1 million.

The payment was awarded by a jury in May on charges of sexual abuse and defamation after E. Jean Carroll claimed the former president raped her in a department store in 1996.

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