Trump told lawyers 'I don't want anybody looking through my boxes' in classified documents indictment

9 June 2023, 19:32 | Updated: 9 June 2023, 23:28

Donald Trump is accused of storing classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago residence
Donald Trump is accused of storing classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago residence. Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Kit Heren

Donald Trump kept classified documents that detailed the vulnerabilities of the US and its allies to military attack, according to unsealed documents.

President Trump is facing 37 felony counts that relate to retaining classified information, obstructing justice and false statements.

Mr Trump has become the first former US president to face federal charges, which include obstruction of justice and a violation of the Espionage Act relating to his supposed illegal retention of national defence information at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida.

Prosecutors claim the former president could have put US national security at risk.

The FBI seized documents containing information about the country's nuclear programme and the weapons capabilities of the US and other foreign powers, and"the potential vulnerabilities of the US and its allies to military attack" at Mar-a-Lago.

Some of the documents Mr Trump is accused of revealing include: "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."

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Documents stored in Donald Trump's bathroom
Documents stored in Donald Trump's bathroom. Picture: Alamy

Six images of these documents stored in the former president's home have been released as part of his indictment.

These documents were kept in Mar-a-Lago for more than a year, where they were stored in a ballroom, a bathroom, an office and a bedroom, prosecutors claim.

It is reported that "tens of thousands of members and guests" visited the club between the time Trump left office and when federal agents retrieved the documents. Some 150 staff members work at the club.

Mr Trump is also accused of telling an aide to move boxes of records to conceal them from his lawyer and the FBI and of allegedly showing documents to others without security clearance.

The indictment shows that Trump is accused of acknowledging on multiple occasions that the documents he was showing were "highly confidential" or that he should not be showing them at all.

Prosecutors claim he was personally involved in moving boxes of classified documents to Mar-a-Lago.

It has been reported that a key component in Trump’s indictment also relates to his refusal to hand over the classified documents he was retaining, removing him of the chance to claim it was a mistake.

When a subpoena was issued for the documents by a grand jury in May 2022, the former president tried to defy the order, as he said: "I don't want anybody looking through my boxes."

Donald Trump reacted to subpoena for classified records by saying 'I don't want anybody looking through my boxes'
Donald Trump reacted to subpoena for classified records by saying 'I don't want anybody looking through my boxes'. Picture: Alamy

Meanwhile a tape recording of Trump discussing the documents is reported to be particularly damning.

Special counsel Jack Smith, who brought the charges against Trump, said in brief remarks on the indictment, “We have one set of laws in this country and they apply to everyone.”

He also said he'll "seek a speedy trial" following the indictment.

"I invite everyone to read it in full to understand the scope and the gravity of the crimes charged.

"Our laws that protect national defense information are critical to the safety and security of the United States and they must be enforced. Violations of those laws put our country at risk."

The former president earlier posted on his social media platform that he has been summoned to federal court in Miami next Tuesday. In a video posted shortly after the announcement, he slammed the "corrupt Biden Administration", accusing them of election interference.

Read more: Donald Trump professes he is an ‘innocent man’ as he is indicted on seven charges in classified documents investigation

Read more: Trump 'wants to reduce killing and bloodshed on both sides' in Ukraine, former US diplomat says

The indictment included six photographs of the boxes in Mr Trump's Florida home.
The indictment included six photographs of the boxes in Mr Trump's Florida home. Picture: Alamy

The indictment comes as Mr Trump’s former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, made an agreement to plead guilty to several federal charges.

Mr Trump will have a mug shot and fingerprints taken when he attends court, NBC reported, but the photograph will not be made public.

Mar-a-Lago was investigated by the FBI in a raid last August related to an investigation into whether he took classified documents from the White House.

The Justice Department searched his property in Florida and seized 11,000 documents. Some 100 of these documents were marked as “classified” while others were marked as “top secret” – the removal and holding of such documents at an unauthorised location is illegal.

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Mr Trump added in an online post: "This is indeed a dark day for the United States of America. We are a country in serious and rapid decline, but together we will Make America Great Again!"

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