Donald Trump this week became the first former US president to be criminally indicted on federal charges.
These are thirty-seven serious charges related to violations of the national espionage law, false statements and obstruction of justice.
The classified documents Trump stored inside boxes, some of which were found in a bathroom at his Mar-A-Lago residence, included:
- National defense information.
- Weapons capabilities of the United States and allied countries.
- Details of the United States nuclear program.
- Potential vulnerabilities in the event of a military attack on the United States and its allies.
The 49-page criminal indictment contends that “unauthorized disclosure of these classified documents could jeopardize the national security of the United States, its foreign relations, the security of the United States military, human sources of information, and the feasibility of intelligence gathering methods.”
The former president’s main defense is that it is a political “witch hunt” and that the justice department applies a double standard, since classified documents have appeared in the possession of Joe Biden and Mike Pence, in addition to the infamous scandal where emails were stored on servers at Hillary Clinton’s home.
It seems legitimate to me to wonder if the Justice Department is applying a different standard for Biden, Pence or Clinton than it is for Trump, especially since his indictment comes in the middle of a run for the US presidency.
Independent experts agree that there is no comparison between these cases and that of Trump, since he deliberately stole a significant number of documents, he kept them at his house and allegedly lied when they were requested by the National Archives Office.
Furthermore, the criminal indictment shows that the FBI obtained video in which Trump boasts to guests at his residence with classified documents in hand about an attack on Iran and acknowledges that the documents were not declassified. None of his guests had a national security certification to know those facts.
In another section, the accusation maintains that the former president and his lawyers carried out actions to obstruct justice and prevent the full recovery of the documents once they were identified by federal authorities.
Even for Trump’s former Attorney General Bill Barr, the idea that Trump is the victim of a witch hunt is ludicrous, since in his opinion the evidence is damning enough to support the criminal charge.
Unsurprisingly, the former president has pleaded not guilty and maintains that under no circumstances will he stop campaigning for him, even if he had to do it from behind bars.
Polls show that nearly five in ten Americans believe the criminal charge against Trump is admissible, while just over three in ten think otherwise.
Undoubtedly, at this level of political polarization, the acid test falls on the US justice system.
Trump is an innocent man until proven guilty and it will be up to prosecutors to prove to a jury that these allegations constitute a crime. To prove his case, like anyone else, Trump deserves the full weight of the law.