National Security

Special Counsel Jack Smith Breaks Silence On Trump Indictment

Screenshot via MSNBC

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Special Counsel Jack Smith spoke at a Friday press conference for the first time after charging former President Donald Trump with 37 counts stemming from his alleged mishandling of classified material.

“Today an indictment was unsealed charging Donald J. Trump with violations of our national security laws along with conspiracy to obstruct justice,” Smith said at a press conference at which he took no questions. “This indictment was voted by a grand jury of citizens in the Southern District of Florida, and I invite everyone to read it in full to understand the scope and the gravity of the crimes charged. The men and women of the U.S. intelligence community and our Armed Forces dedicate their lives to protecting our nation and its people.”

“Our laws that protect national defense information are critical to the safety and security of the U.S., and they must be enforced. Violations of those laws put our country at risk. Adherence to the rule of law is a bedrock principle of the Department of Justice, and our nation’s commitment to the rule of law sets an example for the world. We have one set of laws in this country, and they apply to everyone. Applying those laws, collecting facts, that’s what determines the outcome of an investigation, nothing more, and nothing less. The prosecutors in my office are among the most talented and experienced in the Department of Justice. They have investigated this case adhering to the highest ethical standards and they will continue to do so as this case proceeds.”

The Department of Justice unsealed the indictment against Trump earlier Friday. It alleges that he improperly retained national security material at his home in Mar-a-Lago detailing American, allied, and enemy military defense capabilities, including nuclear weapons. The indictment also alleges that Trump showed documents to associates at least twice. (RELATED: DOJ Can Resume Using Classified Mar-A-Lago Raid Documents, Court Rules)

Trump faces 31 counts of violating the Espionage Act, one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, one count of withholding a document or record, one count of corruptly concealing a document or record, one count of concealing a document in a deferral investigation, one count of scheme to conceal, and one count of false statements and representations.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago in August 2022. Federal agents seized 102 documents marked top secret, secret, or confidential, the indictment states.

Editor’s note: A previous of this version stated that Federal agents seized 184 documents from Mar-a-Lago in August of 2022. The FBI, in fact, seized a total of 102 documents, according to the newly unsealed indictment.