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Trump Set to Be Arraigned on Federal Indictment

Former President Donald Trump gives thumbs up as he arrives at his Trump National Doral resort, June 12, 2023 in Doral, Florida.
Former President Donald Trump gives thumbs up as he arrives at his Trump National Doral resort, June 12, 2023 in Doral, Florida.

Former President Donald Trump arrived at his golf club outside Miami on Monday ahead of his arraignment on charges stemming from his alleged mishandling of classified national security documents after he left the White House in 2021.

The arraignment, set for 3 p.m. (EDT) on Tuesday, will take place under heavy security in a federal courtroom in downtown Miami.

Federal authorities have beefed up security around the court building, and Miami officials say they're prepared to prevent violence from Trump supporters and counterprotesters.

"In our city, we obviously believe in the Constitution and believe that people should have the right to express themselves," Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said at a news conference. "But we also believe in law and order. And we know that, and we hope that tomorrow will be peaceful."

Trump's arraignment comes five days after a federal grand jury in Miami indicted him on 37 criminal counts, including 31 counts accusing him of "willfully retaining" classified national defense documents in violation of the Espionage Act.

A Trump aide, Walt Nauta, was also indicted in connection with obstructing government efforts to retrieve the documents.

Trump is the first former president to face a federal indictment. This is the second time in two months that he has been indicted.

The former president faces separate state criminal charges in New York in connection with a hush money payment to an adult film star during his 2016 presidential campaign.

At Tuesday's hearing, a judge will inform Trump of his rights and read the charges against him. He's expected to enter a plea of not guilty.

Usually, arraignments happen within a day of an arrest. But given the unprecedented nature of Trump's case, his initial court appearance was delayed for five days.

The case has been assigned to Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee who drew fire for favoring the former president in her rulings in the case last year.

Cannon briefly blocked federal investigators from examining the documents seized from Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort last August and appointed a special master to review them. But an appeals court later overturned her ruling, saying she did not have the authority to rule as she did.

The charges against Trump stem from an investigation that began after Trump allegedly spurned repeated efforts by the National Archives to take possession of the documents that he had taken from the White House and kept at Mar-a-Lago.

The federal indictment accuses Trump of 31 counts of "willful retention" of classified national defense information, each for a different document that he took from the White House.

Twenty-one of those documents were among the more than 100 that the FBI recovered during a search of Mar-a-Lago last August.

The indictment says the documents contained information about U.S. nuclear programs, the potential vulnerability of the U.S. and its allies to an attack and plans for a possible response. Their disclosure, the indictment says, could endanger U.S. national security.

The six other charges against Trump — which include counts of obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice and false statements — are related to efforts by Trump to obstruct the investigation and conceal his retention of classified documents.

Trump has claimed that he had an order to declassify all documents taken from the Oval Office to his residence in the White House.

But the indictment says Trump was well aware of laws governing classified national security information and willfully flouted them.

In one case, in July 2021, Trump allegedly showed a document about a "plan of attack" to a group of four unauthorized people — a writer, publisher and two staff members — at his New Jersey golf club, telling them it was "highly confidential" and "secret" and that he could no longer declassify it.

In another instance, in September 2021, Trump showed a classified map to a representative of his political action committee, telling him that he "should not be showing it to (him) and that (he) should not get too close," according to the indictment.

After his arraignment, Trump will be released on his own recognizance. The start date of his trial remains uncertain. Some experts speculate that it could take months to begin and might even be postponed until after the 2024 election.

Despite his growing legal troubles, however, Trump is free to pursue his presidential bid and has vowed to continue campaigning even if he is found guilty.

"I'll never leave," Trump told Politico in an interview Saturday.

Trump is reportedly planning to fly to New Jersey following his arraignment where he'll host the first fundraiser for his campaign at his golf club.