How did the ex-president of the United States manage to get under the espionage articles? Will they put him in jail? Does this mean the end of his 2024 presidential campaign? The answers to these questions can be found in the “RG” material.
What will Trump be accused of?
<p>Trump will be formally charged personally on June 13, for which he was summoned to the Miami State Attorney’s Office. His lawyers have already been informed that the charges are ready. According to CNN, the prosecutor’s document includes seven points, some of which relate to the Espionage Act, namely the unlawful use of defense information. Additionally, Trump’s attorney explained that he could be charged with obstruction of justice and knowingly providing false information.
We are talking about official documents, including classified ones, that Trump allegedly took from the White House after his term ended, and did not turn over to the US National Archives and Records Administration, as required by law. Last year, FBI agents raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, Florida mansion in connection with the case, seizing several boxes of documents. He himself claimed that there could be no violation on his part, because he, as head of the White House, had the power to declassify all the documents he had. But sources at The Washington Post newspaper reported that they were talking about some nuclear weapons documents that it was unable to declassify.
In general, such a turn is far from a surprise. Of all the ongoing investigations against Trump, this one was seen as potentially the most dangerous for him.
Will Trump go to jail?
Formally, violating the sections of the Espionage Act, under which Trump will be charged, carries a jail term of up to 10 years. And for the articles that are accused of obstructing justice (pressure on a witness, victim or informant) and providing knowingly false information (destruction, alteration or falsification of data), you can bail up to 30 and 20 years, respectively.
Recall that earlier, New York prosecutors had already filed charges against Trump in another case – the falsification of business documents, which is considered a crime if done to conceal another violation. This is punishable by up to four years in prison, although if there is no criminal record a lighter sentence is usually chosen. The trial in this case is scheduled for the first half of 2024.
Former American presidents have never been imprisoned. But Trump’s opponents have repeatedly proven they are not shy about comparisons to “banana republics” to persecute political opponents. Time and again, actions unprecedented for the United States are taken against him. Previously, he had already become the first president in US history to be impeached twice, and after that, the first ex-head of the White House, whose house was raided by the FBI, who was charged with criminal charges and placed under arrest for this. Therefore, it cannot be excluded that he could be taken into custody and ultimately found guilty and sent to prison.
So far, Trump’s lawyers are confident that on June 13, after the charges are filed, he will not be immediately arrested, since there is talk of a voluntary appearance on the agenda.
What does this mean for the 2024 elections?
The lawsuits against Trump could become a central campaign topic ahead of the 2024 presidential election, in which he is still seen as the Republican Party’s leading candidate. He himself called the charges prepared against him an attempt by his opponents to “destroy his reputation” and “interference in elections”. He believes he is “leading in the polls” both compared to re-elected Joe Biden and the rest of the Republicans.
Trump allies are comparing various investigations against him to the actions of the Gestapo, accusing President Joe Biden’s administration of destroying justice and using it to suppress a political opponent.
Trump will obviously continue the campaign. So far, numerous attacks on him, including an FBI raid on his mansion in connection with a classified documents case, have had little effect on his support. The theoretical acknowledgment of his guilt and an actual prison sentence, of course, can lower his rating. But it is more likely to provoke fierce resistance from conservatives.
In the meantime, from a legal point of view, even the most negative scenario will not prevent Trump from running for office, or even becoming President of the United States. Earlier, Business Insider, citing reputable US lawyers, explained that the US constitution does not prohibit being elected in prison. Moreover, in the history of the country there were already two precedents with the participation of prisoners in the presidential elections (in 1920 and 1992). Behind bars, you can also exercise a significant part of presidential powers – from swearing in to working with documents, and the officer accompanying the US president with a “nuclear suitcase” can sit in the next cell.
Are the accusations against Trump true?
We leave the legal depth of the matter to American jurists, but it should be noted that Trump supporters have good reason to view the judiciary as biased against him. There are enough cases of ordinary American intelligence officers being imprisoned for the illegal use of classified documents. But when it comes to big politics, the American Themis can apply other standards.
A few months ago, US Department of Justice investigators raided President Joe Biden’s personal home in Wilmington, Delaware, and other locations where they found classified documents. Storing them outside the walls of the National Archives, as the media points out, may constitute a violation of the Espionage Act. The searches were carried out with the consent of the White House chief after the discovery of documents containing intelligence data at the Joe Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, where he worked after his vice presidency in the Barack Obama administration ( 2009-2017). Even some of the White House chief’s allies then expressed bewilderment and called for an investigation. Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said Biden had lost the moral right to condemn Trump, who is the subject of a similar investigation. The head of the White House himself expressed confidence that “the investigation will reveal that there is nothing in the documents”.
For former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a lengthy lawsuit over the conduct of official correspondence through a personal mailbox, the contents of which were later destroyed, came to nothing. And former CIA chief David Petraeus was reprimanded and demoted for passing classified information to his mistress, who wrote a book about him, but also without jail time.
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