James Keivom

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The Department of Justice indicted former President Donald Trump this week on 37 criminal charges related to the alleged mishandling of classified materials.

Details: Ten months after FBI agents raided Mar-a-Lago and seized over 100 documents with classified markings, federal prosecutors announced and unsealed an indictment against a former President of the United States, the first of its kind.

Trump is charged with 31 counts of “Willful Retention of National Defense Information,” and six single-counts of “Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice,” “Withholding a Document or Record,” “Corruptly Concealing a Document or Record,” “Concealing a Document in a Federal Investigation,” “Scheme to Conceal,” and “False Statements and Representations.”

On Tuesday, Trump pleaded not guilty in a federal court in Miami. After his arraignment, he flew to New Jersey and addressed supporters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, claiming he had "every right to have these documents." In the speech, Trump referenced the 'Clinton Sock Drawer' case as setting a precedent that exonerates him, sparking debate across the spectrum on what exactly the case's ruling established.

The Republican Primary: The indictment divided Trump's opponents in the Republican primary. Some criticized him for hurting the party, and other accused the Department of Justice of targeting Trump for political reasons. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, many Republican voters share the latter sentiment.

How the Media Covered It: Left-rated voices are fairly in unison in coverage, highlighting the historic nature of the charges, dismissing claims of a judicial double standard, and admonishing Trump and his supporters.

Right-rated voices are split— while speculation of a political motivation behind the charges is widespread, some voices deem the charges against Trump valid regardless of motivating factors. Others argue Trump is being held to a different standard than President Biden or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, both of whom have been investigated for mishandling classified material.

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Snippets from the Left

Donald Trump Is About to Have His Wile E. Coyote Moment
David Rothkopf (opinion)

"You can pretty much count on the fact that all the talk of Trump’s power and influence will grow hollower and hollower. Until, in all likelihood, he is the only one that believes in the myth he once successfully spun about himself."

The Impossible Task of Defending Donald Trump
The New York Times (opinion)

"Perhaps the worst argument of all is that it is somehow dangerous to prosecute a former president. The greater danger, of course, is a former president who repeatedly flouts the law without consequence."

Snippets from the Right

The Trump Indictment is Damning
National Review (opinion)

"It is impossible to read the indictment against Trump in the Mar-a-Lago documents case and not be appalled at the way he handled classified documents as an ex-president, and responded to the attempt by federal authorities to reclaim them."

Justice is hardly blind in the federal case going against Donald Trump
Michael Goodwin (opinion)

"While his case will ultimately rise or fall on its merits, it is indisputable that Trump is being treated far more harshly than either Biden or Clinton were under very similar circumstances. All three kept classified documents where and when they shouldn’t have. Only one is being prosecuted."

Snippets from the Center

Q&A on Trump’s Federal Indictment
FactCheck.org (Fact Check)

"On two occasions in 2021, Trump allegedly showed the classified documents to others. The government has an audio recording of one such instance, which occurred in July 2021 at his golf course in New Jersey, that involved documents about a planned attack on another country, reportedly Iran."

Donald Trump is 'toast' if indictment correct, William Barr Says
BBC News

"'I was shocked by the degree of sensitivity of these documents and how many there were... and I think the counts under the Espionage Act that he wilfully retained those documents are solid counts,' he said."

See more big stories from the past week.