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Five takeaways from the Trump indictment over classified documents

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By Luc Cohen

(Reuters) – Here are five takeaways from Friday’s indictment accusing former U.S. President Donald Trump of illegally retaining classified government documents after leaving the White House and then conspiring to obstruct a federal probe of the matter.

TRUMP KEPT DOCUMENTS ON MILITARY, NUCLEAR PROGRAMS

Documents kept at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida included information on U.S. and foreign countries’ defense and weapons capabilities, U.S. nuclear programs, U.S. vulnerabilities to potential military attacks, and plans for possible retaliation in response to foreign attacks, according to the indictment.

TRUMP SHARED CLASSIFIED INFORMATION WITH OTHERS

During a July 2021 interview with a writer at his Bedminster Club in New Jersey, Trump allegedly described a “plan of attack” against another country that a military official had drawn up. Trump said the information “is like, highly confidential” and that he could have declassified it as president, but no longer could. The exchange was recorded, the indictment says.

In a meeting later that year at Bedminster, Trump allegedly showed a representative of his political action committee a classified map of another country in discussing an ongoing military operation there.

TRUMP CONSPIRED WITH AN AIDE TO HIDE DOCUMENTS

After receiving a grand jury subpoena in May 2022 requiring him to produce all documents with classified markings in his possession, Trump allegedly directed his aide Walt Nauta to remove 64 boxes of documents from a storage room at Mar-a-Lago to Trump’s residence.

Before Trump’s lawyer arrived at the club to conduct a search of the storage room in response to the subpoena on June 2, Nauta spoke with Trump on the phone and then moved 30 of those boxes from Trump’s residence to the storage room, according to the indictment.

TRUMP KEPT DOCUMENTS ON BALLROOM STAGE, IN SHOWER

One photo included in the indictment shows boxes allegedly containing classified documents being stored in a bathroom at Mar-a-Lago, where events and gatherings took place. Some documents were stored in a bathroom and shower at the club, according to another photograph.

TRUMP WAS AWARE OF CLASSIFICATION RESPONSIBILITIES

The indictment includes statements Trump made during his campaign and presidency indicating he understood the importance of handling classified material appropriately.

“In my administration I’m going to enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information,” Trump said during his campaign in 2016. “No one is above the law.”

(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Howard Goller)

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