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What we know about the Trump indictment so far

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And, of course, we begin with the sweeping and historic indictment of a former president on federal charges. The indictment outlines 37 charges against Donald Trump and alleges, among other crimes, that Trump willfully retained national defense information after he left office and then concealed those documents when they were subpoenaed by a grand jury. Walt Nauta, an aide, was also indicted on six charges. NPR political reporter Deepa Shivaram joins us. Deepa, thanks so much for being with us.

DEEPA SHIVARAM, BYLINE: Hey, good morning.

SIMON: The indictment was unsealed yesterday, but still leads the news and rings in the air today. Now that you've had a chance to report on it, what really jumps out at you from this indictment?

SHIVARAM: Yeah, there's a lot packed in these 40-something pages, Scott. It outlines some pretty damning evidence against Trump. And some of the top lines that stood out to me in the indictment was a part where Trump's lawyer is quoted as saying that in the summer of 2022, he searched the storage room in Mar-a-Lago for classified documents and found 38 of them. And then, he and Trump discussed whether the lawyers should bring those documents to his hotel room to keep it safe there. And the lawyer says that during that conversation, Trump made a plucking motion to essentially say, without words, take the documents, and if there's anything bad in there, just pluck it out. This all took place two months before Mar-a-Lago was searched last year.

The other part that really stood out were these two instances where Trump showed classified documents to people who did not have any kind of security clearance to view them. The first time mentioned was at a meeting at his Bedminster club with a writer, and Trump called the material, quote, "highly confidential." And the second time Trump showed classified documents was to a person on his political action committee and admitted to the person that he should not be showing them the document. He told the person not to get too close.

SIMON: The special counsel, Jack Smith, made an appearance yesterday - short and pointed. What did you note in his statement?

SHIVARAM: Yes, he didn't take any questions from the press, but he made a few important points. One, he said that he wanted there to be a speedy trial in Florida, where this will now take place. And two, he emphasized this message that no one is above the law.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JACK SMITH: 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.

SHIVARAM: And what you also hear there from Smith is a little bit of a pushback against the narrative from Trump defenders that this was a politicized investigation. And that's, of course, a claim that Trump has made himself time and time again. He's been consistently posting on his social media platform, Truth Social, to say he's innocent and echoing a line he's often used, which is saying that this investigation is a hoax.

SIMON: Tuesday is when Donald Trump and his new lawyers are set to appear in court in Miami. What might we expect that day and in the weeks and months ahead?

SHIVARAM: Right. So Tuesday at 3 p.m., that's what we're all watching for because that's when Trump and his lawyers have to show up at the courthouse in Miami. So right now, there's a lot of prep going on just to make sure there's enough security in place for a former president to even be coming in. And that's right - speaking of his lawyers, he's going to have new legal representation because the two lawyers he was previously working with, who are Jim Trusty and John Rowley, resigned yesterday. So now we know he's working with at least one attorney, and we're waiting to hear who will make up Trump's new legal team as this case moves to Florida. But even before Tuesday, Scott, we're expecting to hear a lot from Trump on the campaign trail. Later today, he's got events in North Carolina and Georgia, where he'll be defending himself in front of voters.

SIMON: NPR political reporter Deepa Shivaram. Thanks so much for being with us.

SHIVARAM: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.
Deepa Shivaram
Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.
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