President Joe Biden faced questions about the ongoing investigation into former President Donald Trump during a press conference alongside British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Biden asserted that he had never pressured the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding charges against Trump and emphasized his commitment to honesty. However, Trump, in a statement later that evening, announced that he had been summoned to appear in court on June 13, with special counsel Jack Smith reportedly preparing to indict him for mishandling classified documents. Trump declared his innocence and labeled the case against him as “election interference.”
While the charges against Trump have not been unsealed, his attorneys confirmed that he is facing seven counts related to the Espionage Act. Trump’s lawyer, Jim Trusty, criticized the charges, particularly the espionage allegation, which he deemed “ludicrous.” Trusty stated that Trump received a court summons via email, but the indictment itself had not yet been provided to the legal team. Trump is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, although further details have not been disclosed.
In a separate indictment two months prior, Trump faced 34 charges related to alleged falsification of business records during the 2016 election. He pleaded not guilty during a court appearance in Manhattan. Trump has taken to social media to argue that there are two standards of justice in the United States, pointing to Biden’s handling of classified records over the years. He has also criticized Biden for his family’s business dealings in China and Ukraine.
Trump expressed his frustration with the situation on his Truth Social app, calling it a “DARK DAY for the United States of America.” He released a video proclaiming his innocence and promising to prove it unequivocally and swiftly. Shortly after the news broke, his 2024 presidential campaign sent out a fundraising email, requesting financial support from his followers.
Trump’s attorneys had previously requested a meeting with U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to discuss their concerns about the perceived injustice in the special counsel’s investigations. Last year, Garland appointed Jack Smith to lead investigations into classified documents at Trump’s Florida estate and the events surrounding the January 6, 2021, breach at the U.S. Capitol.
Many of Trump’s rivals for the GOP nomination rallied to his defense following news of the indictment. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a prominent contender for the 2024 nomination, accused the Justice Department of political bias and criticized the unequal application of the law based on political affiliation. DeSantis questioned the department’s zealousness in pursuing charges against Trump while seemingly being passive in investigations involving Hillary Clinton and Hunter Biden, the son of President Biden.
Conservatives like Vivek Ramaswamy condemned the federal case as an affront to every citizen and criticized the DOJ for selectively prosecuting Trump while overlooking similar allegations against Biden. Meanwhile, Democrats celebrated the indictment as a demonstration that no individual, regardless of their position, is above the law. Representative Rashida Tlaib highlighted that the twice-impeached former president is now twice-indicted.