9.9 C
New York
December 3, 2023

Trump indictment live updates: Former president pleads not guilty to federal charges

Trump indictment live updates: Former president pleads not guilty to federal charges

After more legal trouble, Trump follows a familiar playbook: Play the victim

BEDMINSTER, N.J. — Trump rained criticism down on his adversaries here just hours after he was arraigned in federal court in Miami.

The playbook — play defense by going on offense — is now familiar for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. But the gravity of his legal imbroglio is growing more apparent even as he maintains a dominant lead over his GOP challengers.

In a Miami courtroom closed to news cameras, Trump signed a bond document today that prohibits him from discussing his case with certain witnesses — an unusual anti-witness-tampering provision added by U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman that the prosecution had not sought.

He now faces trial in state court in New York City on charges related to hush money payments to a porn star and a 37-count indictment in the Miami federal court that charges he kept classified documents and hid them from authorities. He is being investigated in a separate federal case involving his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol and a Georgia probe into his efforts to overturn the 2020 election in the state.

Read the full story here.

Legal setback for Trump in separate case

A federal judge today granted a motion by E. Jean Carroll to file an amended defamation suit against Trump seeking at least $10 million, based in part on recent comments Trump made on CNN.

Carroll made the motion for an amended complaint after Trump called her a “whack job” at a CNN town hall in May — the day after she won a $5 million judgment against him in a different civil case that alleged sexual abuse and defamation.

At the CNN event, Trump said, “I never met this woman. I never saw this woman,” and he called her claims “fake” and “made up,” her lawyers said in seeking the amended complaint.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan granted the motion the same day Trump was arrested and pleaded not guilty in Florida to federal charges regarding classified documents.

Read the full story here.

Trump concludes 30-minute speech at Bedminster

Trump finished his remarks to supporters shortly after 9:15 p.m. ET.

Former President Donald Trump delivers remarks at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in Bedminster, N.J., on Tuesday.Ed Jones / AFP – Getty Images

In a speech that lasted about 30 minutes, the former president frequently took aim at Biden and special counsel Jack Smith, saying he had been arrested on “fake and fabricated charges.”

Trump distorts Presidential Records Act in defending his handling of documents

Trump claimed in his speech tonight that according to the Presidential Records Act, “I was supposed to negotiate with NARA, which is exactly what I was doing until Mar-a-Lago was raided by FBI agents.”

The National Archives and Records Administration said in a news release last week that the Presidential Records Act “requires that all records created by Presidents (and Vice-Presidents) be turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) at the end of their administrations” and that outgoing presidents are required to separate personal documents from presidential records before they leave office.

Split screen: Trump and Biden hold dueling televised events

In a split screen moment tonight, Biden gave remarks at a Juneteenth event at the White House while Trump spoke to supporters in New Jersey after his historic arraignment.

“To honor the true meaning of Juneteenth, our entire administration is continuing to charge forward to literally redeem the soul of America,” Biden said.

Over 200 miles away at his Bedminster golf club, Trump railed against his two indictments, calling today’s arraignment “the most evil and heinous abuse of power in the history of our country.”

Fox News showed Biden and Trump on a split screen when their live remarks overlapped.

Group of Republican senators demands special counsel investigation into Biden

Three Republican senators called on Attorney General Merrick Garland in a letter today to appoint a special counsel to investigate Biden and his family.

Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Mike Braun of Indiana and JD Vance of Ohio referred to a bribery allegation and said that “the FBI has stonewalled congressional oversight of this matter, refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee.”

“We urge you to appoint a special counsel to investigate any wrongdoing by President Biden and his family in their business dealings.”

Last week, the FBI allowed members of the House Oversight Committee to view a redacted document that the panel’s chairman said described the bribery allegation. The White House has called the committee’s probe a “politically motivated” stunt.

Earlier today, Vance said he would hold up Justice Department nominees in the Senate over the special counsel’s prosecution of Trump.

Trump begins Bedminster speech by calling the indictment ‘election interference’

Trump started his speech in Bedminster just after 8:45 p.m. ET, calling the federal charges against him “election interference.”

Trump made a similar argument when he was indicted in Manhattan over hush-money payments.

Trump arrives at Bedminster

Trump’s motorcade arrived at his Bedminster golf club in New Jersey around 8:40 p.m., ahead of a planned speech to supporters.

GOP candidates, election conspiracists spotted at Bedminster ahead of Trump’s speech

A number of Trump allies are on hand at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the former president is expected to give a speech tonight.

Attendees spotted so far include MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a Trump ally who has promoted 2020 election conspiracy theories; Ric Grenell, who was an ambassador and the acting director of national intelligence in the Trump administration; Taylor Budowich, an aide to the former president; Jim Marchant, the election-denying Republican candidate who ran unsuccessfully last year for Nevada secretary of state and is now running for the Senate; and Robert Jeffress, a longtime Trump supporter and pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas.

Names on tags on chairs for other expected attendees include those of Bernie Moreno, a candidate for the Senate in Ohio; Jeff Gunter, a potential candidate for the Senate in Nevada; New York state GOP Chairman Ed Cox; and Sebastian Gorka, a former Trump aide.

Pence says he ‘can’t defend’ Trump but suggests politics still played a role in indictment

Former Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview published today that he “can’t defend” Trump against the allegations that he mishandled classified documents — but he also suggested that the charges were politically motivated.

Pence told The Wall Street Journal‘s editorial board that he has read the indictment and that the allegations against Trump “are very serious.” He added that the fact that many of the documents were related to “the defense capabilities of the United States and our allies, our nuclear program, to potential vulnerabilities of the United States and our allies” was something that “could compromise our national security and the safety of our armed forces.”

But Pence, who, like Trump, is running for the Republican nomination for president next year, added that Trump was “entitled to his day in court” and suggested that the charges were related, at least in part, to politics. 

“It’s hard for me to believe that politics didn’t play some role in this decision,” Pence said. 

“I think millions of Americans are deeply troubled by this indictment, particularly given the fact that Hillary Clinton engaged in very similar behavior in the 2016 campaign and did not face indictment,” Pence said.

There are key differences between Clinton’s situation and Trump’s, however, including intent.

Trump lands in New Jersey

Trump landed at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey shortly before 8 p.m. in advance of remarks he is expected to deliver from his Bedminster golf club this evening.

The former president left Miami around 5 p.m., not long after he was arraigned in the city’s federal courthouse.

What comes next in the classified docs case

The former president made a historic first appearance at a federal court today in Miami, but the case of The United States v. Donald Trump has a long arc.

How fast the case moves will depend in large part on one person: U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who was assigned to oversee the trial.

Cannon is in the driver’s seat when it comes to setting a discovery schedule for the Justice Department to turn over its evidence to Trump’s defense team, determining when pretrial motions are due, setting the terms of any protective order that would govern what Trump can post on social media about the case and scheduling a trial date.

In the short term, Cannon is likely to set what’s known as a “status conference” date to bring the lawyers into court to discuss what comes next. She can do that at any time. How she conducts the hearing will most likely set the tone for the rest of the trial and offer a glimpse of whether she, like special counsel Jack Smith, is prepared to make the lengthy process “speedy” or not.

Fulton County, Georgia, sends personnel to Miami and New York to ‘gather intel on security operations’

Members of the Fulton County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office have traveled to Miami and New York to gather security intelligence ahead of potential charges against Trump in Atlanta this summer.

In a news release tonight, the sheriff’s office said it was “coordinating with local, state and federal agencies to ensure that our law enforcement community is equipped and prepared to protect the public.”

“That coordination includes … deputies traveling to New York and Miami to gather intel on security operations at court proceedings” for Trump, the statement added.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis sent a note telling local law enforcement to prepare for potential charges this summer stemming from a probe into possible interference in the 2020 election by Trump and his allies.

Not all congressional Republicans jump to defend Trump

Alexandra Marquez

Although some Republican members of Congress, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California, made waves yesterday defending Trump over his federal indictment, not every Republican lawmaker is quick to shield the former president.

McCarthy told reporters that “a bathroom door locks” when he was asked about allegations in the indictment that Trump stored classified documents in a bathroom at his Mar-a-Lago resort after his presidency.

But others, like Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., expressed concern over the indictment and the coming trial.

Read the full story here.

Man tackled after standing in front of Trump motorcade is questioned by authorities

The Secret Service and police in Miami are questioning the man who held a sign that read “Lock him up” and stood in front of Trump’s motorcade as the former president left the courthouse today.

The man, who was wearing a prison-striped outfit, was removed twice from the roadway, Secret Service officials said.

“On both occasions, the individual was removed swiftly from the roadway by Miami police. His actions had no impact on the security of the protective movement and we thank the [Miami Police Department] for their partnership,” the Secret Service said in a statement.

A Miami police spokesperson said that the man, whose identity has not been released, was the only person detained today at the courthouse and that he has not been booked into jail.

‘That’s not a reference’ to Trump: Audience laughs after Biden anecdote about government docs

President Joe Biden, speaking this afternoon to State Department officials, drew laughter from the audience when he mentioned Trump after an anecdote about Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In describing the time he’d spent with Xi, Biden told the audience: “I had a lot of personal, just, one-on-one conversations. And we each had a simultaneous interpreter. I turned all my notes in.

“But that’s not a reference to the president, former president. But look, no, it really isn’t,” Biden added.

The audience laughed.

As he walked out, Biden was asked by a reporter whether he would comment on Trump’s arrest today. “No,” Biden replied.

Cheers and jeers: Scenes from outside the Miami courthouse

MIAMI — The largely peaceful protests outside the Miami federal courthouse where Trump was arraigned today consisted of several slow hours in sweltering heat — followed by a flurry of chaos when an opponent of the ex-president took off running after his motorcade.

He didn’t get anywhere near Trump.

A man dressed as Uncle Sam outside the courthouse in Miami on Tuesday before President Donald Trump’s arrival.Sydney Walsh for NBC News

Police officers tackled the man, and Trump continued on to a famous local Cuban restaurant, Versailles, for what appeared to be a planned meeting with loyalists.

It was a jarring end to what had been a somewhat sedate show of support for the embattled ex-president, who pleaded not guilty to charges of mishandling classified documents after he left the White House.

Read the full story here.

Inside the courtroom: A dour Trump, a not guilty plea and an arraignment date for Nauta

Today’s 47-minute court hearing in Miami kicked off at 2:55 p.m. ET. Seated at the defense table were Trump and his lawyers, Chris Kise and Todd Blanche, along with Nauta and his attorney Stanley Woodward. At the prosecution table were special counsel David Harbach, assistant special counsel Jay Bratt and federal prosecutor Julie Edelstein. Jack Smith, the special counsel overseeing the Trump investigation, sat with more than 40 reporters, court officers and Secret Service personnel in the packed courtroom.

Former President Donald Trump at the federal courthouse in Miami on Tuesday.Courtesy William J Hennessy Jr

Trump clasped his hands in front of him with a dour look on his face. Blanche and Kise told the court that they would be Trump’s attorneys at trial and if there’s an appeal. Trump then crossed his arms and kept them crossed for the entire hearing, appearing irritated to be there.

Blanche entered the not guilty plea, and attorneys on both sides hashed out details about the limited contact order list. Meanwhile, Woodward said he would represent Nauta — who still needs an attorney from the Southern District of Florida to represent him for his arraignment — only for the initial appearance. Nauta’s arraignment was scheduled for 9:45 a.m. June 27. He does not have to appear in court that day.

Trump’s plane is headed to New Jersey

Trump’s plane is now wheels up to New Jersey.

With him for his departure were aides Dan Scavino and Jason Miller, adviser Boris Epshteyn, spokeswoman Alina Habba and Nauta.

Trump is expected to give a speech tonight from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Trump didn’t look at Smith, no family accompanied him

Garrett Haake

During the arraignment, Trump kept his focus on his side of the room. He did not make eye contact with special counsel Jack Smith and never looked over to the prosecution side, even as he was leaving.

Just like his New York arraignment, Trump did not have any friends or family there with him, just his lawyers and his personal aide and co-defendant Walt Nauta.

Trump thanks Miami for ‘warm welcome’ on ‘sad day’

Trump thanked Miami in a Truth Social post for the city’s “warm welcome,” the first time he posted after his arraignment.

“Thank you Miami. Such a warm welcome on such a SAD DAY for our Country!” he posted at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Whispering and scowling: MSNBC Legal Analyst’s 3 observations from the arraignment

Former President Donald Trump inside federal court during his arraignment in Miami today.Courtesy of William J Hennessy Jr

MSNBC Legal Analyst Lisa Rubin was in the courtroom during Trump’s arraignment. She made three observations of note during the proceeding:

  • Trump lawyer Todd Blanche not only whispered to Trump during the hearing, but also frequently talked directly to Walt Nauta and to Nauta and Nauta’s attorney Stanley Woodward together. Rubin said that is “highly unusual.”
  • When the hearing ended, all of the Secret Service agents sitting in the two rows directly behind the defense table stood up to flank Trump and then they surrounded him to escort him out. But, rather than simply looking ahead and leaving, Trump turned around and stared down all of the people in the courtroom, scowling and seemingly scanning for someone he knew.
  • As Trump left, Nauta left with him, falling into the line of agents trailing him. It was as if he flipped a switch and went from being a co-defendant to resuming his duties as Trump’s aide in a heartbeat.

Nevada ‘fake electors’ spotted leaving courthouse

Nevada GOP Chair Michael McDonald, center, protests against the passage of a mail-in voting bill in Las Vegas on Aug. 4, 2020.Ethan Miller / Getty Images file

Nevada GOP Chair Michael McDonald and Committeeman Jim DeGraffenreid were spotted exiting a federal courthouse where a grand jury investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack is meeting.

McDonald, a close Trump political ally, as well as Jim DeGraffenreid, the Nevada GOP’s vice chair, were identified by NBC News entering the room where the grand jury is meeting earlier.

When asked this morning about having to appear the same day as Trump’s court date, McDonald joked to NBC News that it was not on his “bucket list.” McDonald had previously confirmed to NBC News that federal authorities seized his cell phone as part of the investigation.

The appearance comes a week after former Trump White House official Steve Bannon was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in Washington in connection with special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Jan. 6. The Bannon subpoena, for documents and testimony, was sent out late last month, the sources said.

Sen. Tuberville will attend Trump’s speech tonight in New Jersey

Liz Brown-Kaiser and Frank Thorp V

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., at the Capitol on May 16.J. Scott Applewhite / AP file

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., will attend Trump’s remarks in Bedminster, New Jersey, tonight, a source familiar tells NBC News.

As a result, Tuberville missed votes in the Senate this afternoon, preventing Republicans from forcing Vice President Kamala Harris to show up a break a tie.

The Senate is currently considering the nomination of Jared Bernstein to be Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, who does not have the support of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V. If Tuberville and all other Republican senators had been there, Harris would have been needed to come and break a 50-50 tie. But since Tuberville left for Bedminster, he missed the 2:15 p.m. procedural vote. Bernstein will now get a final confirmation vote during a 5 p.m. vote series and Harris can enjoy a day off from the Senate.

Trump leaves Miami restaurant

Former President Donald Trump waves as he visits the Cuban restaurant Versailles in Miami today.Alon Skuy / Getty Images

After greeting supporters at the famous Cuban restaurant Versailles in downtown Miami, Trump departed. He is headed back to New Jersey.

Trump adviser appears to revel in wall-to-wall media coverage

All press is good press? That philosophy has governed much of Trump’s tumultuous four decades in the public eye, but even when the headlines are about being charged with 37 indictments?

Apparently so to Jason Miller, one of Trump’s top communications advisers, who seemed to celebrate the across-the-board coverage of his boss’s arraignment in a tweet.

Jack Smith was in courtroom during arraignment

Jack Smith, the special counsel in the Trump investigations, was in the courtroom during Trump’s arraignment. Smith had a significant security presence surrounding him.

After the arraignment concluded, Smith approached the prosecutors’ table and put his arm around David Harbach, a prosecutor working with the special counsel’s investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents, and patted him on the shoulder. Harbach and Smith walked out of the courtroom together.

Nauta arraignment delayed

Walt Nauta, Trump’s valet and alleged co-conspirator, made his first appearance in court alongside his boss Tuesday, but did not enter a plea because he did not have local legal counsel.

He will be now arraigned later this month to enter a plea, though will not have to personally appear again.

Supporters sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Trump during unannounced stop at famous Cuban restaurant

Trump made an unannounced stop at the famous Cuban restaurant Versailles in downtown Miami about 10 to 15 minutes after leaving the courthouse. Supporters sang “Happy Birthday” to the former president, whose 77th birthday is tomorrow.

“Food for everyone,” Trump said inside the restaurant, where he took photos with supporters

The Versailles Restaurant is a landmark in the Miami Cuban community and a base for Cuban exiles in earlier generations. It has been a must-visit stop for GOP candidates for many years. Both Presidents visited as well as the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., when he ran for president. Bill Clinton went as well.

House votes for the first time in a week, just as Trump is arraigned

After a weeklong standoff on the floor, the House voted Tuesday to pass a rule along party lines that will allow multiple GOP messaging bills to come to the floor — just as Trump went in for his arraignment.

The first bill, which heads to the floor Tuesday evening, is GOP Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde’s legislation that aims to stop regulations on pistol stabilizing braces. The House will also take up a pair of bills Tuesday and Wednesday that protect gas stoves against potential bans.

The last time the House voted was exactly one week ago, June 6, when 11 conservative rebels, furious over Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s debt deal with President Biden, joined all Democrats to vote down the procedural rule — the first time a rule vote failed in more than two decades. That effectively blocked all GOP bills, freezing the House floor.

But on Monday, McCarthy and the conservatives negotiated a temporary deal to end the blockade, allowing the Clyde bill to come to the floor first followed by the other bills. The conservatives, however, warned that they could launch another blockade if McCarthy doesn’t seriously entertain deeper spending cuts in the upcoming appropriations process.

Greene attributes Trump arraignment to ‘weaponized government’

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., attributed Trump’s arraignment to a “government weaponized against each of you.”

“It is so heavy on my heart that we’re doing this today when President Trump is being arraigned,” Greene said at a GOP congressional hearing in Washington, adding that the investigations into Trump “started on January 6 when we were doing our constitutional duty to object” to the 2020 election results, referring to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and Trump’s widely debunked claims of a stolen election. 

The ongoing meeting, billed as a “field hearing on January 6th,” is being led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a member of the House Freedom Caucus. Other members of the conservative caucus, including Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., are also present.

Trump and Nauta released on their own recognizance; judge orders no contact list

As their arraignment concluded, Trump and Nauta were released on their own recognizance. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman, who oversaw the arraignment, did not issue any restrictions on travel for Trump and Nauta.

Rather, Goodman issued another condition: a limited contact order.

Goodman directed government prosecutors to put together a list of people whom Trump would not be able to contact to discuss the specifics of the case. The list is to include Nauta, the judge said.

The limited contact order was not requested by government lawyers. Rather, Goodman ordered it.

Enforcing such an order, however, could be challenging. Nauta remains Trump’s body man and aide, and policing their interactions could prove difficult.

Trump’s next court appearance was not decided on during the hearing.

Security tackles man wearing prison stripes who stood in front of motorcade

Two men providing security for Trump tackled a man in the street who was holding a sign, wearing a white and black prison-stripped outfit, and standing in front of Trump’s motorcade as it departed the courthouse.

Security tackled the man to the ground on the sidewalk nearby.

Trump departs from the courthouse

Former President Donald Trump waves after leaving court today.Chandan Khanna / AFP – Getty Images

Trump has departed from the Miami courthouse after the conclusion of his arraignment, where he pleaded “not guilty.”

He will travel to Bedminster, New Jersey, later today where he’ll deliver remarks to supporters tonight.

Vance vows to block Justice Department nominees in Senate over Trump case

Frank Thorp V, Megan Lebowitz and Ryan Nobles

Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, announced he will put a procedural hold on Justice Department nominees in response to Trump’s prosecution over his alleged mishandling of national defense information.

Vance’s office said nominees for positions with the U.S. Marshals Service will be exempted from the senator’s hold over what his office called “the unprecedented political prosecution of Donald J. Trump by Biden’s Department of Justice.”

Read the full story here.

Trump wore red tie, sat stone-faced as lawyer entered plea

At his arraignment, Trump wore a red tie and sat stone-faced through the proceeding.

Entering the former president’s plea, Trump lawyer Blanche said, “We most certainly enter a plea of not guilty.”

Trump’s sons react in defense of their father on Twitter

Trump’s sons briefly reacted on social media as their father prepared to plead not guilty in federal court in Miami.

Eric Trump retweeted a post from Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, that suggested there are different standards of justice for the Trump and the Biden families.

Donald Trump Jr. shared a video post from Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, praising him for threatening to hold up Justice Department nominees over the special counsel’s prosecution of Trump.

Rubio: This makes a Biden indictment more likely under a GOP president

In an appearance on Fox News today, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., denounced Trump’s indictment as political and warned of retribution by Republicans.

“The next Republican president is going to be under tremendous pressure to bring charges and indict Joe Biden, his family” and his son Hunter, whom Rubio referred to as a “crackhead.”

When asked about GOP presidential candidates pledging to pardon Trump or strongly consider it, Rubio said that he hadn’t given much thought to it but thought that “proactive pardoning is going to be very popular” among Republican voters.

Bedminster sets up for Trump speech

Trump is set to speak tonight at his golf club in Bedminster, giving his first public remarks since his court appearance in Miami.

The event is already being set up, with seats reserved for VIP guests such as adviser Kash Patel, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd.

Blanche entered plea on behalf of former president

During the arraignment, Blanche entered the not guilty plea on behalf of the former president.

Inside the courtroom, Trump, seated with his hands crossed, sat at the same table as Nauta, who is charged as his co-conspirator.

As of 3:07 p.m., the proceedings were ongoing.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all 37 federal felony counts

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all 37 federal felony counts he was indicted on last week in connection with his alleged mishandling of classified documents. 

Those charges included willful retention of national defense information, making false statements and representations and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Anti-Trump protester in prisoner costume approaches motorcade

An anti-Trump protester wearing a black-and-white striped prisoner costume could be seen approaching Trump’s motorcade.

Video showed Miami police officers pushing the protester away from the line of black SUVs that had lined up outside the courthouse.

Haley said she’s ‘inclined’ to support a pardon for Trump

Nikki Haley, a 2024 GOP presidential candidate, said today that she would be “inclined in favor of a pardon” for Trump if he were convicted and she were elected president.

“When you look at a pardon, the issue is less about guilt, and more about what’s good for the country,” Haley, a former governor of South Carolina, said in a podcast interview with Clay Travis and Buck Sexton.

“And I think it would be terrible for the country to have a former president in prison for years because of a documents case. That’s something you see in a Third World country,” she said.

“I would be inclined in favor of a pardon. But I think it’s really premature at this point when he’s not even been convicted of anything,” Haley added.

Haley served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and was nominated by Trump during his presidency.

Christie: Trump is a “Loser. Loser. Loser.”

Chris Christie tweeted that the GOP must “stop blaming our adversaries for the weakness of our candidates.”

“It’s Trump. He’s a 3-time loser,” Christie, who is running for president in 2024, wrote. “Loser. Loser. Loser.”

Trump spokesperson: ‘The people in charge of this country do not love America. They hate Donald Trump’

Alina Habba, lawyer for former President Donald Trump, outside the court in Miami today.Rebecca Blackwell / AP

Alina Habba, an attorney and spokesperson for Trump who is not representing him in this case, said in brief remarks outside the courthouse in Miami that the former president is “defiant,” and she lashed out against federal prosecutors who have charged him.

“Today is not about President Donald J. Trump, who is defiant,” she said. “It is about the destruction of the long-standing American principles that have set this country apart for so long.”

Habba said there has been a rise in “politically motivated prosecutors” in recent years. “They have been quietly but aggressively cultivating a two-tiered system of justice, where selective treatment is the norm,” she said.

“The people in charge of this country do not love America. They hate Donald Trump,” she said, adding that what is unfolding is a “blatant and unapologetic weaponization of the criminal justice system.”

Habba compared Trump to Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, saying that Trump is being held to a different standard.

“We are at a turning point in our nation’s history,” she said. “The targeting prosecution of a leading political opponent is the type of thing you see in dictatorships, like Cuba and Venezuela.”

She added that what is being done to Trump should “terrify” all Americans.

Bolton: ‘We’ve got to take the politics out of this business when national security is at stake’

McConnell sidesteps questions on Trump’s indictment

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sidestepped two questions today about the Trump indictment — first on whether he could still support Trump in 2024 if he’s the nominee, and second on the substance of the indictment.

“I’m not going to start commenting on the various candidates we have running for president,” the Senate Republican leader told reporters at his weekly press conference. “There are a lot of them. It’s going to be interesting to watch.”

McConnell has not commented on Trump’s federal indictment.

Trump and Nauta have been booked

The booking process for Trump and his personal aide Walt Nauta has been completed, a U.S. Marshals Service spokesperson said.

Image-conscious Trump avoids the cameras on arrival

Former President Donald Trump arrives at court in Miami today.Stephanie Keith / Getty Images

The image-conscious Trump slipped into the modern glass building of Miami’s federal courthouse unseen by the throngs of cameras and supporters who had waited for hours to get a glimpse, preventing cameras from capturing — despite all his defiant boasts about the case — the indelible image of the first president in American history surrendering to federal authorities.

The former president arrived at the courthouse with the pomp typical of a world leader — a fleet of armored SUVs and police motorcycles gliding into a cordoned street  — but under unprecedented circumstances.

The street was cleared before his arrival and a phalanx of police, whose vehicles and their stern passengers with big guns blocked direct views, making it clear no one would be getting any closer. At one point, after Trump went inside, officers forcibly removed a sign-waving man who crossed the yellow police tape keeping back the hundreds of other spectators.

How Trump’s indictment in classified docs case could affect 2024 run

Lake is in the crowd outside the courthouse

Kari Lake, the failed Republican candidate in last year’s Arizona gubernatorial election and one of the most vocal proponents of Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, stood among a group of pro-Trump demonstrators as the former president’s motorcade arrived at the courthouse in Miami.

Bacon: ‘It’s obvious what the president did was wrong’

Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., said it is “obvious” that Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents is wrong, and warned that the GOP will suffer political consequences if it doesn’t break from the former president soon.

“Well, I think it’s obvious what the president did was wrong,” he said. 

“And we just got to be honest, I mean, to have thousands of secrets in your house, showing them to people that were not read in, and then not giving all of it back, saying you gave it all back and then lying about it, I just, there’s no way to defend that. And I just think the emperor has no clothes,” Bacon said.

Bacon, who previously expressed concern over Trump’s hold on the GOP, then urged his Republican colleagues to “stand up and say that” because he anticipates Democrats will do that after the GOP presidential primary.

“I think Republicans have always stood on the rule of law,” he said. “We can’t walk away from that.”

Trump posts to Truth Social that he is en route to courthouse

Trump posted on Truth Social that he is on his way to the Miami courthouse.

“On my way to courthouse. Witch hunt!!! MAGA,” the former president posted in all caps.

Trump aide tweets from motorcade: ‘President Trump on the way to fight the witch-hunt’

Trump aide Steven Cheung tweeted a short video clip showing the motorcade appearing to leave Trump’s Doral property on the way to the Miami courthouse.

“President Trump on the way to fight the witch-hunt,” he tweeted.

Cassidy rails against Trump indictment coin

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., posted an “outrage of the week” tweet today blasting the White House Gift Shop for putting out a commemorative coin to mark Trump’s latest indictment. 

“Now, whatever you think about it, whatever party you are, you got to admit it’s poor taste, that it’s capitalizing upon something without his permission, I’m sure,” he said. “It’s the wrong thing to do. Have a sense of decency White House Gift Shop.”

The White House Gift Shop is owned by a private company based in Lititz, Pennsylvania, and not part of the White House. It also stocks pro-Trump items like the “President Trump Defeats Covid” commemorative coin that sells for $100.

Trump has departed and is heading to the courthouse

Former President Donald Trump leaves his resort today.Jim Rassol / AP

Trump has left his golf club in Doral and he’s en route to the federal courthouse in Miami.

Shortly before leaving the club, Trump posted on his social media platform, Truth Social. “One of the saddest days in the history of our country,” the former president wrote in an all-caps message. “We are a nation in decline!!!”

Asked about Trump, McCarthy repeatedly invokes Biden

Ali Vitali and Kyle Stewart

A chatty House Speaker Kevin McCarthy repeatedly dodged questions about the substance of Trump’s indictment by shifting his focus to President Joe Biden.

Asked if any aspects of Trump’s indictment could be damning, McCarthy fired back: ‘There’s some things that could be damning against President Biden.” 

Asked if he thinks the classified documents at issue belong to Trump, as the former president has asserted, McCarthy said he couldn’t answer that because he hadn’t seen the documents. “I haven’t seen the documents, I can’t tell you. But if they’re classified, they should be shipped back,” he said, pivoting again to documents found at Biden’s home that “don’t belong to him either.” 

McCarthy said he hasn’t spoken to Trump since last week, prior to the indictment. When asked if he planned to give Trump a call, he said, “I talk to the president quite often.”

Crowds gather outside Miami courthouse ahead of Trump arraignment

Democrats see Scott as potentially tougher to beat than Trump

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., in Goose Creek, S.C., on May 28.Meg Kinnard / AP file

Trump leads the GOP presidential nomination fight — by large margins — in every Republican primary poll, but Democrats watching him appear in another courtroom are handicapping the prospects of the rest of the field.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., might be a long shot for the Republican nomination at this point, but Democratic strategists know Scott, and some worry he might pose a real threat to beat President Joe Biden in a general election if he makes it that far.

Democrats worry that as a Black man, Scott, who was elected to the Senate in 2012, would peel away voters who are crucial to Biden’s re-election — and that at age 57, Scott’s mere presence on the debate stage would call attention to the inconvenient fact that Biden is the oldest president ever to have served. With an upbeat message, Scott also might appeal to an electorate disenchanted with the sour state of American politics.

There is little doubt that, despite what hypothetical general election polls right now might find, Democrats see Trump as the easier candidate to beat.

Read the full story here.

How Biden’s and Clinton’s handling of classified info compares with Trump’s

Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden in 2016.Mark Makela / Getty Images file

Donald Trump and some Republicans have drawn comparisons between his handling of classified information and that of President Joe Biden and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but the cases are markedly different.

The FBI investigated Clinton for months over her use of a private email account as secretary of state to determine whether she mishandled classified information by sending it over an unsecured private server. Federal investigators decided she had been “extremely careless” in her handling of classified information, but it did not rise to the level of criminality or warrant charges.

Biden’s lawyers discovered a “small number” of Obama administration documents with classified markings in a locked closet at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, the president’s special counsel said. The White House counsel’s office notified the National Archives the same day, and officials collected the documents the following day and Biden’s personal attorneys cooperated with the federal officials throughout the process, Sauber said.

In Trump’s case, the National Archives contacted Trump officials soon after he left office to say some documents appeared to be missing, and after months of back and forth, Trump sent 15 boxes of documents from Mar-a-Lago, some of which contained classified documents. The FBI later obtained information that Trump had more government documents and issued a subpoena for their return, and then learned Trump had not fully complied with the subpoena. A search at Mar-a-Lago then found more than 100 documents with classified markings, ultimately leading to the charges against the former president.

Read more on how the Clinton and the Biden cases compare to Trump’s.

Nevada GOP chair spotted in D.C. courthouse where Jan. 6 grand jury is meeting

Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald and Republican National Committeeman Jim DeGraffenreid at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse in Washington, D.C., today, where the grand jury probing Jan. 6 is meeting.

McDonald and DeGraffenreid were two of the six people in Nevada who signed a document attesting that Trump had won the state’s electoral votes in the so-called fake elector scheme. McDonald has defended signing the document and the FBI seized his phone last summer, a source previously confirmed to NBC News. McDonald testified last year before the House Jan. 6 committee behind closed doors, where he invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 200 times.

Asked about the coincidence of his making an appearance before the Jan. 6 grand jury on the same day as Trump’s indictment in Miami, McDonald replied: “Not on my bucket list.”

McDonald and DeGraffenreid re-entered the grand jury room just before 1 p.m. ET.

Miami mayor calls for peace ahead of Trump’s arrival

Police vehicles outside the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. United States Federal Courthouse in Miami today.Jim Watson / AFP – Getty Images

Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez urged residents and demonstrators to remain calm as Trump arrives at the federal courthouse for his arraignment this afternoon.

“We want to make sure that the … former president is able to get in and out safely,” Suarez said. “We want to make sure that any of the rallies that happened pertinent to this event happened in a peaceful manner, without any unnecessary confrontations, either between the police and the protesters.”

“We are a city that abides by law and order, and we’re not going to tolerate anyone who hurts someone else, or who damages people’s property,” Suarez added.

Miami law enforcement officials are responsible for security outside the courthouse today.

Suarez, Miami’s two-term mayor, recently told Fox News that he is planning to make a “major announcement” in the coming weeks, stoking speculation that he is preparing to run for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.

Snap polling shows Republicans more skeptical than rest of U.S. of Trump charges

Ben Kamisar

A supporter of former President Donald Trump sits outside Trump National Doral resort in Doral, Fla., yesterday.Ricardo Arduengo / AFP – Getty Images

New polling released ahead of Trump’s arraignment shows that while a majority of adults believe the allegation at the core of the charges against him is believable, Republicans are far more skeptical.

As many as 62% of U.S. adults in a new Reuters/Ipsos poll say the statement that “Donald Trump illegally removed classified documents from the White House and stored them at his home at Mar A Lago” is believable, compared to 27% who call it not believable. While majorities of Democrats and independents say the allegation is believable, 58% of Republicans say it’s not.

The poll also found 50% of adults, including 81% of Republicans, believe the indictment is “politically motivated.” As many as 36% of all adults disagree that politics are involved. But a similar share of adults, 48%, say that Trump, President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence have all been “treated fairly given the circumstances” surrounding the classified documents found at their homes, compared with 34% who say Trump has been treated unfairly (a majority of Republicans believe he is being treated unfairly).

Reuters and Ipsos polled 1,005 people in America online from Friday (the day the indictment was unsealed), to yesterday, with a margin of error of +/- 5.3% (the error margin for the Republican sample is +/-6.5%). While public opinion could change significantly as the public digests the charges, the poll shows Americans’ early reaction to the decision to charge Trump.

Crenshaw on Trump: ‘I don’t owe him defense’ or ‘excessive critiques’

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, called Trump’s indictment “serious” but said he didn’t have all the facts.

“I’m not dismissing it,” Crenshaw said. “I’m not condemning it. I’m not his spokesperson.”

He added that if and until Trump becomes president again: “I don’t owe him defense. I don’t owe him, but I also don’t owe excessive critiques, either.”

NY AG says other Trump cases may be stalled until after docs case

New York Attorney General Letitia James, right, during a live taping of “Pod Save America” in New York yesterday.Jason Mendez / Getty Images for Tribeca Festival

New York Attorney General Letitia James said in an interview last night that her $250 million lawsuit against Trump and other state cases may wind up being delayed by the federal prosecution against the former president.

“In all likelihood, I believe that my case, as well as DA Bragg and the Georgia case, will unfortunately have to be adjourned pending the outcome of the federal case. So it all depends on the scheduling of this particular case,” James said in an interview with “Pod Save America.”

James’ suit alleges that Trump vastly inflated his assets in order to secure favorable loans he was not entitled to is and is scheduled to go to trial in October. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case charging Trump with felony falsification of business records in a hush money scheme is scheduled for trial next March.

Fani Willis, the Fulton County, Georgia, district attorney investigating whether Trump and his allies interfered in the 2020 election in her state, is expected to announce any charges by August.

James said she expects “a flood” of motions in the federal case, which could slow it down.

Dem leader calls out Higgins for cryptic message to Trump supporters

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Pete Aguilar singled out Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La., by name today for tweeting a cryptic message to Trump supporters that some said hinted at violence.

House Republicans’ “posture is troubling. It’s deeply troubling to read tweets like Clay Higgins that basically tells folks to ‘stand back and stand by.’ For those of us who were in the chamber on Jan. 6, we view this from a very dangerous perspective,” said Aguilar, a California Democrat and member of the special House committee that investigated the Capitol attack.

Noting that Trump will have the chance to make his case in court, Aguilar said, “The allegations are incredibly troubling and the fact that House Republicans continue to try to come to his rescue just blows our mind.”

Some perceived Higgins’ tweet as a call to war. But Higgins later said in a statement he and other conservatives are “not willing to violate our Constitution” and accused the federal government of entrapment.

“My fellow conservatives, the DOJ/FBI doesn’t expect to imprison Trump, they expect to imprison you,” Higgins said in a statement. “They want J6 again, in Miami and in your city and in mine. They want MAGA conservatives to react to this perimeter probe and in doing so, set yourselves up for targeted persecution and further entrapment.”

Higgins’ Freedom Caucus ally, Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., was more explicit, saying the situation had reached a “war phase. Eye for an eye.”

Police sweep has ended, public being allowed back in

Erika Angulo

Police investigating a suspicious object have finished sweeping the area. Everyone is being allowed back in.

Ramaswamy reiterates he would pardon Trump if elected

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy outside the courthouse in Miami today.Joe Raedle / Getty Images

GOP long-shot presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy reiterated to reporters at a press conference that he would pardon Trump if elected and is demanding that other candidates sign a letter pledging the same.

“I respectfully request that you join me in this commitment or else publicly explain why you will not,” Ramaswamy wrote in the letter, which was made public in a press release.

Ramaswamy conceded in the press conference outside the Miami courthouse that he would have made “different judgments than Donald Trump made” if he were president, but said the indictment “reeks of politicization.”

He also responded to calls by Trump supporters for him to drop out of the race and endorse the former president. Ramaswamy said he is “running to win this election.”

The businessman polled at just about 2% in an April NBC News survey.

Miami police respond to suspicious object near federal courthouse

Miami police assisted Homeland Security in responding to a suspicious object found near the federal courthouse where Trump is set to be arraigned this afternoon, according to the police department. Traffic in the area has been temporarily shut down.

Police moved reporters near the courthouse to investigate, and law enforcement and police dogs are sweeping the area.

Thune suggests Trump’s indictment will hurt GOP candidates in 2024 elections

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., suggested today that Trump’s indictment won’t help Republicans in the 2024 election cycle.

“I think if you look at the record, in ‘18, ‘20 and ‘22, when he’s the issue, we lose,” Thune, the Senate minority whip, told reporters on Capitol Hill.

“I would rather have the issue be Biden and his policies,” he continued. “And I think the way that you do that is, you get a different nominee, which is why I endorsed somebody else.”

Thune said last month that he was endorsing his Senate colleague, Tim Scott of South Carolina, for the GOP presidential nomination.

Blumenthal says judge in case should recuse herself

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said this morning that he believes the judge overseeing Trump’s federal criminal case in Miami should recuse herself.

Cannon, a Trump appointee, drew scrutiny last year when she issued rulings favorable to the former president on the handling of documents in the case after his lawyers pushed back against the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, his Florida golf club and estate.

“I think there’s a lot here for ordinary Americans, not to mention cynics, to doubt in the record of this judge,” Blumenthal said. “But she can overcome it by being fair, impartial and straightforward, which I hope she will be.”

“In the total scheme of things? I’d advise her to recuse, because I think she starts behind in light of her previous rulings,” he added.

Pressed on ‘substance’ of charges, Scalise points to Biden and Clinton

Asked by NBC News about the “substance” of the charges against Trump, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise deflected the question and pivoted to past business and classified documents investigations into the Biden family and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“Obviously, as you talk about the substance, what you first can’t get past is the fact that justice is not being carried out equally,” Scalise, R-La., told reporters at the weekly GOP leadership news conference after a meeting of House Republicans.

“Did you see a raid on Joe Biden’s garage? Did you see a raid on Hillary’s server? She wasn’t president of the United States, and she had classified documents on a server that she destroyed.

“Different treatment is what angers people.”

GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., a Trump ally like Scalise, opened the press conference, arguing that the Trump prosecution was purely about the 2024 election.

“The Biden administration continues to egregiously weaponize the federal government against Joe Biden’s top political opponent,” she said. “This abuse of power is rotting out numerous federal agencies.”

Feds would have preferred more ‘hardened’ security today, official says

Kelly O’Donnell

Federal officials have expressed concern that there are not hardened barriers outside the federal courthouse in Miami where Trump will be arraigned.

“We would have preferred … a more hardened bike rack type situation,” a U.S. Secret Service official told NBC News.

Officials are not concerned about Trump’s safety so much as the potential safety risk generally when large crowds assemble given that Florida is a concealed carry state, the source said.

“You have a higher likelihood of people carrying weapons, so the slightest combustion point could very quickly escalate into some problems,” the official said, adding, “That’s why you want to have those pathways, which is our normal posture,” referring to bike rack lanes.

While the official confirmed the security plan set up for today’s court appearance is not a federal operation, Secret Service officials emphasized that the relationship between the federal agency and Miami officials is “still very strong.”

“We understand that is their decision, and we respect it,” the Secret Service official said. “It’s Miami. They know the community best.”

Who is Trump lawyer Kise?

Daniel Barnes and Megan Lebowitz

Florida-based Christopher Kise has filed a notice of appearance as Trump’s lawyer in the classified documents case. Kise, a former Florida solicitor general, practices in the state’s Southern District.

Kise also previously served on DeSantis’ transition team. He started representing Trump, his former boss’s now-presidential rival, in 2022, shortly after the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago. His legal career has taken him before the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Trump’s New York-based lawyer, Todd Blanche, has also filed a motion to appear “pro hac vice,” which allows out-of-town lawyers to get permission from a judge to practice in a district for the limited purposes of a particular case.

Graham condemns violent threats in response to indictment

Asked about the allegations against the former president, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a top Trump ally, told reporters that he doesn’t “like mishandling classified information by anybody.”

“I don’t like what happened with Clinton servers. I don’t like having stuff on the garage of Biden’s floor,” he said. “I don’t like compromising classified information.”

Asked about some House Republicans who have alluded to violence in retribution for Trump’s federal indictment, Graham condemned the “irresponsible” response.

“There’s no violent solution to this problem,” he said. “We have a legal system — he will be represented, there will be appeals. This will go all way to the Supreme Court.”

“There’s a belief on the Republican side that the law doesn’t apply equally to Republicans and Democrats, but that’s no reason to engage in violent activity,” he added.

Trump indictment comes as GOP loses faith in FBI, DOJ

Ben Kamisar

One important backdrop for the forthcoming arraignment is that Republicans have been souring on both the Justice Department and the FBI since Trump first took office.

Pew Research Center polling from March found just 38% of Republicans and Republican-leaning adults having a favorable view of the FBI. That’s down from 49% in 2018, 65% in January 2017 (right before Trump was sworn in) and 71% in 2010.

Republicans have also soured on the Justice Department, but the trend is similar to what we saw during the Obama administration. That March Pew poll found the Justice Department with a 40% favorable rating with Republicans and Republican leaners, down from 60% in 2018, but similar to the 44% favorable rating from 2010.

Read more on the Meet the Press Blog.

Trump will not have a mug shot taken, source says

Officials will not be taking a mug shot of Trump during the booking process today, a law enforcement source told NBC News.

Instead, officials plan to upload a photo of Trump into their internal booking system. The public will not have access to this internal system.

Trump will have to provide personal data such as his telephone number, address and Social Security number, as part of the process. His hand will also be scanned digitally, without the use of ink.

Activist Laura Loomer is outside the courthouse

Laura Loomer, a far-right activist and provocateur, said she organized the protest outside the courthouse this morning, saying she hopes that at least a couple thousand Trump supporters attend, but that “any showing is a good showing.”

Loomer also called on the GOP field to unite behind Trump in the wake of the indictment. “Honestly, they should drop out of the race today in unity with President Trump and they should get behind him,” she said of the other candidates.

Donalds: ‘There are 33 bathrooms at Mar-a-Lago’

GOP Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida defended Trump’s storage of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago on CNN this morning, saying people cannot walk through Trump’s golf club “of your own accord, because Secret Service is all over the place.”

Referring to a photo of boxes of records stored in a Mar-a-Lago bathroom and shower that was included in the indictment, Donalds said: “There are 33 bathrooms at Mar-a-Lago, so don’t act like it’s just in some random bathroom that the guests can go into.”

Trump attacks special counsel on social media, calls him a ‘thug’

Trump attacked special counsel Jack Smith in a post on his social media platform Truth Social this morning, calling Smith a “thug” and claiming he “probably” planted evidence in the boxes seized by federal agents that contained classified documents.

“This is the Thug, over turned consistently and unanimously in big cases, that Biden and his CORRUPT Injustice Department stuck on me,” Trump said. “He’s a Radical Right lunatic and Trump hater.”

Trump campaign releases fundraising email hours before arraignment

Hours before Trump’s scheduled arraignment, his campaign released a fundraising email asking his supporters to “say a prayer for America” because “our justice system is DEAD.”

The email this morning repeats Trump’s denial of any wrongdoing in the classified documents case, reminds his supporters that he will be arraigned this afternoon and thanks them for their support.

“I am blown away by all of your donations, your support, and your prayers,” the email says. “You know more than anyone that WE WILL PREVAIL — just like we always have.”

“We will win. We will save our country. And we will Make America Great Again!”

Lawyers Kise and Blanche to join Trump at arraignment

Trump will be joined today by lawyers Todd Blanche and Chris Kise. Meetings with additional local attorneys continue but no new announcements are expected today, a source familiar with the discussions said.

Reporters and spectators file into the courthouse

Reporters and members of the public have filed into the courthouse in Miami ahead of Trump’s historic arraignment today.

A line to enter the courthouse began forming a day earlier, with the clerk expected to choose just 20 people to enter the room for Trump’s appearance. The rest will fill an overflow room that fits about 350 people.

Trump will enter his plea before a judge this afternoon. He was indicted last week on 37 federal felony counts, including the willful retention of national defense information.

The former president is accused of taking and improperly storing sensitive government secrets, then resisting a federal subpoena demanding their return. He has said he will plead not guilty to the charges.

Black Trump supporters rally outside Miami courthouse

Outside the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. U.S. Courthouse in Miami where Trump is set to be arraigned later today, a group of about two dozen “Blacks for Trump” supporters, a group that included a young child, railed against the indictment.

One member, Maurice Symonette, who calls himself “Michael the Black Man,” slammed the indictment “fake” and “filled with fluff.” Symonette is a staple at Trump rallies and is a former member of the Nation of Yahweh, a Black separatist cult, and one of 16 members charged with murder and attempted murder more than two decades ago.

This is the largest demonstration so far, where for more than an hour a lone supporter dressed in royal regalia waved a Trump-DeSantis sign.

Roger Stone, a Trump ally, told NBC News that he has not been involved in any planned protests and will not be in Miami. Stone has publicly urged protestors “to act peacefully, civilly and legally,” he said.

Trump will be arraigned in the afternoon on charges of willfully retaining classified documents. The indictment has drawn outcry from supporters who accuse President Joe Biden of weaponizing the Justice Department against a political foe.

Haley: If indictment is true, Trump was ‘incredibly reckless’

Nikki Haley, a Republican presidential candidate, said during an interview on Fox News last night that Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents was an “incredibly reckless” move that endangered the country’s national security.

Haley, a former United Nations ambassador in the Trump administration and South Carolina governor, noted that Trump’s indictment over his handling of classified documents strikes a chord with her as a military spouse. Haley’s husband is set to deploy with South Carolina’s Army National Guard for a yearlong tour of service in Africa.

“This puts all our military men and women in danger if you are going to talk about what our military is capable of, or how we would go about invading or doing something with one of our enemies,” she said. “And if that’s the case, it’s reckless, it’s frustrating, it causes problems.”

Haley expressed concerns that Trump’s legal issues could help President Joe Biden win re-election.

“My concern is not as much how this plays out and what we do with it. My concern is about the direction of the country, the fact that we cannot have Biden win this election,” she said. “We cannot go through Biden or Kamala Harris winning this election. We’ve gotta have someone who can win a general election.”

Christie warns against electing ‘angry’ and ‘vengeful’ Trump

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ripped into Trump during a CNN town hall last night, calling the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president “angry” and “vengeful” and saying his actions demonstrate vanity and ego “run amok.”

Christie, who launched his 2024 presidential campaign last week, said he is convinced that if Trump is elected again, “the next four years will all be about him just settling scores.”

“He has shown himself, and I think most particularly in his post-presidency, to be completely self-centered, completely self-consumed and doesn’t give a damn about the American people, in my view,” the one-time Trump ally said.

Christie, a former federal prosecutor, also said Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, was “absolutely right” in calling the indictment against Trump “very damning.”

“It is a very tight, very detailed, evidence-laden indictment,” Christie said. He added that he thought it “indefensible” that other Republican candidates for president weren’t addressing Trump’s indictment.

A timeline of the classified documents probe

The federal investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents has gone on for more than two years, with numerous twists and turns.

A detailed timeline compiled by NBC News takes a close look at the origins of the investigation and what comes next.

Read the full story here.

Trump to appear in federal court in Florida

Amid heightened security and anticipated protests, Trump is set to appear today in federal court in Miami to face charges he misled investigators and mishandled the country’s secrets.

Trump, 76, is scheduled to appear before a magistrate judge at 3 p.m. ET, when he’ll be arraigned alongside his co-defendant and aide, Walt Nauta, 40.

Trump was indicted last week on 37 federal felony counts, including willful retention of national defense information, making false statements and representations and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Miami Police Chief Manny Morales said yesterday that the city is bracing for the possibility of thousands of protesters at the courthouse and has been coordinating with federal, state and local partners “to ensure that we maintain not only peace and order,” but also the ability for demonstrators “to express themselves and their First Amendment rights.”

Read the full story here.

Read More