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The top Democrats in the Senate and House called on Friday for former President Donald Trump’s “supporters and critics alike” to allow the federal case against Trump related to classified documents to “proceed peacefully in court.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) made their remarks in a joint statement after a judge unsealed special counsel Jack Smith’s historic indictment of Trump, which revealed 37 criminal charges against him.
“No one is above the law — including Donald Trump,” they wrote. “This indictment must now play out through the legal process, without any outside political or ideological interference.”
No one is above the law—including Donald Trump.
This indictment must now play out through the legal process, without any outside political or ideological interference.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) June 9, 2023
The New York Democrats added that they “encourage Mr. Trump’s supporters and critics alike to let this case proceed peacefully in court.”
Trump, the leading 2024 Republican presidential candidate, faces 31 charges of willful retention of national defense information under the Espionage Act, as well as charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, corruptly concealing a document or record, concealing a document in a federal investigation, and false statements and representations.
The charges relate primarily to documents with classified markings that Trump allegedly brought with him and stored at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida after leaving office in January 2021.
The former president had publicly warned of the looming indictment in a statement Thursday night, telling his followers on Truth Social that he had been informed of it and had been ordered to surrender himself in federal court in Miami on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m.
The Miami Police Department is now preparing for hordes of media, potential protests, and intense traffic jams surrounding the downtown courthouse that day, the Miami Herald reported.
Trump, for his part, has fervently maintained his innocence in the case, citing the Presidential Records Act.
“Nobody said I wasn’t allowed to look at the personal records that I brought with me from the White House. There’s nothing wrong with that. … Under the Presidential Records Act, I’m allowed to do all this,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.
He and several of his Republican allies in Congress have also pointed to the scandal involving Hillary Clinton using her personal email when she was secretary of state to send or receive work emails, a small portion of which included classified information, as a sign of a “two-tiered” or “weaponized” justice system that favors Democrats.
The FBI investigated Clinton and issued a report of its findings in 2016 when she was the Democrat nominee for president, but the Justice Department never charged her after the FBI found she had been “extremely careless” but not “intentionally” negligent.
Additionally, documents with classified markings were found in the past year at President Joe Biden’s home and office from when he was vice president and senator. The Justice Department has opened a special counsel probe into that issue, but the status of the probe remains unknown.
Jeffries’ counterpart, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), vowed to investigate what he called a “double standard” upon learning of the charges against Trump.
“Merrick Garland: the American people elected us to conduct oversight of you. We will fulfill that obligation,” McCarthy said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), a longtime Trump nemesis, had not commented on the matter as of Friday night.