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The former Republican president and his associate Walt Nauta are charged in a 38-count indictment, according to the unsealed document.
The criminal indictment against Donald John Trump was unsealed on Friday by the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to the document, Trump is being charged with 38 counts related to the government documents he was not authorized to retain or share with others after leaving office. An associate, Walt Nauta, is also included in the indictment.
According to the New York Times:
The indictment outlines a number of incidents when Trump obstructed the Justice Department's investigation, including "suggesting that his attorney falsely represent to the F.B.I. and grand jury" that he did not in fact have documents called for by a subpoena.
The unsealed indictment also accuses Trump of showing classified documents to other people not authorized to see them on two separate occasions. A pdf of the full indictment can be found here. Read the full document below:
Federal Indictment Against Donald J. Trump by Common Dreams on Scribd
"We're heading into an extremely tumultuous election season," said one expert. "What's happening in the United States is political violence is going from the fringe to the mainstream."
More than two years after the deadly January 6 insurrection, 12 million people in the United States, or 4.4% of the adult population, believe the use of violence is justified to restore former President Donald Trump to power, The Guardianreported Friday.
This percentage has declined from nearly 10% in 2021, when the Chicago Project on Security & Threats (CPOST) first began conducting its Dangers to Democracy surveys of U.S. adults. But April data the University of Chicago research center shared exclusively with The Guardian reveals that a treacherous amount of support for political violence and conspiracy theories persists nationwide.
In the two and a half years since Trump's bid to overturn his 2020 loss fell short, Republican state lawmakers have launched a full-fledged assault on the franchise, enacting dozens of voter suppression and election subversion laws meant to increase their control over electoral outcomes. Due to obstruction from Republicans and corporate Democrats, Congress has failed to pass federal voting rights protections and other safeguards designed to prevent another coup attempt ahead of November 2024.
"We're heading into an extremely tumultuous election season," Robert Pape, a University of Chicago professor and CPOST director, told The Guardian. "What's happening in the United States is political violence is going from the fringe to the mainstream."
Several right-wing candidates who echoed Trump's relentless lies about President Joe Biden's 2020 victory lost in last year's midterms. But more than 210 others—including at least two who participated in the January 6 rally that escalated into an attack on the U.S. Capitol—won congressional seats and races for governor, secretary of state, and attorney general, underscoring the extent to which election denialism is now entrenched in the GOP and jeopardizes U.S. democracy for the foreseeable future.
The CPOST survey conducted in April found that 20% of U.S. adults still believe "the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump and Joe Biden is an illegitimate president," down only slightly from the 26% who said so in 2021.
"What you're seeing is really disturbing levels of distrust in American democracy, support for dangerous conspiracy theories, and support for political violence itself," Pape told The Guardian.
According to the newspaper, Pape compared "sentiments about political violence" to "the kindling for a wildfire." While "many were unaware that the events on January 6 would turn violent, research shows that public support for violence was widespread, so the attacks themselves should not have come as a surprise."
"Once you have support for violence in the mainstream, those are the raw ingredients or the raw combustible material and then speeches, typically by politicians, can set them off," said Pape. "Or if they get going, speeches can encourage them to go further."
Pape pointed out that there was chatter among far-right groups and on online forums about potentially using force to prevent lawmakers from certifying Biden's win, but Trump's January 6 address at the White House Ellipse was the spark that ignited the mob to storm the halls of Congress.
CPOST's latest findings are based on polling completed before Trump was federally indicted Thursday night on seven criminal counts in the special counsel investigation into his handling of classified documents. The charges, including willful retention of national defense secrets, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy, could carry years in prison for the GOP's leading 2024 presidential candidate.
In response to the indictment, several Republican lawmakers rallied to Trump's defense, parroting his dismissal of the probe as a "witch hunt." Fox News personalities also denounced what they called the "weaponization" of the U.S. justice system, while commenters on Breibartopined that "this is how revolution begins."
The menacing language mirrored what was said after the FBI in early August 2022 searched Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort and removed boxes of documents as part of the federal probe into his handling of classified materials.
At the time, many anonymous and some well-known reactionaries called for "civil war" on Twitter, patriots.win, and elsewhere. Soon after, Ricky Shiffer, a Trump loyalist with suspected ties to a far-right group and an unspecified connection to the January 6 insurrection, was shot and killed by police following an hourslong standoff. Shiffer, wielding an AR-15 and a nail gun, allegedly attempted to break into the FBI's Cincinnati office and fled to a nearby field when he was unsuccessful.
Afterward, Trump continued to lie about the Mar-a-Lago search on Truth Social, sparking an "unprecedented" surge in threats against FBI personnel and facilities. In March, just before he was hit with a 34-count felony indictment in the Manhattan district attorney's investigation into alleged hush money payments made during the run-up to the 2016 election, Trump called on his supporters to "protest" and "take our nation back," though right-wing violence did not materialize in that instance.
The Guardian on Friday observed that "it's important to track public sentiment about political violence regularly," noting that CPOST plans to release data from its Dangers to Democracy survey every three months from now until the 2024 election. "The instigating event, usually a speech or comment by a person in power, is unpredictable and can set people off at any moment, but the underlying support for violence is more predictable and trackable."
The research center's most recent survey found that "almost 14%—a minority of Americans, but still a significant number—believe the use of force is justified to 'achieve political goals that I support,'" the newspaper reported. "More specifically, 12.4% believe it's justified to restore the federal right to abortion, 8.4% believe it's justified to ensure members of Congress and other government officials do the right thing, 6.3% think it's justified to preserve the rights of white Americans, and 6.1% believe it's justified to prevent the prosecution of Trump."
Citing Duke University political science professor Peter Feaver, The Guardian noted that "while public support for political violence might seem extreme, a confluence of factors is necessary for actual violence to occur—which is still rare. On January 6, there was a time-sensitive action, an already existing rally, and inciters including Trump who encouraged others to commit violence."
According to Feaver, "You needed all of that at the same time to turn what would have been latent sentiment of the sort that this survey captures into actual violence."
On top of broad support for Trump's "Big Lie," the survey found that one in ten U.S. adults think "a secret group of Satan-worshiping pedophiles is ruling the U.S. government," meaning QAnon had roughly the same percentage of adherents in April as it did in 2021. The survey also found that a quarter of U.S. adults agree that "the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World," revealing an alarming amount of ongoing support for the white nationalist "great replacement" theory.
More optimistically, the survey found that over 77% of U.S. adults want Republicans and Democrats in Congress to issue a joint statement condemning any political violence.
"There's a tremendous amount of opposition to political violence in the United States," Pape remarked, "but it is not mobilized."
"After a near-catastrophic default thanks to political games by our Republican colleagues, it's time to put the debt ceiling in the hands of the Treasury secretary," said Sen. Dick Durbin.
In the wake of President Joe Biden and Congress just barely averting an economically catastrophic U.S. default, a pair of Democratic leaders on Friday introduced a bill intended to stop Republican lawmakers from holding the economy hostage again.
Contending that the recent crisis proves the current process "is broken and unsustainable," House Budget Committee Ranking Member Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced the Debt Ceiling Reform Act.
Boyle and Durbin's move comes after Biden on Saturday signed the so-called Fiscal Responsibility Act—the debt ceiling compromise he negotiated with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)—just two days before the default deadline. The deal suspends the borrowing limit until 2025, after the next election cycle, but includes devstating concessions to the GOP.
"A definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. If we do not significantly change the debt ceiling process, Republicans will keep taking our economy hostage and provoking default," Boyle warned. "The Debt Ceiling Reform Act will end Republicans' perennial weaponization of the debt ceiling once and for all by making it harder for extremists to take the debt ceiling hostage."
\u201cWe just saw MAGA Republicans use the debt ceiling to hold our nation hostage \u2014 threatening to crash the economy unless they got their extreme demands.\n\nToday, I'm introducing legislation to make sure it never happens again.\u201d— Rep. Brendan Boyle (@Rep. Brendan Boyle) 1686316686
"This legislation is a sensible response to Republicans' repeated hostage-taking, manufactured default crises, and toxic brinkmanship," he said. "I am proud to join Sen. Durbin in introducing this much-needed legislation to permanently take default off the table and provide the economic stability the American people deserve from their government."
Although the proposal would not fully abolish the arbitrary and arguably unconstitutional debt limit—as some economists, legislators, scholars, and others have called for in response to recent GOP conduct—Boyle and Durbin's legislation would authorize the U.S. Treasury Department to continue paying the nation's bills unless, within 30 days, both chambers pass a veto-proof resolution of disapproval.
The sponsors highlighted that it is similar to what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) proposed in 2011, when the Obama administration—for which Biden was vice president—was working with a divided Congress to prevent a historic default.
According to The Wall Street Journal, which exclusively reported on the bill's introduction:
Boyle concedes that the bill's prospects in the Republican-led House are dim, but he said he is hopeful that some GOP lawmakers might be convinced that debt ceiling fights are more trouble than they are worth, particularly after a rebellion from some conservative lawmakers over the latest debt ceiling deal paralyzed the House this week.
"I am hoping that there will be Republican members who are interested in this specific reform," he said.
A similar bill introduced by Boyle and Durbin last Congress had 22 House co-sponsors, all of them Democrats. The new bill has at least 48 House co-sponsors, including former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Durbin is the sole Senate sponsor.
"After a near-catastrophic default thanks to political games by our Republican colleagues, it's time to put the debt ceiling in the hands of the Treasury secretary," Durbin declared Friday. "For the sake of the American people and for the good of our economy, we need legislation to reform the way we address the debt ceiling."
"The Debt Ceiling Reform Act is responsible, commonsense legislation that will give the Treasury the authority to raise the debt ceiling," he continued. "If Republicans are truly concerned about the economic well-being of America, they will work with us on this sensible solution."
\u201cThe debt ceiling is an entirely made-up issue that serves no purpose besides giving Republicans the chance to hold our economy hostage every few years.\n\nIt's about time Dems started seriously working towards eliminating it for good.\nhttps://t.co/WRnJSS5gwR\u201d— Patriotic Millionaires (@Patriotic Millionaires) 1686322492
Meanwhile, calls for Democratic leadership to work toward abolishing the debt limit—whether through the courts or legislation—continue to mount, especially given concerns about a fight over the next hike.
"This round of negotiations was fought to a draw, but the White House backed itself into a corner before the next one even started. The White House may have won a reprieve from fiscal policy fights, but there's a fiscal policy hurricane brewing," Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, a researcher at the Revolving Door Project, wrote Friday for The American Prospect.
If Biden wins reelection next year but the GOP secures a majority in one or both chambers of Congress, Gyauch-Lewis warned, "Republicans will likely be able to again hold the entire global economy hostage. The ransom this time around may well be even more drastic. The GOP, emboldened by their victory, could try to win extensions of spending and tax cuts along with kneecapping the Democratic agenda."
"Arguably, Biden would still find himself embroiled in these negotiations even if Democrats flip the House and hold the Senate; it's entirely plausible that he could need to court moderate votes," he added. "Or Biden may not be able to get everything into a package that can make it through the Senate's reconciliation process, in which case he would need 60 votes, something Democrats almost certainly won't have on their own."
\u201cWe are going to have a fiscal Kilimanjaro in 2025, with the election outcome highly relevant for policy. Our friends at @revolvingdoorDC write that an assessment of last week's debt deal is incomplete without thinking about how it sets up the next one.\nhttps://t.co/Y6zK29ai1s\u201d— David Dayen (@David Dayen) 1686316728
In an OtherWords column this week, Karen Dolan, who directs the Criminalization of Race and Poverty Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, stressed that while this time around, "Biden was able to hold off the worst harm, this deal still causes significant harm to ordinary people and sets a terrible precedent for more hostage-taking."
"Congress should abolish the debt ceiling," she said. "If Congress won't act, the president should intervene with his considerable executive power and invoke Section 4 of the 14th Amendment, which says that the validity of the public debt of the United States 'shall not be questioned.' He could even mint enough money to ensure there would be no default and no harm to families."