Updated Jun 13, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Trump pleads not guilty to all federal charges in classified docs probe

Former U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he makes a visit to the Cuban restaurant Versailles after he appeared for his arraignment on June 13, 2023 in Miami, Florida.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he makes a visit to the Cuban restaurant Versailles after he appeared for his arraignment on June 13, 2023 in Miami, Florida. Photo: Alon Skuy/Getty Images

Former President Trump pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges related to retaining classified information and obstruction of justice at a Miami federal courthouse, multiple outlets reported.

Why it matters: Trump, the 2024 GOP presidential frontrunner, faced a historic 37-count indictment related to his handling of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida after he left the White House.

  • "We most certainly enter a plea of not guilty, your honor," Todd Blanche, the attorney who stood for Trump, said inside the courtroom.

Trump surrendered to authorities earlier Tuesday. The former president, who frequently insists that he is the victim of politically-motivated investigators, has denied wrongdoing.

  • Walt Nauta, Trump's aide who was also indicted, was not arraigned Tuesday because he did not have local counsel, per multiple reports. He is scheduled to be arraigned on June 27.

The big picture: The indictment unsealed Friday by a Miami grand jury followed a months-long probe led by special counsel Jack Smith.

  • Smith was seated in the front row during Trump's arraignment behind Jay Bratt, David Harbach and Julie Edelstein, who are the prosecutors representing the Justice Department in Miami.

State of play: Trump was last indicted in March by a grand jury in New York on charges related to a hush money payment.

What’s next: The former president will travel to New Jersey for a planned fundraiser. He is expected to deliver remarks around 8pm ET at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.

Go deeper: Listen to the Axios Today podcast, where host Niala Boodhoo and Alex Thompson unpack Trump's argument about the Presidential Records Acts and a call to his supporters.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional reporting and background. Axios' Jacob Knutson, Sri Ravipati and TuAnh Dam contributed to this report.

Attorney General Merrick Garland tapped veteran prosecutor Jack Smith, 54, last November to oversee federal investigations into Trump.

The big picture: The appointment of a special counsel came days after Trump declared his 2024 run for president, to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest.

  • As part of the classified docs probe, Smith reportedly conducted interviews with nearly every employee at Trump's Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, serving up key witnesses like Corcoran to the grand jury.

What they’re saying: Trump has called the prosecutor a "political hit man" among other insults.

  • After Trump’s indictment was announced, Smith said: “We have one set of laws in this country, and they apply to everyone.”

Background: Smith previously was a chief prosecutor at The Hague, where he investigated war crimes in Kosovo.

  • He’s a New York native, Harvard Law graduate, registered independent and triathlete.

Read more about his life inside and outside the courtroom.

Government secrets — including about its nuclear program, military plans and intelligence briefings — were stuffed into cardboard boxes at Mar-a-Lago where "tens of thousands" of people might have come across them, Axios’ Stef Kight reports.

Why it matters: Boxes were kept in a bedroom, bathroom and even a shower at Trump’s club. According to the indictment, papers were even allegedly shuffled between Mar-a-Lago and Trump’s summer home in Bedminster, N.J.

Read more about where docs were found after Trump left office.

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