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June 09, 2023

What Maryland officials are saying about Donald Trump’s federal indictment on charges of mishandling classified documents

Credit: Baltimore Sun

Donald Trump said Thursday night that he was indicted on charges of mishandling classified documents, making him the first former president in U.S. history to face federal criminal charges.

Trump, who has already been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury for payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to silence claims of an extramarital sexual encounter, faces additional investigations in Washington and Atlanta that also could lead to criminal charges.

Here’s what some Maryland officials are saying about the former president’s indictment.

U.S. Rep. David Trone, a Democrat who represents Frederick County and Western Maryland and is a contender in the race to fill retiring Sen. Ben Cardin’s seat, said: “If former President Trump is guilty of the charges he was indicted on, he — like any other American — must be held accountable. We are a nation of laws, and as this case unfolds I urge Americans to trust the process. It will take all of us to protect and preserve our democracy.”

U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, a supporter of Trump who is the only Republican in Maryland’s congressional delegation, accused the U.S. Department of Justice of “planning to indict a political opponent right after the FBI was forced to turn over documents detailing bribery and corruption” by President Joe Biden’s family, referencing an offer by the bureau to allow the House Oversight Committee access to a confidential document of an unverified tip about President Joe Biden. The Republican-led committee had scheduled a vote for a contempt charge against FBI Director Christopher Wray, but called the resolution off to accept the bureau’s last-minute offer.

“When our justice system is weaponized against political opponents—we really do look like a third world banana republic,” Harris tweeted, echoing a similar statement he made in March after Trump was indicted by the Manhattan grand jury.

U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Montgomery County Democrat who led the House’s impeachment of Trump after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, said Friday it was “an absolute affront to the rule of law” and an attempt at distraction for Republicans to blame Trump’s indictment on Biden and the unfounded claims against him.

In an interview on MSNBC, Raskin, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said he wasn’t surprised by the indictment in the context of Trump’s history of “violating essential constitutional norms.” He also took aim at Trump’s claim that he is being unfairly targeted as part of a “two-tiered justice system.”

“The idea of a two-tiered system of justice actually has a noble intellectual tradition and it’s really about how the justice system has overwhelmingly favored people like Donald Trump — the rich, the affluent, the well-connected, the powerful, the political — against people who don’t have any of those resources or social standing. And of course that’s the real bias within our justice system,” Raskin said. “They want to now flip it over to say that somehow our justice system discriminates against billionaires and the well connected, which is absurd.”

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, tweeted about the indictment Friday afternoon, quoting Trump from the 2016 presidential campaign when the former president said Hillary Clinton’s email scandal disqualified her for the presidency.

“Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but Trump said it best in 2016: ‘Extreme carelessness with classified material’ and ‘a cover-up that includes false statements and lies’ is ‘totally disqualifying’ for the presidency.”

Baltimore Sun reporters Alecia Taylor and Sam Janesch contributed to this story.