On Thursday, the Justice Department charged former President Donald Trump in federal court with a series of criminal charges, including violations of the Espionage Act.
The charges arise out of an investigation into his handling of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home. This represents the second criminal filing against the former president and occurs on the heels of his indictment in state court in New York for illegally concealing hush-money payments to an adult film star.
Before Trump, no president in U.S. history has faced criminal prosecution after leaving office. Additionally, he isn’t just a figure of the past — he’s also the frontrunner candidate in the Republican presidential field.
Politico congressional reporter Kyle Cheney and University of Michigan constitutional law professor Richard Primus joined Detroit Today to discuss the new developments of Trump’s indictment.
Listen: Trump’s likely indictment and how it affects our democracy
Kyle Cheney is a congressional reporter for Politico. Cheney says that while many in the Republican party interpret this indictment as politically motivated to undermine the GOP’s frontrunner candidate for the 2024 presidential election, he believes that all evidence points away from the Justice Department’s charges as a partisan move.
“Once we see the details, it becomes a much harder thing to mischaracterize or treat as this apocalyptic attack on a political adversary,” says Cheney.
Richard Primus is a constitutional law professor at the University of Michigan. Primus says that Trump’s attempts to evade the consequences of his actions, while also showing a lack of self-restraint and apathy toward the due process of the American legal system, undermines our democracy.
“The system requires that people in positions of great power exercise a fair amount of restraint,” says Primus. “The system can’t function on any other terms.”