Messaging On Trump Indictments

Talking Points and Disinformation Pushback re: Trump Indictments

Click for our Social Media Toolkit and GIFS from IntoAction. Please share the truth about the latest Trump indictment.


Yesterday, a federal Grand Jury of everyday Americans indicted the former MAGA President on charges tracing back to 2021. As we anticipate even more criminal charges in the coming months, including for electoral interference in Georgia, we know that the MAGA Republicans that supported, schemed, and covered up for him are still in power today. Our task is to bring their complicity in this criminal conspiracy into view and to connect this one case to the larger pattern of deliberately spreading lies, breaking laws, and fomenting corruption in order to grab and hold onto power. 

Americans value our freedoms – our freedom to elect leaders who respect our will, protect our interests and govern in our name. Now, a Grand Jury of everyday Floridians across race, background, and party issued a federal indictment of the former MAGA President for threatening America by stealing national security documents, conspiring to obstruct justice, and lying in order to cling to power. Yet the MAGA Republicans in office today that supported, schemed and covered up for him want to overturn our legal system to allow him to evade consequences, carry on this criminal conspiracy and seize power unchecked.

From the House of Representatives to the Supreme Court to state legislatures, including the very scene of the crime in Florida, they want to take away our freedoms and rule for the wealthy few. We must come together and demand that anyone who aided, abetted or excused the MAGA criminal conspiracy be held accountable so we can make this a place where our leaders honor their oaths, protecting our country and our freedoms. 

No one is above the law – not even a former president of the United States.


After a grand jury of everyday Americans reviewed mountains of evidence, Donald Trump has been indicted by the Department of Justice on 37 criminal counts – with charges including obstruction of justice, conspiracy, and violating the Espionage Act.

The devastating indictment is based on firsthand witness testimony, text messages, emails, and photos. It shows that Trump is charged with:

Violating the Espionage Act:

  • Trump is charged with violating the Espionage Act after he knowingly took approximately 300 highly classified documents from the CIA, Pentagon, and National Security Agency that endangered our national security.
  • According to the indictment, these documents contained highly classified information regarding defense and weapons capabilities of the U.S. and foreign countries, U.S. nuclear secrets, potential military vulnerabilities, and response plans for a possible foreign attack against the U.S.
  • The indictment indicates that Trump showed the classified national security material to individuals without a security clearance. In fact, the indictment has pictures of stacks of classified documents sitting publicly in the resort’s ballroom where he regularly entertained hundreds of guests – including foreign nationals.
  • Trump publicly and repeatedly admitted to intentionally taking the classified documents. He says it was not a mistake.

Obstruction of Justice & Conspiracy to Obstruct:

  • According to the indictment, Trump repeatedly blocked federal law enforcement attempting to retrieve the documents.
  • According to the indictment, Trump directed his staff and lawyers to hide evidence, lie and obstruct the FBI and grand jury in an attempt to keep them from recovering the documents.

Let’s be clear: Any other individual who did what Trump reportedly did would end up in prison. 

  • Trump should not be treated any differently just because he’s rich, famous, or a former president.
  • The rule of law is a basic principle – everyone must equally abide by our nation’s laws, and those laws should be equally enforced.
  • Dozens of others who have committed similar, and, in many cases, lesser offenses, have been prosecuted.


No, Trump is also not being held to a different standard than President Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence.

  • Trump’s pattern of statements and actions show that he intended to take the classified documents and he obstructed the government’s efforts to recover them.
  • Unlike Trump, both Biden and Pence cooperated with the government’s investigations upon learning they were mistakenly in possession of classified documents. There is no evidence to suggest that either Biden or Pence tried to obstruct or hide documents.
  • A key point from the indictment: Trump was not criminally charged for the retention of any documents he returned willingly, before he was subpoenaed in 2022. In other words, if Trump had returned all of the documents as requested by federal agencies – like Pence and Biden did – he likely would not have been charged by the DOJ at all.

No, the Presidential Records Act (PRA) does not justify Trump’s behavior.

  • While Trump and his legal team have posited that the PRA allows Trump to decide unilaterally if any document is personal, and thus legally hold onto it, this is simply not the case. When Trump took documents to Mar-a-Lago, the handling of any classified document, no matter its status under the PRA, was also subject to the limits of Executive Order 13526, which Trump did not follow.

No, Trump’s declaration that he had a standing policy of declassification is baseless.

No, presidents do not have unilateral power to declassify documents relating to national security.

  • Trump did not follow the specific rules and procedures governed by Executive Order 13526.
  • Trump could have abrogated the Executive Order when he was president, but he did not, so its rules govern his post-presidential conduct. 

No, there is no credible evidence to suggest that Trump took the steps necessary to declassify the documents. 

  • Trump and his allies have claimed repeatedly in public that he declassified some or all of the documents bearing classification markings that were recovered from MAL—but there is simply no evidence that he did.
  • No president or former president has the power to declassify documents simply by removing them from The White House or thinking they are declassified.
  • Reports show that Trump acknowledged on tape in a 2021 meeting that he had retained “secret” military information that he had not declassified.

No, Trump can’t claim ignorance of the rules regarding declassification. 

  • NARA has provided the DOJ with 16 records showing that Trump and his top advisers had knowledge of the correct declassification process—according to reports.
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