WASHINGTON – In Washington, D.C., on Monday, U.S. Rep. Carlos Gimenez said former President Donald Trump was confident that he was going to beat the federal charges against him over classified documents.
On Friday, when the Justice Department announced the indictment, Gimenez was in New Jersey playing golf with Trump, the front-runner for the Republican 2024 nomination, at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.
“He is confident,” Gimenez said. “I am sure he is going to put a very good legal team around him.”
During the 2016 election, Gimenez, the former mayor of Miami-Dade County, voted for Hillary Clinton, who ran against Trump. Gimenez later decided to support Trump in 2020 and in April.
“He is being targeted unfairly,” Gimenez said about the indictment that included photographs of classified documents stored in cardboard boxes near a toilet and shower in a bathroom, on the stage of a ballroom, in an office, in a bedroom, and in a storage room.
After the announcement, Trump received phone calls from supporters, according to Gimenez.
“Look, it’s really easy, fairly easy, to indict somebody,” Gimenez said. “It’s a lot harder to convict somebody.”
Trump, who is set to spend the night at the Doral golf club, plans to surrender before his 3 p.m. hearing at the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. U.S. Courthouse on Tuesday in downtown Miami.
“There are two sides to every story,” Gimenez said. “Remember, we were told for a long time that somehow Trump was colluding with Russia and that turned out to be a hoax.”
William Barr, the former attorney general under Trump, wasn’t as optimistic.
Barr appeared on Fox News after the indictment to say that Trump didn’t have a right to keep the documents at the clubs in Mar-a-Lago or Bedminster.
“If even half of it is true, then he’s toast,” Barr said.
The National Archives and Records Administration asked the U.S. Department of Justice for help to recover documents last year and this resulted in the May 2022 grand jury subpoena and the FBI raid in August. The content of some of the documents the FBI recovered included another country’s “nuclear capabilities,” U.S. “nuclear weaponry,” and “military operations” against the U.S., according to the indictment.
Waltine “Walt” Nauta, a former military valet who served Trump at The White House and Mar-a-Lago, was also indicted in the case and accused of lying to the FBI about his involvement in moving 64 boxes from the storage room to the residence and later returning 30 from the residence to the storage room.
The indictment alleges “Nauta did, in fact, know that the boxes in Pine Hall had come from the Storage Room, as Nauta himself, with the assistance of Trump Employee 2, had moved the boxes from the Storage Room to Pine Hall; and Nauta had observed the boxes in and moved them to various locations at The Mar-a-Lago Club.”
The indictment alleges one of Trump’s attorneys found 38 classified documents in the storage room, placed them in a folder, and closed it with duct tape. Some of the boxes also allegedly traveled from Mar-a-Lago and on a plane to be delivered to Trump’s club in Bedminster.
Trump is facing 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record, corruptly concealing a document or record, concealing a document in a federal investigation, a scheme to conceal, and false statements and representations.