VIDEO | Andonovic: Trump's return, a nightmare for Republicans and Democrats?
Former US President Donald Trump has been accused of handling classified documents after leaving the White House.
Trump faces seven counts of impeachment, including unlawful withholding of classified documents and obstruction of justice, conspiracy charges, perjury, and unlawful possession of classified documents under the Espionage Act.
It is the second indictment against Trump and the first at the federal level against the former president.
The indictment, filed by the Justice Department, represents another legal challenge for Trump, who wants to return to the White House next year.
He was recently indicted in New York on 34 counts of concealing an extramarital affair during the campaign and is the subject of investigations in Washington and Atlanta that could result in criminal charges.
Trump has already announced on social media this morning that he must appear in a courtroom in Miami on Tuesday.
"I am an innocent man," Trump wrote on the Truth Social platform.
The Justice Department has been investigating whether Trump mishandled classified documents after he left the White House in 2021.
After searching his Mar-a-Lago property in Palm Beach, Florida, nearly a year ago, investigators seized about 13.000 documents, 100 of which contained classified information that had to be protected.
Trump previously defended himself by claiming that those documents are no longer classified because he declassified them as president, but offered no evidence of that.
Last week, reports surfaced that prosecutors obtained an audio recording of Trump admitting to keeping the classified document after he left the White House in January 2021.
It is against US law for federal officials – including the president – to remove or store classified documents in unauthorized locations.
Trump was the president of the United States from 2017 to 2021, and is the favorite for the Republican presidential nomination. He claims he is the victim of a politically motivated witch hunt and accuses the Justice Department of bias.
He is campaigning to return to the White House in the 2024 election.
Legal experts say the indictment will not prevent Trump from running for president again.
"He can be impeached many times and that will not prevent his right and ability to run for office," US legal experts said.
Under US law, Trump can continue to run for president even if he is convicted.
According to public opinion polls, Trump is currently leading the race for the nomination of the Republican presidential candidate for the White House.
Trump has already received the support of several prominent and influential Republicans
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said it was "immoral for President Biden to indict a leading opponent" in winning the presidency next year.
And Ron DeSantis, who is considered Trump's main rival for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, supported Trump, accusing that in the United States for years there has been a selective application of laws depending on the political affiliation.
"The DeSantis administration will hold people at the Department of Justice accountable and stand in the way of political bias and abuses," DeSantis added.
Vivek Ramaswamy, who is also running, said if he won he would "commit to immediately pardoning Trump on January 20, 2025 and restoring the rule of law to the country."
But another candidate, Asa Hutchinson, said the acts Trump allegedly committed "should not define the nation or the Republican Party."
In April, Trump became the first former US president to be charged with a crime.
At the time, he pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records to pay money to a porn star.
He will face trial in New York next year.