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Leading in the Polls, Trump Arrives in Florida to Face Charges

Published: June 12, 2023
Republican presidential candidate former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at the Miami International Airport June 12, 2023 in Miami, Florida. Trump is scheduled to appear tomorrow in federal court for his arraignment on charges including possession of national security documents after leaving office, obstruction, and making false statements. (Image: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

On June 12, former President Donald Trump made his way to Miami to face federal criminal charges while a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll suggests that the case against him has not dampened his chances of reelection.

Trump’s initial appearance in the Miami federal courthouse is scheduled for June 13, at 3 p.m. EDT. The charges against him include the alleged unlawful retention of U.S. national-security documents and lying to officials. Trump maintains his innocence and remains committed to his campaign to regain the presidency in the November 2024 election.

Arriving in Miami at 2:54 p.m., Trump landed in a private jet with his name prominently displayed on its side. Supporters gathered outside a nearby golf club owned by Trump, where he planned to spend the night.

Before departing from New Jersey, Trump took to his Truth Social social-media platform, writing, “I HOPE THE ENTIRE COUNTRY IS WATCHING WHAT THE RADICAL LEFT ARE DOING TO AMERICA.”

Despite his legal troubles, Trump’s popularity among Republican voters remains intact. The recent Reuters/Ipsos poll revealed that 81 percent of Republicans view the charges against him as politically motivated. Moreover, Trump continues to maintain a substantial lead over his rivals for the party’s presidential nomination. In the poll, 43 percent of self-identified Republicans expressed Trump as their preferred candidate, while 22 percent chose Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. In early May, Trump led DeSantis 49 percent to 19 percent, but DeSantis had not formally entered the race at that time.

Trump addressed an enthusiastic crowd in Georgia over the weekend, and his campaign announced that he would make a statement upon his return to New Jersey on Tuesday night.

Security was tight. Miami police chief Manny Morales said that the city is preparing for a potential crowd size of up to 50,000 people and may close downtown roads if necessary.


Special Counsel Jack Smith, in a grand jury indictment released last week, accuses Trump of taking numerous sensitive national-security documents from the White House and storing them haphazardly at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. The indictment includes photos of document boxes stored on a ballroom stage, in a bathroom, and scattered across a storage-room floor. It further alleges that Trump lied to officials in their attempts to recover the documents.

While Trump is the first former or current president to face criminal charges, legal experts assert that it does not prevent him from running for president or assuming office if found guilty.

Several legal experts, including Trump’s former attorney general William Barr, consider the case to be strong. The charges against Trump include violations of the Espionage Act, which criminalizes unauthorized possession of defense information, and conspiracy to obstruct justice, carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Any federal trial in Florida may not occur until after the November 2024 presidential election. 

Trump accuses President Joe Biden of orchestrating the federal case to undermine his campaign, although Biden has refrained from commenting on the matter, keeping his distance.

Special Counsel Jack Smith, who leads the prosecution, has been granted a higher level of independence than other Justice Department prosecutors to minimize political influence. Smith is also investigating Trump’s efforts to challenge his 2020 loss to Biden.