Donald Trump's former national security advisor John Bolton says the indictment over classified documents at Mar-a-Lago is "emblematic" of the former president's overall attitude.
"I think it demonstrates just how serious these charges are," Bolton told Scripps News. "Unfortunately, it's reflective of the way Donald Trump treated security classifications even when he was in the White House. He just didn't care much about protecting the safety of things."
Bolton added that the charges are "very dangerous" for Trump, despite the former president's claims that he's the victim.
"Nobody is alleging here that these documents have fallen into the hands of Russia or China," he said. "But that's not the point. The issue is if you don't safehold the documents, if you don't look out for their security, you dramatically increase the risk of compromise. To have these documents in unsecure locations, in a nightclub basically, just really defies description."
Trump, who is now facing a second indictment, is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court Tuesday over an investigation into his handling of classified documents. FBI agents found more than 100 private documents at his home in Florida in August 2022.
"Some of the president's defenders have said 'but the secret service is there and they safeguard the documents,'" Bolton added. "I can tell you from my own experience that the job of the secret service is to protect the president here, it's not to safeguard the documents. They're obviously aware of what's on the property, but their responsibility is safeguarding the person of the ex-president, not the documents."
The indictment accuses Trump of storing boxes filled with documents in various locations at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, including a bathroom. It also accuses the former president of showing the classified documents to others at least two times in 2021.
"About American national security, it shows how little Trump fully understands the gravity of the decisions that he's gonna make," Bolton said. "And it's disqualifying because if Trump were truly innocent, he would want nothing to distract him getting an early trial as soon as possible to prove his innocence, to remove this threat to his reputation. Yet, he apparently believes he's gonna go through an entire presidential campaign with this hanging over his head. It's a real threat to the country."
Bolton is not the only former Trump staffer to speak out against him. Former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr said he was shocked to hear about how many documents Trump had in his possession and their level of sensitivity.
"Even if half of it is true, then he's toast. I mean, it's a very detailed indictment, and it's very, very damning," Barr said in an interview with Fox News. "He was totally wrong that he had the right to have those documents. Those documents are among the most sensitive secrets that the country has."
Barr also pushed back against the former president's claims that he's the victim of a politically motivated witch hunt.
"This idea of presenting Trump as a victim here — a victim of a witch hunt — is ridiculous," he said. "Battle plans for an attack on another country are, in no universe, Donald J. Trump's personal documents."
Trump responded to the indictment, posting on his social media platform that he was innocent and telling Politico he would continue to run for president even if he were convicted in the case.
Trump also faces a separate indictment in New York over claims he falsified business records in connection with hush money that was paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.
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