A federal judge in Florida has set a trial date for former President Donald Trump's classified documents case.
District Judge Aileen Cannon scheduled the trial to begin on Aug. 14 and run for two weeks, according to a court filing released Tuesday morning. Per the filing, the trial will be held at the U.S. District Court in Fort Pierce, Florida, and all pre-trial motions must be filed by July 24.
In her order, Cannon, an appointee of Trump, wrote that "modifications" to the trial date could "be made as necessary as this matter proceeds," signaling that the mid-August date could face delays as the case proceeds.
Federal prosecutors allege Trump illegally retained national defense information and then conspired to obstruct the government’s efforts to retrieve the documents. He was indicted on 37 charges earlier this month, becoming the first former president to ever face federal charges.
Trump pleaded not guilty. He’s called the indictment “the most evil and heinous abuse of power in the history of our country” and accused the Biden administration of pursuing the the case as a means of “election interference.” President Joe Biden is the favorite to secure the Democratic nomination in 2024.
In an interview with Fox News on Monday, Trump said that he "had boxes" and wanted to sort through them to separate personal items, but was "very busy" and needed time to remove things like "golf shirts, clothing, pants, shoes."
"Like every other president, I take things out," the former president said. "And in my case, I took it out pretty much in a hurry. But people packed it up and we left. I had clothing in there I had all sorts of personal items in there much, much stuff."
"Before I send boxes over, I have to take all of my things out," Trump later added. "These boxes were interspersed with all sorts of things, gold shirts, clothing, pants shoes, there were many things."
He also denied showing off a classified document about a potential attack on Iran; prosecutors have reportedly obtained an audio recording of Trump talking about holding onto such a document.
"There was no document," Trump said. "That was a massive amount of papers and everything else, talking about Iran and other things, and it may have been held up or may not. That was not a document. I didn’t have any document per se. There was nothing to declassify, these were newspaper stories, magazine stories and articles."
Republicans have largely backed Trump, pointing fingers at Hillary Clinton and other individuals and accusing the Justice Department of targeting the former president.
On Sunday, three men who worked under Trump — former Attorney General Bill Barr, ex-Defense Secretary Mark Esper and former national security adviser John Bolton — made television appearances in which they excoriated their former boss, who is running for president again in 2024, over his alleged actions.
“This is not a circumstance where he’s the victim or that this is government overreach,” Barr told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “He provoked this whole problem himself.”
“He had no right to those documents,” Barr said. “The government tried for over a year quietly and with respect to get them back, which was essential that they do, and he jerked him around.”
The former attorney general added that he thinks Trump lied to the Justice Department during the investigation and that there’s nothing to support his argument that he has the right to keep the documents under the Presidential Records Act.
“The legal theory by which he gets to take battle plans and sensitive national security information as his personal papers is absurd,” Barr said. “It's just as wacky as the legal doctrine they came up with for having the vice president unilaterally determine who won the election.
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Esper said if the allegations about Trump are true, “it could be quite harmful to the nation.”
“Clearly, it was unauthorized, illegal and dangerous,” said Esper, who added that “no one is above the law” and that Trump should be “held to account.”
Esper said if the allegations against Trump are proven, he should not be trusted with the nation's secrets again.
On MSNBC’s “Inside With Jen Psaki,” Bolton said he found it “disturbing” that Trump, as president, would sometimes retain classified documents shown to him in intelligence briefings. The former national security adviser gave the example of a 2019 tweet Trump sent showing an overhead photo of a failed Iranian missile launch. The photo was shared immediately after intelligence officers left a briefing with Trump, Bolton said.
“There's no conceivable reason for that except that it made him feel good to be able to do it,” Bolton said.
Spectrum News' Ryan Chatelain and The Associated Press contributed to this report.