Top takeaways as Donald Trump makes more history: 'It all could have been avoided'

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WASHINGTON – More history from Donald Trump: First former president to be indicted in federal court.

Already facing trial in New York state court over hush money payments, Trump's now-pending federal trial over allegedly hiding classified documents and lying about it generates a whole new list of unprecedented developments.

Among the takeaways (so far):

First federal case against a former president

There are two ways to look at this.

Trump's version: It's the first time that an administration controlled by one party has indicted a former president of another party who is also running for president again.

“It’s election interference at the highest level," Trump said in a video posted on Truth Social. "There’s never been anything like what’s happened.”

The other version: Trump is the first former president to be held to account for wrongdoing.

"The rule of law is alive and kicking," said Bradley P. Moss, an attorney who specializes in national security issues.

Former President Donald Trump greets supporters at a Team Trump volunteer leadership training event held at the Grimes Community Complex on June 01 in Grimes, Iowa.
Former President Donald Trump greets supporters at a Team Trump volunteer leadership training event held at the Grimes Community Complex on June 01 in Grimes, Iowa.

Waiting for details

Trump faces seven counts, but we still don't know the details of what the government appears to claim are direct efforts by him to hide documents that had been subpoenaed by a grand jury, and then lie about it.

Those details could embolden opponents of Trump, or encourage defenders.

Trump attorney Jim Trusty, who has been briefed on the case, said the government's charges related to the Espionage Act, obstruction and false statements don't add up.

"So there's a lot to pick at eventually from the defense side," he told CNN.

This second indictment might not be Trump’s last. He is also under investigation over the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021, and efforts to overturn his 2020 loss to Biden in the state of Georgia.

Trump's Republican rivals are supportive (so far)

Long-shot Republican presidential candidates like Asa Hutchinson have called Trump's legal troubles disqualifying, but most are holding fire.

Candidates Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, and others have protested the so-called "weaponization" of federal law enforcement.

They have not called out Trump over his behavior, yet.

Trump follows an anti-government game plan

As he did after the New York indictment, Trump is trying to use the indictment to help himself politically, telling anti-government voters that it's all a plot by his enemies.

He is also trying to raise money off the charges.

Shortly after announcing the indictment on his Truth Social website, Trump signed off on a fundraising solicitation that urged voters to "make a contribution to peacefully stand" with him over the case.

This didn't have to happen

Attorneys and lawmakers marveled at how Trump managed to turn a document dispute into a federal indictment.

Had Trump been more cooperative and listened to his lawyers - some of whom provided evidence to Special Counsel Jack Smith – he would not be facing federal charges.

"It all could have been avoided," said Ty Cobb, the White House Special Counsel during the Trump administration.

Timeline: The journey of Trump’s classified documents

Trump likely to be tried in Florida

Trump said he was told to report Tuesday to the federal courthouse in Miami, meaning he will likely be tried there rather than in Washington, D.C.

Analysts said most of the allegations against Trump stem from activity at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach; they also said that Trump's attorneys may have protested a trial in heavily Democratic Washington, D.C.

Laurence Tribe, professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School, said on Twitter: “History is being made. Accountability will follow more swiftly because venue squabbles were taken off the table by not charging in DC.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump indictment takeaways: Documents lead to historic federal case