Why Trump indictment revelations are so damaging

documents pictured being kept in a Mar-a-Lago ballroom in the indictment of Donald Trump

With the unsealing of Donald Trump's federal indictment, the full extent of the former president's case for improper handling of classified documents is now clear. 37 counts of unauthorised possession of classified material, obstruction of justice, hiding documents, and lying to law enforcement have been brought against Mr. Trump. For each of those counts, there are severe fines and the potential for lengthy prison terms as penalties.

Here are some of the most important details from the indictment and the reasons they might be harmful.

The indictment's list of the types of documents Mr. Trump is alleged to have had at Mar-a-Lago is arguably its most dramatic section. They cover information about US nuclear weapons programs, potential weaknesses of the US and its allies, and US plans for military retaliation. "Disclosure of these classified documents could put at risk the national security of the United States, foreign relations, the safety of United States military and Human sources, and the continued viability of sensitive intelligence collection methods," the indictment cautions.

That's a crucial claim to make because prosecutors will need to show that Mr. Trump had improper access to sensitive national defense information in order to prove Mr. Trump violated the Espionage Act. The specifics of the documents may harm Mr. Trump's reputation in the public eye. Republicans, including some of Mr. Trump's rivals for the presidency, jumped to his defense on Thursday as soon as the news of the indictment surfaced. Even though they may still disagree with what they see as a political prosecution, it might be more challenging for them to explain why Mr. Trump continued to hold onto such sensitive national security after leaving the White House.

Updates will be made to this story.

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