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(LifeSiteNews) — The Biden administration’s Department of Justice has taken the unprecedented step of indicting former U.S. President Donald Trump with violating federal law, making him the first occupant of the Oval Office to face such charges (read the 49-page indictment here).

The shocking move comes as Congressional Republicans were starting to present mounting evidence that Joe Biden was bribed with $5 million from an executive at Ukrainian energy company Burisma while serving as Barack Obama’s vice president, prompting some to question if the announcement was retribution. Media reports on Hunter Biden’s laptop had also been gaining traction.

Trump’s lawyers were informed of the charges Thursday by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith. Trump is accused of violating 37 criminal counts related to obstructing justice, possessing classified national security documents, and more. His Mar-a-Lago estate was raided by the FBI in August of last year over the matter.

According to ABC News, “maximum sentences for the respective charges, per their statutes, range from five up to 20 years, although any eventual sentence should Trump be convicted would likely be much lower.” The outlet also reports that Trump is set to be arraigned in federal court in Miami on Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET. 

Trump, who also faces charges in New York over business affairs, has long-maintained his innocence.

“I never thought it possible that such a thing could happen to a former President of the United States,” he said on Truth Social Thursday. 

Numerous political pundits have compared the move to something corrupt third world countries engage in. “These bandits in the White House … want one party rule and they have used the Department of Justice and the FBI to get what they want,” Mark Levin has said. This is “the most severe election interference on the part of the federal government that we have EVER seen!” Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz exclaimed.

“They can’t beat Trump at the ballot box,” former Trump adviser Steve Bannon remarked.

Democrats, meanwhile, were giddy over the possibility of Trump going to jail, with Trump rival Hillary Clinton and California Representative Maxine Waters Tweeting about it.

At a press conference with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak Thursday, Biden claimed he had no foreknowledge of the indictment. “I have never once, not one single time, suggested to the Justice Department what they should do or not do, relative to bringing a charge or not bringing a charge. I’m honest,” he said. 

In recent months, Joe Biden’s FBI has taken a keen interest in targeting pro-lifers and Catholics. Mark Houck, a Pennsylvania man and husband of eight, had his house raided by federal agents last year for protesting outside an abortion clinic. Meanwhile, a leaked FBI document revealed that the agency has been monitoring Catholic churches that offer the Traditional Latin Mass. Republicans point to these and other examples to argue that Biden is “weaponizing” the federal government again his political opponents. 

At present, Trump is leading in almost every poll that has been conducted on the GOP primary race. His nearest competitor, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, typically receives between 25-35 percent support whereas Trump is usually near the 50 percent mark. Recently announced candidate Mike Pence, Trump’s former Vice President, told radio host Hugh Hewitt that “no one is above the law” when he was asked about the indictment.

Many conservatives, however, maintain that the charges are part of a strategy hatched by the U.S. “Deep State” to prevent Trump from being re-elected.