Former US President Donald Trump Rejects Charges, Denounces Political Motivation.
Donald Trump, the former President of the United States, has vehemently denied the federal charges brought against him for his alleged mishandling of classified documents. After pleading not guilty during his arraignment in Miami, Florida, Trump delivered a speech from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he condemned the case and called for its dismissal. Referring to the charges as politically motivated persecution, Trump accused current US President Joe Biden of attempting to hinder his candidacy in the 2024 presidential race.
In his speech, Trump characterized the indictment, which outlined 37 criminal charges including violations of the Espionage Act, as the most egregious abuse of power in the nation’s history. He employed his familiar playbook of grievances, denouncing the Justice Department prosecutors as “thugs” and labeling the special counsel leading the investigation as “deranged.”
Despite not denying his possession of classified documents, Trump challenged the efforts made by the National Archives to obtain them, despite requests and eventually a subpoena. The indictment alleges that Trump and his aide, Waltine ‘Walt’ Nauta, actively concealed classified records, some of which contained sensitive national security information, and obstructed attempts to retrieve them.
In his defense, Trump invoked his authority as the president to determine the segregation of personal materials from presidential records, claiming that such decisions are made at the president’s discretion during their term. This statement could potentially form the basis of his legal defense in court.
Trump has consistently maintained that he was entitled to the classified documents under the Presidential Records Act and that he declassified them before leaving office, a claim disputed by the Justice Department. The indictment quoted Trump as admitting that he knew he had not declassified a document before the end of his presidency.
During his speech, Trump also took the opportunity to highlight alleged wrongdoings attributed to the Democratic Party, mentioning figures such as Hillary Clinton and Anthony Weiner. He expressed frustration over the lack of indictments against Clinton and Biden, contrasting their situations with his own, stating that he followed the rules while facing prosecution.
Looking ahead, Trump promised that if elected in 2024, he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Biden. Trump referred to the recovery of a “small number” of classified documents at Biden’s Delaware home and Washington, DC, office by Biden’s lawyers. A special counsel, Robert Hur, has already been appointed to investigate Biden’s handling of classified documents after his tenure as vice president. In contrast, special counsel Jack Smith was named in November to oversee Trump’s case.
Experts have pointed out the differences between Trump’s and Biden’s cases, emphasizing that Biden’s lawyers voluntarily turned over the documents and authorized searches of his Delaware residence. Trump, on the other hand, stands accused of concealing boxes of documents with the assistance of his aide.
Trump’s decision to address the public shortly after his indictment appears to be a strategic move to appeal to his supporters. Analysts suggest that his speech will likely resonate with his Republican base, as Trump skillfully crafts a narrative positioning himself as a martyr.