Former President Donald Trump followed his arrest and arraignment for the second time in two and a half months with a rally-like speech to his followers in which he vehemently criticised his prosecutions as political.
At his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Tuesday, Trump promised an enthusiastic throng that “they will fail and we will win bigger and better than ever before.” Shortly after his lawyer entered a not-guilty plea to a 37-count indictment that included allegations of obstructing justice and using secret materials, he delivered the address.
Trump made it apparent that he will make the accusations the focal point of his 2024 campaign by appealing to the court of voter opinion regarding his second indictment this year and asserting without providing any supporting data that Democrats are out to get him through the legal system.
As he did during an April rally event after an arraignment on a state indictment in New York, Trump on Tuesday attacked the lead prosecutor in his speech, in this case, special counsel Jack Smith.
In a grievance-filled speech, Trump gave a distorted analysis of the case against him. He also claimed that other presidents had taken secret documents after leaving office, but he conveniently omitted the fact that authorities had never charged any of them with obstructing justice for refusing to comply with a subpoena to return those documents.
Parallels to Mar-a-Lago event
Trump conducted a similar event on April 4 at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida, hours after an arraignment in New York City. On that occasion, he attacked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for bringing a case involving an alleged hush money scheme.
Trump’s frequent attacks on Bragg drew an admonishment from Judge Juan Merchan who ordered the ex-president to “refrain from making statements that are likely to incite violence and civil unrest.”
In his lengthy attack on Smith, Trump repeated claims he has made for weeks that the prosecutor is biased against him. Trump has also attacked Smith frequently on social media in recent weeks.
‘Felony violations of our national security laws’
Smith, precluded by ethics rules, has not responded to Trump’s attacks. His only public comment on the case came Friday as the Justice Department unsealed the indictment “charging Donald J. Trump with felony violations of our national security laws as well as participating in a conspiracy to obstruct justice.”
Hours before Trump’s speech in New Jersey, Smith sat in a courtroom in Miami and watched as Trump’s lawyer entered not-guilty pleas to the charges. Basically, the accusations against Trump involve the improper removal of classified information from the White House and subsequent obstruction of justice by refusing to return the subpoenaed documents.