Former President Donald Trump on Saturday said that “in a sick way” he enjoys the legal charges and investigations brought against him because they “expose” the motivations of his political opponents.
Speaking at the North Carolina Republican Party’s convention in Greensboro, Trump addressed the newly unsealed federal indictment accusing him of mishandling classified documents, as well as the various investigations targeting him since he was elected president in 2016.
“They launched witch hunt after witch hunt, and they just try to stop our movement,” said Trump. “They want to do anything they can to thwart the will of the American people. It’s called election interference. That’s what they’re doing now. And we’ve never seen it on a scale like this. The other side is downright crooked.”
Trump, who said Trump said he has “5,000 prosecutors” going after him, was indicted Friday on 37 federal counts, including willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice and false statements.
Trump also referenced the impeachment proceedings launched against him as well as the findings of Special Counsel John Durham, who last month released a final report on his investigation into the original probe concerning whether Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. Durham found that there was never any information to justify opening the FBI’s investigation and that the bureau and the Department of Justice “failed to uphold their mission of strict fidelity to the law.”
“We beat it all off, didn’t we?” Trump said. “They put our country through hell, and they knew it was a lie the entire time.”
The former president then suggested that any Republican who becomes president will be the subject of similar investigations and on the receiving end of unending political attacks, arguing that anyone but him will crumble under such pressure.
“That person will not be able to withstand the fire,” he said. “And they actually admit it. They come to me: ‘How do you stand this?’ And I usually look at them and say, ‘In a sick way I sort of enjoy it, because it exposes them.’ It exposes them for what they are. And it’s also lifted the poll numbers to even higher legs.”
Trump touted poll numbers showing him comfortably ahead as the front-runner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary.
Trump also directed his ire at President Joe Biden, calling him “corrupt.”
Earlier in the day, Trump delivered his first public remarks since being indicted, accusing Democrats of a “political hit job” against him and alleging a double standard in the Biden administration of justice.