Former President Trump cast his “sham” federal indictment as “election interference” by the Biden administration, slamming it as a “the most heinous abuse of power in the history of our country.”
Trump, the current 2024 frontrunner, pleaded not guilty in federal court in Miami, Florida Tuesday to 37 federal felony counts stemming from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into his alleged improper retention of classified records at Mar-a-Lago.
The charges include willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice and false statements.
Trump, making remarks Tuesday night from his property Trump National Gold Club Bedminster, slammed Smith as a “deranged lunatic,” and slammed President Biden for having “his top political opponent arrested and charged.”
Trump said President Biden will “forever be remembered as not only the most corrupt president in the history of our country, but perhaps more importantly, the president, together with the band of his closest thugs, misfits and Marxists trying to destroy American democracy, channeling real anger and charging the President of the United States under the Espionage Act of 1917.”
Trump was, in part, charged with willful retention of national defense information—charges that fall under the Espionage Act.
“The Espionage Act has been used to refer to traitors and spies,” Trump said. “It has nothing to do with a former president legally keeping his own documents.”
Trump defended himself, saying it is, instead, the Presidential Records Act that applies to his case.
Trump said he is being threatened with 400 years in prison for “possessing presidential papers, which just about every other president has done.”
“The Presidential Records Act does not confer any mandate, duty or even discretional authority on the archivist to classify records under the statute,” Trump said. “This responsibility is left solely to the President of the United States—so that’s the decision taken here.”
He added: “In other words, whatever documents the president decides to take with him, he has the right to do so—it’s an absolute right. This is the law.”
Trump slammed Biden—who is under special counsel investigation for his alleged improper retention of classified records—and Hillary Clinton, pointing to her destruction of classified emails.
“Hillary Clinton broke the law and she didn’t get indicted,” Trump said. “Joe Biden broke the law, and in many other ways, we’re finding out, and so far has not gotten indicted.”
He added: “I did everything right, and they indicted me.”
Trump went on to point to former President Bill Clinton, saying he “lost the nuclear codes and absolutely nothing was done and lost the nuclear codes.”
Trump pointed to former President George W Bush, saying his White House “lost 22 million emails,” and said the National Archives “cannot ensure a complete transfer of any of the Bush records.”
“The horrific violations of my rights by Crooked Joe Biden’s weaponized department of Injustice,” Trump said.
Shifting back to Special Counsel Jack Smith, Trump called him a “thug.”
“I’ve named him deranged Jack Smith,” he said. “He does political hit jobs…He looks like a thug.”
Trump went on to slam Smith as a “raging and uncontrolled Trump hater.”
Among the charges against Trump are 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information —including documents concerning White House intelligence briefings related to various foreign countries; documents concerning military capabilities of a foreign country and the U.S. with handwritten annotation in black marker; a June 2020 document concerning nuclear capabilities of a foreign country; an Oct. 21, 2018, document concerning communications with a leader of a foreign country; an undated document concerning military contingency planning of the U.S.; a document from December 2019 concerning foreign country support of terrorist acts against U.S. interests; an undated document concerning nuclear weaponry of the U.S.; an undated document concerning the timeline and details of an attack in a foreign country; and more.
Trump is also charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice. The indictment says the “purpose” of the conspiracy was for Trump “to keep classified documents he had taken with him from the White House and to hide and conceal them from a federal grand jury.”
He was charged with two counts of withholding documents of record, and one count of concealing a document in a federal investigation, one count of “scheme to conceal,” and making a false statement in June 2022 when he said a “diligent search” of Mar-a-Lago was conducted. The search was conducted “after receipt of the subpoena” and “any and all responsible documents accompany this certification.”
Meanwhile, Trump pointed to the “Biden crime family,” referencing a Fox News Digital exclusive report that stated Biden, as vice president, was allegedly paid $5 million by a top executive of Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings — where his son, Hunter, sat on the board.
Trump also pointed to the alleged 17 audio recordings the Burisma executive made of conversations he allegedly had with Joe Biden and Hunter Biden while Biden served as vice president.
If re-elected in 2024, Trump said he would appoint a special prosecutor “to go after the most corrupt president in the history of the United States of America,” referring to Joe Biden and “the entire Biden crime family.”
“They’re destroying our country. And when I’m reelected and we will get reelected, we have no choice. We’re not going to have a country anymore,” he said. “”I will totally obliterate the deep state.”
Trump added: “They want to take away my freedom because I will never let them take away your freedom.”
“It’s very simple,” he said. “They want to silence me because I will never let them silence you.”
Trump said he is “the only one who can save this nation.”
“You know, they’re not coming after me — they’re coming after you,” he said. “And I just happen to be standing in their way.”
He added: “And I will never be moving.”