Donald Trump will continue White House run even if convicted over classified documents, he says

Gun Rights

Former US president Donald Trump has insisted he will continue to run for the White House even if he is convicted over his handling of classified documents.

Mr Trump is to appear in court in Miami, Florida on Tuesday afternoon where he will face 37 federal felony charges.

Mr Trump said in an interview with Politico on Saturday: “I will never leave”.

An indictment released by the US department of justice on Friday alleges that Mr Trump took secret documents after he left the White House to his estate in Florida. It maintained that these files included material on the country’s nuclear programme as well as its military vulnerabilities and plans for retaliation in the event of an attack. It also claims he sought to obstruct a subsequent investigation into the handling of the documents.

Mr Trump on Saturday forecast that he would not be convicted and sidestepped questions about whether he would pardon himself if he won a second term as president.

“I don’t think I’ll ever have to,” he said. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”

The former president delivered speeches in Georgia and North Carolina on Saturday – his first public appearances since he was indicted by special counsel Jack Smith over his handling of classified material found at Mar-a-Lago, his home and club in Florida.

In both speeches Mr Trump claimed that the indictment was politically motivated and aimed at interfering with his campaign to regain the White House in the 2024 election. He is by far the leading candidate to secure the Republican Party nomination, according to current polls.

“They’ve launched one witch hunt after another to try to stop our movement, to thwart the will of the American people,” Mr Trump alleged in Georgia.

“They are not coming after me, they are coming after you, I am just standing in their way”, he maintained in North Carolina.

He claimed that US president Joe Biden was “trying to jail his political opponent” and said it was like “Stalinist Russia or communist China”.

“If I was not running we would not be talking about it.”

The former president condemned the indictment as “a joke”, “baseless” and “ridiculous”.

Mr Trump hit out at Mr Smith as “deranged”.

He described Fani Willis, the district attorney in Fulton county in Georgia who is carrying out a separate investigation in allegations that he sought to overturn the election result in 2020 as “a lunatic Marxist”.

Since the indictment was announced, Mr Trump and his allies have sought to portray a two-tier system of justice in the US in which Republicans and conservatives are treated harsher than Democrats or liberals.

They have claimed the department of justice has been “weaponised” against them. They have also repeatedly questioned why Hillary Clinton was not prosecuted over having a private email server while she was secretary of state or Hunter Biden, son of the current president, over allegations of corruption.

Mr Trump alleged that it was no coincidence that he was charged regarding the classified documents on the same day that Republicans in the House of Representatives had highlighted claims from a whistleblower that Mr Biden had accepted bribes. He accused the media of not reporting this story.

Mr Biden has dismissed these allegations as “a bunch of malarkey”.

The former president also maintained that Mr Biden had “troves and troves” of classified documents. A separate special counsel is currently investigating classified material discovered at the president’s home in Delaware and in an office that he previously had used.

Legal experts have maintained that there are differences between the Trump and Biden cases regarding the retention of classified documents.

For more than a year, Mr Trump rebuffed efforts by the US national archives to retrieve all of the records he retained and, according to the indictment, worked to hide documents from his lawyers and investigators.

Mr Biden’s lawyers informed the national archives and the US department of justice about the discovery of the classified material, attorney general Merrick Garland has said.

In his interview with Politico Mr Trump said: “Nobody wants to be indicted.”

“I don’t care that my poll numbers went up by a lot. I don’t want to be indicted. I’ve never been indicted. I went through my whole life, now I get indicted every two months. It’s been political.”

On Tuesday Mr Trump is set to be arraigned at the court in Miami where a date may be set for a trial – or a date may be set out for another hearing to determine when this will commence.

In the meantime, Mr Trump can continue to campaign for the White House. He is also facing a separate criminal trial which is scheduled to begin in late March 2024 in New York. He has – pleaded not guilty in this case to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records relating to hush-money payments to a porn star made during the 2016 campaign to conceal allegations of an affair.

Mr Trump told supporters on his social media platform on Friday: “See you in Miami on Tuesday” – leading to concerns that large numbers of his followers could gather at the courthouse.

There has also been strong rhetoric from some supporters of the former president.

Speaking at the Republican state convention in Georgia, Kari Lake, the former candidate for governor of Arizona who has alleged that there were irregularities and who has refused to concede, stressed many of Mr Trump’s followers owned guns.

“I have a message tonight for Merrick Garland and Jack Smith and Joe Biden – and the guys back there in the fake news media, you should listen up as well, this one is for you,” Ms Lake said.

“If you want to get to president Trump, you are going to have go through me, and you are going to have to go through 75 million Americans just like me (the number who voted for him in the election in 2020). And I’m going to tell you, most of us are card-carrying members of the NRA” – the gun advocacy group, the National Rifle Association.

As the crowd cheered, Ms. Lake added: “That’s not a threat, that’s a public service announcement.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *