Former US President Donald Trump, indicted by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) for “unauthorized disclosure” of “classified documents”, an offence that could get him years of jail time, delivered his first speech after the indictment was unsealed.
Addressing Republican conventions in Georgia and North Carolina yesterday, Trump said, “I’ve put everything on the line and I will never yield. I will never be detained. I will never stop fighting for you.”
The speech was all sound and fury, signifying nothing, clarifying nothing — Trump did not address why he took 300-odd classified documents out of the White House when he lost the presidency and went to his residence at The Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida. These documents of national importance, including nuclear defence secrets, were stored in boxes that were dumped in various parts of his home, including the bathroom.
Bypassing all that, Trump called every federal agency “corrupt” — that included the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the DoJ. At the beginning of his speech, he said, “We got to stand up to the… radical left Democrats, their lawless partisan prosecutors...” He also said, “Every time I fly over a blue state, I get a subpoena.” This last line was probably a reference to a previous subpoena calling for the classified documents stored illegally in his house, following an FBI investigation. It could also be a reference to the fact that he has to show up in a federal court in Miami on Tuesday afternoon.
Trump, who is running for the 2024 presidential elections, always made blustery claims about how the 2020 elections were “stolen” from him. Yesterday, he said, “Now the Marxist left is once again using the same corrupt DoJ and the same corrupt FBI, and the attorney general and the local district attorneys to interfere… They’re cheating. They’re crooked. They’re corrupt. These criminals cannot be rewarded. They must be defeated. You have to defeat them.
“Because in the end, they’re not coming after me. They’re coming after you and I’m just standing in their way.”
Having earlier declared himself “innocent”, Trump yesterday called the indictment “ridiculous and baseless” and “among the most horrific abuses of power in the history of our country”. However, he also claimed that the indictment had “driven my poll numbers way up”.
Taking a swipe at President of the United States Joe Biden, the cornered former president said that Biden, when he was the vice-president and a senator, had also kept classified documents in his Washington office and his Delaware home.
“Nothing happened to Crooked Joe with all that… He has so many classified documents,” said Trump. “This is a sick nest of people that needs to be cleaned out immediately.”
Former vice-president Mike Pence also had state documents in his Indiana home. “They looked at Mike Pence. He had classified documents, no problem,” said Trump.
However, the marked difference between Trump and the other two politicians is that Biden and Pence had turned over the documents as soon as they were discovered and allowed a property search. Trump, on the other hand, has been accused of hiding the boxes containing classified documents from his attorney, the FBI, and the grand jury.