Donald Trump complained again Tuesday night that he faces dozens of felonies for storing highly sensitive national defense documents at his Florida country club and then conspiring to hide them from authorities who want to get them back.
The former president held his press conference at his country club in Bedminster, New Jersey, just hours after pleading not guilty to 37 counts in federal court in Miami. He was charged last week following an investigation by Special Counsel Jack Smith, who was hired by Attorney General Merrick Garland to lead the investigation in November after Trump declared his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
“This day will go to shame,” Trump told a crowd of his specially invited guests, calling the charges against him a “sham charge” designed only to harm his presidential campaign. “They should drop this case immediately because they are destroying the country.”
In his 35-minute remarks, he again attacked Smith with insults. “Look at this guy. He looked like a criminal,” he said. “He’s an angry and uncontrolled Trump hater.”
During the hour-long court hearing in Miami, Trump sat yards from Smith but didn’t say a word to him, let alone insult him, according to journalists in the courtroom. Smith, who was tasked with prosecuting war criminals in The Hague before taking office against Trump, stared at Trump for a long time, even as he walked out.
Trump again asserted that he could keep any documents he wanted – a claim contradicted by many legal experts, including Trump’s own Attorney General Bill Barr – and that it was Democrat Joe Biden who broke the law, by storing some of his vices Presidential Records in a Chinatown neighborhood office in Washington, D.C. This, according to Trump, meant Chinese spies had access to the records.
He complained that neither Biden nor former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had been charged. “I did everything right and they charged me,” he said.
Smith is also conducting a separate investigation into Trump’s Jan. 6, 2021 coup attempt, which culminated in thousands of his supporters storming the US Capitol to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers to get Trump a second despite his election defeat tenure grant to Joe Biden. The attack injured 140 police officers, one died the following day. Four more officers took their own lives in the coming weeks.
Trump is also under investigation by the Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney for attempting to force state officials to reverse his 2020 election loss in that swing state.
Trump has already been indicted in New York on 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection with a $130,000 hush money payment to a porn star in the days leading up to the 2016 election. His trial in that case is scheduled for next spring.
Despite all the criminal charges and investigations, Trump remains the Republican frontrunner for the 2024 presidential nomination as he seeks a return to the White House.