Former President Donald Trump on Saturday afternoon will make his first public appearance since his federal indictment over his handling of classified documents when he addresses the state Republican conventions in Georgia and North Carolina as part of his 2024 presidential bid.
The 2024 front-runner was indicted Friday on 37 federal counts, including willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice and false statements.
The indictment accuses Trump of failing to comply with demands to return classified documents — including plans for a retaliatory attack on an unnamed foreign power — he had gathered in Mar-a-Lago. Other documents include defense and weapon capabilities of the U.S. and details of the U.S. nuclear program.
“The unauthorized disclosure of these classified documents could put at risk the national security of the United States, foreign relations, the safety of the United States military, and human sources and the continued viability of sensitive intelligence collection methods,” the indictment says.
It also accuses him of storing the documents in a bathroom and other places at the residence, and of even bragging and showing off the documents to visitors. In one instance he is said to have told individuals of a document “as president I could have declassified it,” and, “Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.”
He is also said to have directed an aide to move boxes of documents demanded by a grand jury subpoena while claiming to have fully cooperated. The FBI opened a criminal investigation into the matter in March 2022.
Trump has dismissed the indictment as “election interference” and a witch hunt.
“This is the most corrupt administration in history — there has never been an administration so corrupt, and they’re just starting to find it right now,” Trump told Fox News Digital this week. “They are trying to deflect all of their dishonesty by bringing this ridiculous boxes hoax case.”
He added: “They’re not going to get away with it.”
Trump is likely to express similar sentiments on Saturday, when he will speak before overwhelmingly supportive crowds who will largely share his belief that the charges are politically motivated.
The indictment adds additional legal turmoil to Trump’s bid for re-election, coming after he was indicted in New York in an alleged hush money scheme earlier this year. He will make his first federal court appearance on Tuesday.
Other Republicans on the campaign trail, including those who have been extremely critical of the former president, have largely declined to attack him over the indictment so far, and have shared the sentiment that the prosecution is politically motivated.
“The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society. We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said as news of the indictment emerged.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Jake Gibson and Bill Mears contributed to this report.
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