Former President Donald Trump denounced the federal case against him as “the most evil and heinous abuse of power in the history of our country” during a primetime speech from his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. 

Trump called it a “sham indictment put forward by the Biden administration.”

“This day will go down in infamy, and Joe Biden will forever be remembered as not only the most corrupt president in the history of our country but perhaps even more importantly, the president who—together with a band of his closest thugs, misfits, and Marxists—tried to destroy American democracy,” Trump told an audience of supporters. 

Trump also said if he is reelected, he would appoint a special counsel to investigate Biden, prompting the crowd to shout, “lock him up.”

“I will appoint a real special prosecutor to go after the most corrupt president in the history of the United States of America, Joe Biden, and the entire Biden crime family; name a special prosecutor; and all others involved in the destruction of our elections, our borders, and our country itself. They are destroying our country,” Trump said.

Trump pleaded not guilty in federal court in Miami Tuesday afternoon.

About 14 minutes into the speech, the audience sang “Happy Birthday,” to Trump, who turns 77 on Wednesday. “It’s a great birthday,” the 45th president said. 

Trump, running for a nonconsecutive second term in 2024, spoke just ahead of a campaign fundraiser Tuesday night. 

Last week, special counsel Jack Smith made public a 37-count indictment against the former president—31 counts alleging willful retention of national defense information in violation of the Espionage Act, one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, one count of withholding a document or record, one count of corruptly concealing a document, one count of concealing a document in a federal investigation, one count of a scheme to conceal, and one count of false statements and representations. Trump’s aide, Waltine “Walt” Nauta, is named in five counts in the indictment.

Trump pointed out the combined maximum sentence for the charges would be “400 years” for what he called “fake and fabricated charges.” Trump further argued that the Espionage Act is for “spies and traitors.”

Trump’s successor, Biden, is also facing a special counsel investigation from former U.S. Attorney Robert Hur for his alleged mishandling of classified information.

“Robert Hur is a very nice person,” Trump said. “Mine is not such a nice person. He is a deranged lunatic.”

Trump went on to give him the nickname “Deranged Jack Smith.”

“Take a look at this guy; he looks like thug,” Trump said. 

Trump asserted that as president, he had authority to declassify documents—unlike Biden; his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton; and others who also had possessed classified documents.

“I’m not the one who thinks I’m above the law. I followed the law,” Trump said. “… Never before have the two standards of justice in our country been more starkly revealed.”

The indictment claims Trump stored classified documents “in various locations at The Mar-a-Lago Club, including in a ballroom, a bathroom, and shower, an office space, his bedroom, and a storage room.” The FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home last year.

The indictment also says Trump showed classified documents, including a Defense Deparment “plan of attack” believed to be against Iran, and that Trump acknowledged that he had not declassified the documents.

This is the second Trump indictment in two months, but it marks the first federal indictment of a former president. Trump said this marks the first time an administration has brought criminal charges against the frontrunner of the opposition party. 

“A corrupt sitting president had his top political opponent arrested on fake and fabricated charges on which he and numerous other presidents would be guilty, right in the middle of a presidential election, in which he is losing very badly,” Trump said. “This is called election interference and yet another attempt to rig and steal another presidential election.”

The previous indictment was brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who charged Trump under New York fraud laws with a violation of campaign finance laws for allegedly paying hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels. 

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