Trump said on June 8 that his attorneys were informed of the indictment by DOJ special counsel Jack Smith in connection to the investigation into the handling of classified documents. Trump is the first former U.S. president in history to face criminal action at the federal level. The announcement followed a raid by the FBI last year of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate that allegedly discovered several classified documents in the president’s possession.
During a rally in Atlanta on June 10, Trump addressed the charges, saying that they were trumped up by President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice to target him.
“The ridiculous and baseless indictment of me by the administration’s weaponized department of injustice will go down as among the most horrific abuses of power in the history of our country,” Trump said. “Many people have said—Democrats have even said it—this vicious persecution is a travesty of justice. You’re watching Joe Biden … trying to jail his leading political opponent that opponent that’s beating him by a lot in the polls just like they do in Stalinist Russia, or communist China, no different.
“As far as this joke of an indictment, it’s a horrible thing. It’s a horrible thing for this country,” Trump said. “I mean, the only good thing about it is it’s driven my poll numbers way up. Can you believe it?”
He added: “And somebody said the fundraising is through the roof that’s less important. But I will tell you, it’s really driven us right through the sky. We’re really winning big. We’re winning over everyone—we’re beating the hell out of the Republicans and we’re beating the hell out of Joe Biden.
“That’s why they’re doing it. If I wasn’t, if I wasn’t, there’d be no witch hunt, there’d be no indictment.”
Later, Trump discussed specific polls that show him leading by wide margins.
“We lead the field by 34 points, with Trump at 56 to DeSanctimonious [Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis] at 22, Pence at seven, Haley at three. In the Clarity Campaign Poll—I don’t know that poll, but I love it—we’re up by 56 points: Trump is at 69, DeSanctimonious is at 13, Pence is at six.
“Pence has gone down since this list,” Trump digressed. “He’s a nice person. He is trying to get nasty though. So we may have to fight a different way.
“And the Emerson poll of Iowa,” he resumed, citing results in the key state of Iowa, the first primary election of the cycle.
“In the Emerson poll of Iowa, we’re leading by 42 points with Trump at 62 percent. And we’re leading crooked Joe Biden, the most crooked president of our country, by a lot.
“In the Fabrizio swing state poll of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, we’re almost 50 percent, leading Biden by five. In the ABC Washington Post poll, I’m up by seven points over Biden. And the new poll from the Democracy Institute shows I’m the only candidate who beats Biden.
“DeSanctis loses to him by a lot,” Trump added.
Trump noted the hypocrisy in the way he’s been treated over his classified documents compared to the treatment given to President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Like Trump, Biden has faced allegations of mishandling classified documents taken from the White House.
“Biden’s got 1,850 boxes [of classified documents]. He’s got boxes in Chinatown, D.C.,” Trump said. “He’s got boxes all over the place. He doesn’t know what the hell to do with him and he’s fighting them on the boxes.”
Likewise, Trump noted that Clinton, his 2016 rival for the presidency, was accused of destroying a laptop with classified government secrets in order to avoid complying with a congressional subpoena.
“Our law enforcement has become weaponized at a level never seen before,” Trump ruled.
Following the announcement of 37 federal charges against Trump related to his handling of classified documents, several of his GOP rivals have found themselves in the position of defending their main hurdle to the presidential nomination.
Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy said it demonstrated “two tiers of justice: one for Trump on government document retention, another for Biden.”
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) also condemned what he called the “weaponization of the Department of Justice against a former president.” Many observers think that Scott’s strategy will be to win a key line of support in his home turf of South Carolina, which holds the third primary of the season, before accepting a position as running mate to the final nominee.
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who has clashed publicly with Trump on several occasions, called it an example of “prosecutorial overreach, double standards, and vendetta politics.”
Trump is far and away the frontrunner for the nomination.
His main rival, DeSantis, even weighed in, promising to go after the DOJ over the prosecution if elected.
“The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society,” DeSantis said. “We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation.”