Trump decries charges against him as an ‘insult to our country’

Former President Donald Trump struck a defiant note Tuesday evening, declaring that felony charges made against him were erroneous, politically motivated and “an insult to our country.”

“The only crime that I have committed is to fearlessly defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it,” he said while addressing his supporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate just hours after being arraigned in New York.

The remarks were Trump’s first since the details of the indictment were unveiled Tuesday afternoon in Manhattan. The former president pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges of filing false business records related to an alleged scheme to bury allegations about extramarital affairs ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Trump went after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, describing him as a “criminal,” a “radical left” prosecutor and a “failed district attorney,” while calling for him to be prosecuted.

“The criminal is the district attorney, because he illegally leaked massive amounts of grand jury information, for which he should be prosecuted, or at a minimum, he should resign,” Trump said.

He didn’t stop there. Trump also attacked the state judge presiding over the arraignment, acting Justice Juan Merchan, and his family.

“This is where we are right now,” the former president said. “I have a Trump-hating judge, with a Trump-hating wife and family.”

The comments came after Merchan decided against imposing a gag order on the former president, while warning against making statements that “incite violence or create civil unrest.”

The former president used his speech not only to denounce the indictment that was brought against him Tuesday, but also to decry several other past and ongoing investigations into him, including his two impeachment proceedings, accusations of fraud levied against him by New York Attorney General Tish James and the investigation into the classified documents he had stored at Mar-a-Lago. He described Jack Smith — the special prosecutor in charge of the documents investigation and the probe into Trump’s effort to subvert the 2020 election — as a “lunatic.”

Hundreds were in attendance at Trump’s Florida estate on Tuesday night, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and three of Trump’s children, Don Jr., Eric and Tiffany.

Trump has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation and has denied the affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, as well as another alleged affair with Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model.

On Truth Social, his social media outlet, the former president has also repeatedly attacked Bragg, calling the prosecutor, who is Black, an “animal” and describing the indictment as “political persecution” and “election interference.”

When news of the indictment first broke on Thursday, the former president was quick to denounce the case as a “witch hunt.”

“This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history,” Trump wrote in a statement shortly after the grand jury voted to bring criminal charges against him. “The Democrats have lied, cheated and stolen in their obsession with trying to ‘Get Trump,’ but now they’ve done the unthinkable — indicting a completely innocent person in an act of blatant Election Interference.”

In the weeks leading up to the indictment, Trump knocked the investigation — at one point wrongly predicting the imminence of his arrest, and calling on his supporters to protest and “take our nation back” in a post on Truth Social.

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