Prior to a historic federal court appearance on hundreds of felony counts accusing him of illegally keeping sensitive materials and obstructing the Justice Department’s efforts to recover them, Donald Trump arrived in Florida on Monday.
Trump will appear before a court for the second time since April on Tuesday in Miami in the afternoon. He is being held on criminal allegations. However, the Justice Department’s first prosecution of a former president concerns conduct that prosecutors claim harmed national security, unlike a New York case that some legal observers mocked as relatively petty, and Espionage Act charges carry the possibility of a severe prison sentence.
He and his followers have intensified their efforts to discredit the criminal case against him and incite protests ahead of his court date. He has escalated his criticism of the Justice Department special counsel who brought the case, branding Jack Smith “deranged” and repeating his allegations that he was the victim of political persecution while providing no supporting data.
And if Trump is elected to a second term, he promised to name a special prosecutor to look into President Joe Biden and his family, despite the fact that his supporters claim the Justice Department is being used as a weapon against him.
Around 3 p.m. on Monday, Trump arrived in Miami and boarded a waiting SUV. Before his court appearance, he was anticipated to consult with advisers as he worked to secure new legal representation after two defence attorneys who had been handling the case for months left their positions prior to his indictment last week.
He has urged his fans to take part in a planned demonstration at the Miami courthouse on Tuesday, when he will appear in court and turn himself in to the police.
“We need strength in our country now,” Trump said Sunday, speaking to long-time friend and adviser Roger Stone in an interview on WABC Radio. “And they have to go out and they have to protest peacefully. They have to go out.”
“Look, our country has to protest. We have plenty to protest. We’ve lost everything,” he went on.
Announcing that he will not withdraw from the 2024 contest, where he has been winning the Republican primary, he added that there were “absolutely” no circumstances “whatsoever” under which he would do so.
The unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor of Arizona, Kari Lake, pointedly stated over the weekend that if prosecutors “want to get to President Trump,” they “are going to have to go through me, and 75 million Americans just like me.” Other Trump supporters have defended him in a similar manner. And the majority of us are active NRA members.
Trump’s calls for protest were similar to those he made prior to a court appearance in New York in April, where he is accused of accepting hush money payments during his 2016 campaign. However, he lamented that those who showed up to protest there were “so far away that nobody knew about ’em,” as he did now. And just like in that instance, he intends to speak to his fans on Tuesday night, hours after his court appearance.
He will return to New Jersey following his court appearance, where he has set a press conference to address the allegations. He’ll also host a personal fundraising event.
Concerns were raised by Trump supporters who intended to board buses to travel to Miami from various parts of Florida, which worried law enforcement officials who were preparing for possible unrest near the courthouse. Francis Suarez, the mayor of Miami, declared that the city would be prepared, while Manuel A. Morales, the chief of police, predicted that 50,000 demonstrators might gather in the downtown area. Depending on the size of the crowd, he said, the city would redirect traffic and perhaps close roadways.
“Make no mistake about it,” Morales said. “We are taking this event extremely serious. We know there is a potential of things taking a turn for the worse but that’s not the Miami way.”
A 37-count charge against Trump was unsealed by the Justice Department on Friday, 31 of which were related to the deliberate retention of information about national defence. False statements and conspiring to cause obstruction are further allegations.
The indictment claims that after leaving the White House in January 2021, Trump took hundreds of confidential documents with him to his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, where he allegedly kept them on purpose. According to the accusation, the data he kept on hand was related to nuclear programs, the military prowess of the United States and other countries, and a Pentagon “attack plan,” among other things. He kept it in places including a restroom, ballroom, bedroom, and shower. Prosecutors claimed that if the information had been made public, it might have endangered military personnel, secret human sources, and intelligence gathering techniques.
Additionally, according to the prosecution, he attempted to thwart government efforts to retrieve the documents, including by ordering his co-defendant Walt Nauta to move boxes to hide them and advising his own attorney to hide or destroy documents that were the subject of a Justice Department subpoena.
Using the Justice Department’s 2016 decision not to charge Democrat Hillary Clinton for her handling of classified material through a private email server she depended on while secretary of state, some fellow Republicans have attempted to argue that Trump is being unfairly treated. These arguments, however, fail to take into account that FBI investigators did not uncover any proof that Clinton or her staff members had purposefully broken any laws pertaining to sensitive material or had tried to obstruct the inquiry.
The governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu, a Republican, said there was a “huge difference” between the two probes, but it “has to be explained to the American people.” Sununu made the statement during an interview with CBS News on Sunday.
Former Vice President Mike Pence was notified by the Justice Department earlier this month that no charges would be filed regarding the discovery of sensitive documents in his Indiana home. Although, as in the Clinton case, no evidence of obstruction or deliberate law-breaking has emerged, a separate Justice Department special counsel inquiry into the finding of classified information at a home and office of President Joe Biden is still ongoing.
William Barr, Trump’s own former attorney general, provided a pessimistic appraisal of the situation by asserting on Fox News that Trump had no right to retain such private documents.
“If even half of it is true,” Barr said of the allegations, “then he’s toast. I mean, it’s a pretty — it’s a very detailed indictment, and it’s very, very damning. And this idea of presenting Trump as a victim here — a victim of a witch hunt is ridiculous.”