Hours after he’s due to make an historic appearance in a Miami courtroom Tuesday to face criminal charges alleging he mishandled sensitive classified material, former President Donald J. Trump plans to hit the campaign trail.
Trump, 76, of Palm Beach, Florida, is scheduled to surrender himself to authorities in Miami at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, when he is expected to tell U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon he is not guilty of the 37 felony counts leveled against him. A full 31 of those charges pertain to his allegedly deliberate attempts to withhold classified government documents that the National Archives and Department of Justice had both demanded he relinquish after leaving office and which are detailed in a 49 page indictment unsealed ahead of the weekend.
Through his campaign on Sunday, Trump announced he would follow the court date in Florida with an appearance at his property in New Jersey.
“President Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America, will deliver remarks at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in Bedminster, New Jersey on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, at 8:15PM EDT,” his campaign said.
Trump declared himself an “innocent man” in social media postings when the details of his alleged misdeeds were made public. He told crowds in Georgia and North Carolina Saturday during campaign stops that it’s his run for the White House that led to the charges, not his conduct as a private citizen.
“The ridiculous and baseless indictment of me by the Biden administration’s weaponized Department of Injustice will go down as among the most horrific abuses of power in the history of our country,” he said in Columbus, Georgia. “In the end, they’re not coming after me, they’re coming after you and I’m just standing in their way.”
Trump also vowed Saturday to remain in the race, even if he is convicted in the case.
“I’ll never leave,” he told Politico in an interview aboard his plane after his speech in Georgia.
According to the unsealed indictment, the Trump stored classified documents in a bathroom and a ballroom at his Mar-A-Lago resort-turned-residence where they were accessible by people without the clearance to view them.
Charging documents further allege the former president instructed his lawyers to destroy some classified records he was ordered to return, hid others from his legal team, and kept them despite repeated demands from the government and assertions from records custodians he previously returned everything required.
Trump would often chant “Lock her up” with crowds at 2016 campaign rallies, referring to Hillary Clinton, his opponent in the race, and her alleged mishandling of classified information. After a roughly yearlong inquiry into her use of a private email server, the FBI closed out the investigation into Clinton, finding that she did not intend to break the law.
“Joe Biden is trying to jail his leading political opponent, just like in Stalinist Russia or Communist China. I never thought such a thing could happen in America. No different,” Trump said over the weekend. “We now have two standards of justice in our country and no criminal is more protected than Crooked Joe Biden.