The former president has laid the foundations for what will be his defense speech before the courts and before public opinion. The Republican made an appeal to his faithful, in his fief in Mar-a-Lago (Florida). Trump quickly reverted to his usual political style with a defiant speech. In New York, positions found between supporters and detractors that he picked up by our correspondent for R.F.I.
The media circus with which Donald Trump hopes to capitalize on his accusation experienced its first act at a massive press conference in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, where it arrived to perform his first statements after being accused of 34 crimes for falsifying business records to hide three payments in black. Trump did not shy away from reviewing all the grievances that he has been accumulating since, still in the White House, he was investigated for the Russian plot — the possible collusion of the Kremlin to help him win the 2016 elections — or subjected to both impeachments, or political trials, from which he emerged unscathed. The former president has laid the foundations for what will be his defense speech before the courts and before public opinion and what already seems to be a strategy to transform this episode into a springboard towards the White House.
Trump denounced the process initiated by the Manhattan prosecutor’s office as a “interference never seen before”, According to his own words, in the next electoral race, that of 2024, in which he starts as the best-placed Republican candidate in the polls. A process carried out by “the radical left”, in reference to the Democratic Administration in power in Washington, which should be “immediately dismissed”.
If a few hours earlier, Trump seemed somewhat defeated before Judge Juan Merchan in Manhattan, the former president quickly regained his style usual politician in a few hours with a defiant speech. “I never thought this could happen in USA. The only crime I have committed has been fearlessly defend this nation of those who try to destroy it”.
Among the audience that followed his words in silence, there were numerous people wearing the red caps of their MAGA movement (acronym for mmake America great again), which he launched after leaving the presidency in January 2021 and which he has designated as a reconquest movement.
Trump also spoke of the inspection of his home in Mar-a-Lago and compared it with the inspections that the authorities made of President Joe Biden’s facilities, of classified documents. About the way the FBI broke into his house, he said that “I have never seen this deal with a former president of the United States.” and pointed out that the entire process was illegitimate.
Reactions in New York
Hours earlier, from New York, our RFI correspondent, Silvina Sterin Pensel, tapped into the opinions of Trump supporters and detractors.
In front of the Criminal Court, a crowd of supporters chanted his name, our correspondent tells us, among them David Rem, who is convinced that all this has been orchestrated by the Democrats. “If Mr. Donald Trump had said that he would not run for the Presidency in 2024, this circus today and yesterday would never have happened; We weren’t going to be here, they weren’t going to arrest him or anything. This is because they have a great fear of Mr. Donald Trump and face him in 2024.”
To one side, separated from each other by a fence, were the opponents of Trump. Frank Osorno is a teacher and believes that all this has shown the great political division in the country. “I think it is a very difficult time for the country right now. And now we are seeing live the separation between the Democrats and the Republicans and it is very sad what is happening in this country.” The docent also believes that the arrest benefits Trump that he is raising money among his base.
Trump has set a dark precedent with this arrest but it is not yet clear what impact this will have on his presidential ambitions. One thing is clear: candidate Trump continues to lead, with enormous advantage, the polls of the Republican Party to the 2024 elections.
The 34 charges against Trump
34 charges of falsifying accounting records. These are the accusations that prosecutor Alvin Bragg has presented and that Judge Juan Merchan has read to Donald Trump, in a courtroom in Manhattan. The tycoon has pleaded not guilty. And immediately the debate has begun about whether the case is strong enough or whether it could end in a huge legal fiasco. The core of the case revolves around to the payment of $ 130,000 that the then Trump lawyer, Michael Cohen, made in 2016 to the lawyer of the porn actress Stormy Daniels so that she would keep quiet about the alleged extramarital affair she had had with Trump and not harm the presidential candidacy of the real estate magnate that was beginning to take off. Trump returned the money to Cohen over months, in checks that were falsely presented as payment for legal fees that never came into being.
Buying a silencer is not per se a crime in the US. Nor is it considered a felony to document forgery from a company in upstate New York. Now, prosecutor Bragg’s thesis is that it was used to cover up another crimewhich elevates it to a felony. But it is not specified what the crime was to be perpetrated or concealed in the statement of charges and this is the starting point that calls into question the entire process, provoking strong protests from Trump’s lawyers.
In a press conference after the hearing, Bragg explained that New York law does not require him to specify that crime in his pleadings. What he did point out is that it would be a violation of federal electoral financing laws, an aspect about which several analysts also have serious doubts since Bragg would not have those powers.
The day left a host of aspects about which judicial experts have serious doubts and that Trump’s lawyers took advantage of to point out.
After the explanation of the charges by the Prosecutor’s Office, part of the new legal team of former President Trump, Todd Blanche, told the press: “we are going to fight hard (…) The accusation itself is repetitive and does not allege no federal crime, no state crime that was violated.” Blanche also added that his client was “frustrated” and “upset” by the charges, but that he is optimistic to overcome this situation.
Reactions in the US and Latin America
From the Senate majority leader to the tycoon who owns Twitter, the reactions of politicians, supporters and important figures in various parts of the world reacted to the judicial accusations against the former US president.
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio called the charges against Trump “absurd.” He also argued that from today anyone who wants to manipulate the law “at will” to accuse someone, will be able to do so and gave examples of what, for him, can happen in the future from the judicial precedent with Donald Trump.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke optimistically on his Twitter account in favor of the former president and anticipated calling for a peaceful demonstration: “I think Donald Trump will get a fair trial that follows the facts and the law. There is no place in our justice system for any outside influence or intimidation in the legal process. As the trial progresses, protest is an American right, but all protests must be peaceful.”
Meanwhile, in Latin America, the president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, He was one of the few presidents who reacted quickly to the news, spoke of what for him is the deterioration of democracy in the US and put the situation in perspective with the Latin American region.
“Think what you want about former President Trump and the reasons why he is being impeached. But imagine if this happened in any other country, where a government arrested the main opposition candidate. America’s ability to use ‘democracy’ as foreign policy is gone“, wrote.
(With AFP and our correspondent in New York, Silvina Sterin Pensel)