Former President Donald Trump said “all bets were off” in his battle with the Department of Justice (DOJ), pledging to launch investigations against federal prosecutors and leading political opponent Joe Biden during a speech on Saturday. at a campaign rally in Pickens. , South Carolina.

The former president’s comments came as part of his first major campaign rally since his federal indictment last month on charges stemming from his alleged removal of classified White House documents and his move to Mar-a-Lago, his vacation home in Florida, after leaving office in January 2021. The federal charges, which he says are without merit and to which he has pleaded not guilty, amounted to efforts by the Biden administration to interfere with his 2024 candidacy, Trump claimed, in retaliation for allegations of rampant voter fraud. he had raised unsubstantiated during previous presidential campaigns.

Trump warns ‘all bets are off’ after federal indictment

“They rigged the 2020 election,” he said Saturday. “But we are not going to let them rig the 2024 election.”

If elected president, Trump said he plans to launch a retribution campaign, including launching investigations into progressive district attorneys and prosecutors he says are soft on crime and appointing a special prosecutor committed solely to prosecution. of Biden and his family over allegations of an alleged influence peddling scheme.

“When they charged me for nothing, I said all bets were off,” he told an enthusiastic crowd of nearly 10,000 at his rally.

Here are some other takeaways from Saturday’s event.

donald trump
Former President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd during a campaign event Saturday in Pickens, South Carolina. Trump said “all bets were off” in his battle with the Justice Department and vowed to launch investigations against federal prosecutors and leading political opponent Joe Biden during his speech on Saturday. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Trump remains very focused on his accusations

While much of the content of Trump’s nearly 80-minute speech Saturday was derived from his campaign speech — tougher immigration laws, a country in decline, a ban on transgender athletes from women’s sports — Saturday’s comments showed that the former president was still focused on a series of criminal charges against him stemming from actions taken at the end of his presidency.

In addition to an indictment currently on hold in New York on fraud charges, to which Trump also pleaded not guilty earlier this year, he also touted his innocence in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case on Saturday.

The former president revived earlier claims that his possession of the classified documents was protected by statutes under the Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978, which he claimed lawyers for former President Bill Clinton relied on in a 2012 lawsuit seeking recordings. of confidential phone calls Clinton made that were discovered in her sock drawer. Legal experts, however, have already questioned Trump’s interpretation of the case, saying it does not resemble the current charges against him.

Although Clinton kept the recordings she later used to write her autobiography in her sock drawer at the White House, none of them were considered classified or top secret.

Meanwhile, Trump also alluded to impending charges against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for alleged attempts to coerce Georgia election officials into swinging their 2020 loss there in his favor, blasting Atlanta as “more dangerous than Chicago” before defending the legitimacy of her phone calls. as “perfect”. He also claimed that the phone calls could not be used against him due to a Florida statute that requires the consent of both parties to record phone calls.

“They’re letting them get away with murder. [in Georgia]but the only one they are after is Trump,” he said.

A plan to prevent Russia from committing a nuclear holocaust

The former president has regularly faced criticism from opponents for seemingly being too deferential to Russian President Vladimir Putin when he was in the Oval Office.

But while he has been less critical of Putin than his opponents on the campaign trail amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Trump has also relied on the rhetoric of working to broker an immediate peace deal between the two countries, even as Ukraine has refused to accept any agreement. terms of handing over the disputed territory to the Russians.

Anything short, he suggested, could lead Russia to potentially use the kinds of weapons “no one likes to think about.” The Russian leader has repeatedly stressed that he was prepared to use nuclear weapons in defense of his country as the Russia-Ukraine war continues for more than a year.

Biden, Trump said Saturday, “was bringing us to the brink of World War III.”

Tariffs and tax cuts

In one of his few attacks on his opponents in the Republican primary on Saturday, Trump lashed out at his closest Republican competitor, Ron DeSantis, alleging that the Florida governor and the Republican presidential candidate opposed the high tariffs he had imposed against countries like China during his presidency.

He also called for additional tax cuts on top of those he had imposed during his administration’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which researchers say benefited individual corporations more than the working class. Those tax provisions, however, are scheduled to expire in 2025.

In his most popular statement of the day, Trump also criticized efforts to cut spending on programs like Social Security and Medicare, while saying that candidates like DeSantis supported raising the retirement age to 70. The DeSantis camp has disputed those claims as “misleading.” The Florida governor supported raising the “full retirement age” under Paul Ryan’s 2012 Social Security proposal, which is different from the minimum retirement age that Trump is calling for.

“I’ve got your back,” the former president told the crowd.

High Praise for Packing the Supreme Court: Few Words on Abortion

Trump’s comments also came after a series of recent Supreme Court decisions struck down a number of longstanding legal precedents in the country regarding affirmative action, LGBTQ+ discrimination laws and the executive branch to cancel student loan debts.

While he applauded those decisions as the result of a conservative majority he helped build as president: the overthrow of longstanding protections for abortion under the 1973 Court Roe vs. Wade The decision was made without elaboration, a flagrant omission. Meanwhile, other candidates in the 2024 presidential race, notably former Vice President Mike Pence, recently called for a minimum 15-week federal ban on the medical procedure.

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