MIAMI (NewsNation) — Former President Donald Trump has escalated efforts to undermine the criminal case against him and called on his supporters to protest as he braces for a federal court appearance on dozens of felony charges accusing him of illegally hoarding classified documents.
Trump’s Tuesday afternoon appearance in Miami will mark his second time in as many months facing a judge on criminal charges.
Ahead of Tuesday’s arraignment, Trump lashed out at his former Attorney General Bill Barr after he attacked Trump’s rationale and said Trump had no right to hold onto such sensitive records.
“If even half of it is true,” Barr said of the allegations in the indictment, “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.”
“This thing is a disgrace. Virtually everybody other than a low-life like Bill Barr,” Trump said in response. “Everybody says this is a disgraceful indictment. It shouldn’t happen. It was done for political reasons.”
While speaking at GOP conventions in North Carolina and Georgia, Trump attacked Special Counsel Jack Smith and disparaged the Justice Department in his first public appearances since the 37-count federal indictment involving classified documents at Mar-a-Lago property after leaving the White House.
Of Trump’s 37 charges, a majority of them are counts of willful retention of national defense information, a violation of the Espionage Act of 1917.
“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,” Trump said.
Trump has also called on his supporters to join a planned protest at the Miami courthouse Tuesday, where he’ll be arranged on the charges.
“We need strength in our country now,” Trump said, speaking to his longtime 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.”
Although Trump has been impeached twice and indicted twice, he still remained the front-runner for the Republican nomination; he’s vowed to continue running for president even if he’s convicted of a felony.
“I’ll never leave,” Trump said in an interview aboard his plane.
While Republican candidates and former prosecutors Asa Hutchinson and Chris Christie are speaking out against the former president’s conduct, many Republicans are swarming to his side and downplaying the tape of Trump admitting he did not declassify documents.
“The president of the United States, he can classify and he can control access to national security information however he wants,” Rep. Jim Jordan said on CNN’s State of the Union. “If he wants to store material in a box in a bathroom, if he wants to store them in a box on a stage, he can do that.”
“I think Donald Trump is stronger today politically than he was before,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” “Most Americans believe, most Republicans believe, that the law is used as a weapon against Donald Trump.”
Yet, Republican leaders in the Senate are notably quieter. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was quick to support Trump but stands in stark contrast to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who shares a longstanding notorious animosity with Trump, and is not rushing to his defense.
Following his arraignment, Trump plans to speak from his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club Tuesday night.