One day after new federal charges were filed against him, Former US President and 2024 Republican candidate, Donald Trump, addressed Iowa voters.
Donald Trump and his top rivals for the GOP presidential nomination took the stage one by one Friday night to address an influential gathering of Iowa Republicans, with none of the top-tier hopefuls mentioning that new federal charges had been filed against the former president just a day earlier.
Instead, Trump’s competitors mostly reserved their sharpest criticism for President Joe Biden and a Democratic Party they argued had lost touch with mainstream America — failing to pounce on additional counts over Trump's retention of classified documents that might have otherwise been an opportunity to cut into his comfortable early lead in the polls.
In the latest allegations, the former president is accused of pressuring an employee to delete Mar-a-Lago surveillance footage in order to obstruct the Justice Department’s investigation into his handling of classified documents.
The recent criminal charges, unsealed Thursday, deepen Trump’s legal jeopardy. They allege the president had a more central role than initially believe in a cover-up that prosecutors say was meant to prevent them from recovering top-secret documents he took with him after he left the White House.
They come as Trump braces for possible additional indictments related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election and strengthen special counsel Jack Smith’s already strong case against Trump.
Trump resorted to that familiar playbook on Friday, writing in a post on his Truth Social platform that “this is textbook Third World intimidation by rabid, lawless prosecutors.” He insisted during an interview with radio host John Fredericks that he did nothing wrong and accused prosecutors of trying to intimidate his staff into making up lies about him.
The former president frequently avoids attending multicandidate events in person, questioning why he would share a stage with competitors who are badly trailing him in polls. Still, with Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucus less than six months away, Trump joined a dozen other GOP hopefuls in speaking to about 1,200 GOP members and activists at the Lincoln Day Dinner.
“If I weren’t running, I would have nobody coming after me,” Trump said in his only veiled reference to his legal issues. He also insisted the same would be true if he were trailing in the polls.