Trump says trials would hamstring presidential campaign

Former US president Donald Trump speaks to a crowd of supporters at a rally in New Hampshire/AFP.

WINDHAM, UNITED STATES — FormerĀ US president Donald TrumpĀ blasted the multiple prosecutions threatening his re-election bid on Tuesday, complaining that court appearances would keep him off the campaign trail for much of 2024.

Speaking in New Hampshire days after being indicted for a third time in four months, Trump railed against “deranged” officials probing allegations that he illegally hoarded national security secrets, falsified business records and corruptly tried to overthrow an election.

The 77-year-old billionaire, the comfortable frontrunner in the Republican presidential primary, baselessly accused President Joe Biden of ordering the investigations, which he said were brought because of his stellar polling numbers.

“How can my corrupt political opponent crooked Joe Biden put me on trial during an election campaign that I’m winning by a lot but forcing me nevertheless to spend time and money away from the campaign trail in order to fight bogus made-up accusations and charges?” he asked the rally crowd in Windham, one of the most Republican towns in the Granite State.

“That’s what they’re doing: ‘I’m sorry, I won’t be able to go to Iowa today, I won’t be able to go to New Hampshire today, because I’m sitting in a courtroom on bullshit because his attorney general charged me with something.’ Terrible.”

While the numbers are close, Trump has actually only beaten Biden in two of the 14 major opinion polls collated in the influential RealClearPolitics average since June. Biden won eight and four were ties.

The twice-impeached Trump was indicted on Tuesday last week over his efforts to overturn the election that culminated in the 6 January 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol, which was linked to the deaths of four of his supporters.

The case is the most serious of four criminal probes that have yielded dozens of felony charges, including allegations that Trump covered up hush money payments to a porn star and that he endangered national security by storing classified documents at his beach club in Florida.

So far he has criminal trials starting in March and May next year — the height of the election campaign.

A trial date will be set within days in his election interference case, and Trump is expecting further charges next week over the same alleged conspiracy but focused on the state of Georgia.

“I should have four (indictments) by some time next week,” he told the Windham crowd, pointing out that his popularity among Republicans has increased since the criminal cases began pouring in.

Trump is fighting a lawsuit launched by a writer who won a sex abuse case against him. He is also being sued for US$250 million by New York State for alleged business fraud, with a trial starting in October.

— AFP

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