Trump outlines legal defense in post-arraignment speech: 'We will win bigger than ever before'

"The president enjoys unconstrained authority to make decisions the disposal of documents," Trump said.

Published: June 13, 2023 9:21pm

Updated: June 13, 2023 9:21pm

Former President Donald Trump outlined his legal defense in a Tuesday evening speech after pleading not guilty to 37 criminal counts related to his handling of classified materials the same day.

Trump made his remarks in Bedminster, N.J., after appearing at a Miami federal courthouse to enter his plea earlier that day. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and characterized special counsel Jack Smith's bringing of charges against him as part of an ongoing Democrat-led political persecution of him.

"Today we witness the most evil and heinous abuse of power in the history of our country," he said. "A corrupt sitting president had his top political opponent arrested on fake and fabricated charges of which he and numerous other presidents would be guilty right in the middle of a presidential election in which he is losing very badly."

"This is called election interference," he continued. "More importantly, it's a political persecution like something straight out of a fascist or a communist nation. This day will go down in infamy and Joe Biden will forever be remembered not only as the most corrupt president in the history of our country, but perhaps even more importantly the president, who together with a band of his closest thugs, misfits, and Marxists, tried to destroy American democracy."

"But they will fail and we will win bigger than every before," he vowed. "Charging a former president of the United States under the Espionage Act of 1917, it wasn't meant for this."

In an uncharacteristically detailed explanation, Trump outlined his interpretation of the Presidential Records Act and quoted from the "Clinton socks" court case determining that the president enjoys broad authority to declassify or dispose of documents.

Trump asserted the absurdity of charging him with crimes that would demand 400 years in prison, contending that the Espionage Act was meant to address foreign spying, which warranted the death penalty.

He further reiterated his argument that he maintained the authority to possess the documents under the Presidential Records Act and pointed to the Clinton case, which established that the president maintains sweeping authority to separate personal materials from presidential records.

"The president enjoys unconstrained authority to make decisions the disposal of documents," Trump said.

Trump went on to quote the Clinton decision which explicitly established that the National Archives and Records Administration lacks any legal means to determined what documents constitute presidential records nor to seize any such materials.

Trump also addressed the numerous photographs of materials the FBI seized, calling them "staged" and insisting most of the boxes contained memorabilia from his presidency such as press clippings and merchandize.

"I'm not the one who thinks I'm above the law. I'm the one that followed the law," he declared, before highlighting the apparent disparity between the DOJ's handling of his alleged misconduct and that of President Joe Biden for a comparable issue.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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