Wilkes-Barre, PA – In a nearly two-hour speech Saturday night in northeastern Pennsylvania, former President Donald Trump decriedat his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida as “one of the most shocking abuses of power by any administration” and compared his treatment to that of a “third-world nation.” It was his first roundup since the FBI issued a search warrant on Aug. 8, seizing dozens of documents marked as classified.
“The disgraceful raid and burglary of my home, Mar-a-Lago, was a travesty of justice that made a mockery of America’s laws, traditions and principles in front of the entire world,” Trump told a passionate crowd at Mohegan Sun Arena. in Wilkes-Barre.
Mr Trump said, without merit, that the FBI and Justice Department had become “vicious monsters” working for “radical left-wing crooks” and the media. Trump accused President Biden of meddling in the timing of the raid.
“The Mar-a-Lago raid was a desperate attempt to distract from Joe Biden’s record of misery and failure,” Trump said.
Trump also reiterated the frustration over a submitted photoin response to a request by Trump and his legal team that a federal judge appoint a special master — which showed seized documents stacked on a floor. Some of his anger is reflected in his recent posts on his social media platform, Truth Social.
“They’re talking about documents not being stored properly, but they come in and take documents, throw them on the floor, do a photo shoot and pretend I did it, like I had it all over the floor,” Trump said.
The manufacture,during the FBI investigation he was released, one day after a US district judge ordered him to do so. The inventory included a list of 33 items, boxes or containers seized during the search. It showed several documents and photos with classified markings – including secret and top secret – as well as several empty folders with classification markings.
About a dozen Trump supporters waiting in line before the rally told CBS News they believed the Mar-a-Lago investigation was part of a “witch hunt” and a “political job.”
During his speech, Trump alluded to another run for president, saying he might just “do it again,” which brought the crowd to its feet. He later promised that Republicans would retake the White House in 2024, but did not make a definitive announcement that he would run.
Among those CBS News spoke to at the rally, all expressed hope that he would indeed run. If he doesn’t, supporters have cited Florida Gov. Ron DeSandis, who himself has campaigned with 2022 Republican candidates in battleground states as well, including a visit last month to Pennsylvania, as a possible second choice.
Pennsylvania has served as the center of the US political world this week as campaigning begins to heat up ahead of the midterm elections. Pennsylvania has a governor race,and several competitive congressional districts that could help decide which party wins the House majority.
Both GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano and GOP Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz spoke to the crowd in Wilkes-Barre. Trump later invited both back to the stage to stand with him for brief remarks.
Mr. Biden, meanwhile, also visited Pennsylvania twice this week, including a visit to Wilkes-Barre, where he spoke about public safety. He toooutside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where he warned that democracy is under threat and took aim at “MAGA Republicans.”
Mr Trump attacked Mr Biden for his criticism of the Make America Great Again movement, calling his successor an “enemy of the state”.
“Joe Biden came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to deliver the most vicious, hateful and divisive speech ever given by an American president,” Trump said. “He’s an enemy of the state if you want to know the truth.”
Mr. Biden returns to the state on Labor Day, his third visit in less than a week.
– Sarah Ewall-Wice reported from Wilkes-Barre. Jake Rosen reported from Washington, DC.
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