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Trump boasts that he needs ‘one more indictment to close out this election’

The former president delivered a speech full of defiance and bluster at a Republican Party dinner in Alabama.

FORMER US PRESIDENT Donald Trump, fresh off his third appearance in court as a criminal defendant, has delivered a speech full of defiance and bluster, insulting prosecutors and declaring that the charges he faces only help his 2024 presidential campaign.

“Any time they file an indictment, we go way up in the polls,” Trump said at a Republican Party dinner in Alabama.

“We need one more indictment to close out this election. One more indictment, and this election is closed out. Nobody has even a chance.”

Trump pleaded not guilty on Thursday to crimes related to his efforts to overturn the results of his 2020 election loss.

Although it is his third criminal indictment this year, this case is the most serious, with the federal government he once ran charging him with orchestrating a scheme to block the peaceful transfer of power.

But Trump was characteristically unapologetic as he took the stage last night night to Lee Greenwood’s God Bless The USA, flashing a thumbs-up at the crowd, raising his fist and taking in a standing ovation of nearly three minutes.

“We’re gonna be here for a little while,” he joked, asking the crowd to take a seat.


The latest set of charges focuses on the two months between his November 2020 loss to Democrat Joe Biden and the 6 January 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol.

Trump has denied wrongdoing and has wedded his 2024 presidential campaign to his legal defence and his false claims of 2020 election fraud.

In a sign of that defiance, his campaign released an online ad yesterday attacking Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith, who led the investigation that resulted in Trump’s latest charges and a separate case where he is charged with mishandling classified documents.

The ad, which is expected to start airing on television next week, also attacks Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, who has charged Trump in a hush money case, and Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis, who is believed to be close to filing charges in her investigation into efforts by Mr Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.

A Trump aide said the ad will start airing on Monday and Tuesday in Washington, DC, New York, Atlanta and on national cable.

The ad was also shown to the crowd at the Alabama dinner on Friday night.

Trump has continued to receive endorsements from Republican elected officials throughout the investigations and criminal cases, including yesteday from all six of the state’s Republican US House members.

‘They’re after you’

Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, who is waging an unprecedented campaign to try to change Pentagon abortion policy by holding up hundreds of military nominations and promotions, introduced Trump at the dinner on Friday night.

“He’s had a tough week. We need to stand behind him,” Tuberville said.

“He needs encouragement. They’re after him.”

Repeating Trump’s frequent refrain, he added: “They’re after you.”

Among the opening acts of the dinner were Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips, who produced the film 2000 Mules, which made various debunked claims about mail ballots, drop boxes and ballot collection in the 2020 presidential election.

Trump praised the pair in his remarks and said: “Get ready. Get those votes ready. Just get them ready. Keep those tapes handy because you’re going to need them.”

The crowd of 2,700 began arriving several hours early for the dinner, a 250 dollar-per-ticket (£196) fundraiser for the Alabama Republican Party.

“They are excited,” Alabama Republican Party chairman John Wahl said.

“There is so much passion from Trump supporters and voters across the state.”

Mr Trump’s mounting legal troubles do not seem to be dampening his support in the Deep South state that is among more than a dozen that will hold primary contests on Super Tuesday.

The 5 March slate of elections is increasingly seen as one of the last chances for any other Republican presidential candidate to try to make inroads in Trump’s front-runner status.

Trump’s closest rival, Florida governor Ron DeSantis, has been making a play for Super Tuesday states.

In Alabama, though, one gauge of interest does not bode well for the governor: the state Republican Party sold about 1,000 fewer tickets for a similar dinner in March when DeSantis spoke.

Robin Rowan, the owner of a financial company, wore a button and sash with Trump’s image and “Not Guilty” emblazoned in sequins as she waited to hear him speak.

Rowan, who does not believe the criminal accusations against Trump, said the charges have galvanised support for Trump rather than making voters doubt him.

“We know the truth. They are trying to wear us down. They are not going to wear us down,” Ms Rowan said.

Rich Foster, a retired police officer wearing a black “Bikers for Trump” T-shirt, said he believes some crimes were committed on 6 January, such as the attacks on police officers defending the Capitol, but does not consider Trump responsible for the violence that happened.

“I don’t think Trump committed a crime that day,” Foster said.

He said he believed that Trump, as president, had a right to speak out about the election.

Trump has not been charged with inciting the attack, but prosecutors accused him of exploiting the violence and chaos at the Capitol to continue making false claims of election fraud and trying to halt the certification of the election results.

Foster said he and other Trump supporters viewed the charges as an attempt to keep Mr Trump from winning in 2024.

He said he would write in the former president’s name if he had to.

“If they get him off the ballot somehow,” he said, “I know how to write Donald J Trump on the ballot.”

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