donald trump tries to explain the only crime hes committed in post arraignment remarks

Former President Donald Trump kicked off his post-arraignment remarks at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday evening with a strong assertion that the “only crime” he’s committed was defending the nation.

“God bless you all. I never thought anything like this could happen in America,” he said, adding that the only crime he’s committed is trying “to defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it.”

The former president’s speech took place just hours after he was charged with 34 felony criminal charges connected to payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep her from talking about their alleged affair one month before the 2016 presidential election. Earlier on Tuesday in New York City, State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, who is overseeing the case, advised the former president to refrain from inciting “violence or civil unrest” following the arraignment.

Trump’s speech at his Mar-a-Lago country club in Palm Beach, Florida, started off in a familiar manner as he stuck to old talking points, rambling about unfounded claims that he has repeated over the past few years, including that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from him and that the FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago to retrieve classified documents was illegal.

He briefly brought up his usual criticisms of Democrats, including President Joe Biden, but mostly focused on the prosecutors, investigators and judges involved in his legal tangles, including New York Attorney General Letitia James, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and special counsel Jack Smith.

At one point in the speech, Trump claimed that the U.S. was headed into an “all-out nuclear World War III” under the Biden administration, claiming without evidence that “we’re not very far away from it.”

The speech lasted for 25 minutes — shorter than his usual speeches. Multiple news networks, including CNN, NBC News and the Washington Post’s livestream, cut away from Trump’s speech before it ended.

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