Former President Trump issued a blistering statement on Thursday evening after multiple news outlets reported that a grand jury voted to indict him on charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Trump, who would be the first president in American history charged with a crime, suggested the reported indictment is an effort to interfere with his re-election campaign.
“This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history. From the time I came down the golden escalator at Trump Tower, and even before I was sworn in as your President of the United States, the Radical Left Democrats – the enemy of the hard-working men and women of this Country – have been engaged in a Witch-Hunt to destroy the Make America Great Again movement,” Trump said in a statement shared with TPM.
The exact nature of the charges is unclear. Bragg’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment on this story. Bragg has been investigating payments that were made during Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign to women he allegedly had affairs with.
Trump has previously dismissed efforts to investigate him as political witch hunts. His response to the reported indictment followed that playbook and he listed off a variety of other probes he has faced in his political career.
“You remember it just like I do: Russia, Russia, Russia; the Mueller Hoax; Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine; Impeachment Hoax 1; Impeachment Hoax 2; the illegal and unconstitutional Mar-a-Lago raid; and now this,” Trump said. “The Democrats have lied, cheated and stolen in their obsession with trying to ‘Get Trump,’ but now they’ve done the unthinkable – indicting a completely innocent person in an act of blatant Election Interference.”
Trump also noted the unprecedented nature of the charges.
“Never before in our Nation’s history has this been done. The Democrats have cheated countless times over the decades, including spying on my campaign, but weaponizing our justice system to punish a political opponent, who just so happens to be a President of the United States and by far the leading Republican candidate for President, has never happened before. Ever,” he said.
Bragg, who took office last year, has been repeatedly attacked by Trump throughout his investigation. Trump has tried to tie Bragg to George Soros, a billionaire financier who has been a focal point for anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on the far right. Soros has donated to groups that supported the campaigns of progressive prosecutors including Bragg, however, Trump has continually presented an exaggerated version of their connection. He returned to that attack in response to the reported indictment.
“Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, who was hand-picked and funded by George Soros, is a disgrace. Rather than stopping the unprecedented crime wave taking over New York City, he’s doing Joe Biden’s dirty work, ignoring the murders and burglaries and assaults he should be focused on. This is how Bragg spends his time!” Trump said.
Trump concluded by suggesting efforts to prosecute him would ultimately hurt President Biden. The White House declined to comment on Trump’s statement.
“I believe this Witch-Hunt will backfire massively on Joe Biden. The American people realize exactly what the Radical Left Democrats are doing here. Everyone can see it,” Trump said, adding, “So our Movement, and our Party – united and strong – will first defeat Alvin Bragg, and then we will defeat Joe Biden, and we are going to throw every last one of these Crooked Democrats out of office so we can MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”