Trump says ‘it’s ‘vicious persecution’ as he hits back over indictment for classified files stash

Trump says ‘it’s ‘vicious persecution’ as he hits back over indictment for classified files stash

Donald Trump has branded the federal indictment against him “a vicious persecution” in his first public appearance since the charges were announced.

A 37-count indictment made public on Friday accuses him of keeping sensitive documents at his Mar-a-Lago property.

The indictment amounted to “election interference” by the “corrupt” FBI and justice department, he said on Saturday.

He has denied any wrongdoing.

Mr Trump has been charged with stashing away hundreds of classified documents, including some about US nuclear secrets and military plans.

The indictment accused him of keeping the files at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida estate, in a ballroom and a shower.

It alleged that he lied to investigators and tried to block the investigation into his handling of the documents.

They are the first-ever federal charges against a former US president.

In a speech on Saturday at a Republic Party convention in Georgia, Trump said: “They’re cheating, they’re crooked they’re corrupt - these criminals cannot be rewarded, they must be defeated.”

He joked that every time he flies over a “blue state” - one controlled by the Democrats - he gets subpoenaed.

He called the indictment a “hoax” by the “corrupt political establishment”. It was a “joke” and a “travesty”, he said.

Trump, who is running for the White House again in 2024, had previously reacted angrily to the indictment, calling it a politically-motivated “scam”.

He has also claimed he “had nothing to hide” and supplied the documents “openly”.

Special counsel Jack Smith, who oversaw the investigation, said: “We have one set of laws in this country, and they apply to everyone.”

Trump is currently the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination.