Former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 federal felony charges stemming from an investigation into his alleged improper retention of classified records at Mar-a-Lago. During a speech at his Trump National Golf Club Bedminster property, Trump slammed Special Counsel Jack Smith as a “deranged lunatic,” and accused President Joe Biden of “having his top political opponent arrested and charged.”

Trump argued that the charges against him were “the most heinous abuse of power in the history of our country” and a result of the Biden administration’s interference in the election process. He compared the charges against him to “political persecution like something straight out of a fascist or communist nation.”

The charges against Trump include willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and false statements. Trump asserted that the allegations had nothing to do with former presidents legally keeping their own documents.

Despite Trump’s accusations of political bias, these charges were based on a suspected violation of the Espionage Act of 1917; a law that has been used to prosecute individuals for espionage and other national security offenses. Trump maintained his innocence, stating that he had “done everything right” and that he was being unfairly targeted by Biden’s administration.

In his remarks, Trump also pointed out the different treatment in the justice system that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Biden have received. He charged that Clinton had broken the law and had not been indicted while Biden also broke the law and so far had not incurred any charges.

Trump went on to bring up the infamous ‘nuclear football’ incident involving former President Bill Clinton, in which military aide had lost a briefcase containing the U.S. nuclear missile launch codes. However, Clinton suffered no consequences. Trump used this incident to further criticize the current administration.

Trump was a 2024 Republican frontrunner and the former president of the United States. He had faced many challenges during his time in office and saw continued scrutiny after leaving his post. These charges against him represent one of the most significant legal battles he faced as a civilian.

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