The Daily Telegraph

Trump promises backlash over FBI raid

Former president claims search for documents at Mar-a-lago estate was a ‘shocking’ abuse of power

- By Jamie Johnson in Wilkes-barre

DONALD TRUMP has claimed that the FBI raid on his Mar-a-lago home will provoke “a backlash the likes of which nobody has ever seen” during a fiery speech in his first public appearance since the search of his Florida estate.

At a boisterous rally in the key election state of Pennsylvan­ia, Mr Trump said the FBI was trying to “destroy our country” and its leaders had become “vicious monsters controlled by radicallef­t scoundrels, lawyers, and the media who tell them what to do”.

In a blistering attack in front of more than 8,000 supporters in Wilkes-barre, he said the search for government documents at his private residence was “one of the most shocking abuses of power by any administra­tion in American history”.

The threat of a backlash came days after Lindsey Graham, a senior Republican, said there would be “riots on the streets” if Mr Trump was prosecuted over the alleged mishandlin­g of government records.

FBI officers found dozens of classified documents in Mar-a-lago, including 18 marked as “Top Secret”, 54 “Secret” and 31 “Confidenti­al”. There were also 48 empty folders marked “Classified”, raising fears that some documents may not have been recovered.

The rally had been ostensibly organised to support Dr Mehmet Oz, the heart surgeon-turned television personalit­y-turned candidate for Senate, and Doug Mastriano, the GOP’S hardline nominee for governor of Pennsylvan­ia.

An Emerson College poll released last week showed Dr Oz trailing John Fetterman, his Democrat rival, by four percentage points. Last night, Mr Trump ripped into Mr Fetterman, who recently suffered a stroke, saying: “Fetterman may dress like a teenager getting high in his parents’ basement, but he’s a raging lunatic hell-bent on springing hardened criminals out of jail in the middle of the worst crime wave in Pennsylvan­ia history.”

The governor’s race between Mr Mastriano and Pennsylvan­ia Attorney General Josh Shapiro is closer, with Mr Trump last night saying that they were “neck and neck”. He went on to falsely claim that Mr Shapiro was a supporter of “on-demand” abortions “right through the ninth month and after the baby is born”.

The choice of Wilkes-barre, in the swing state of Pennsylvan­ia, for the rally was calculated. Joe Biden was born in the nearby city of Scranton. There is a Biden Street and the Joseph R Biden Jr expressway there. Last night, Mr Trump spent most of his two-hour speech pushing a personal agenda and branding Mr Biden an “enemy of the state” for saying that Maga supporters were underminin­g democracy.

Two days earlier, Mr Biden stood in front of Independen­ce Hall in Philadelph­ia, where the declaratio­n of independen­ce was signed in 1776, and said: “Donald Trump and the Make America Great Again (MAGA) Republican­s represent an extremism that threatens the very foundation­s of our republic.

“They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies,” he added.

Mr Trump slammed it as the “most vicious, hateful and divisive speech ever delivered by an American president.”

“He’s an enemy of the state. You want to know the truth. The enemy of the state is him,” Mr Trump said, sparking a cacophony of cheers from his selfstyled “Ultra MAGA” supporters – many of whom had queued for more than six hours in the hot sun to get a seat in the 8,500-seat Mohegan Sun arena.

Some wore T-shirts emblazoned with obscenitie­s that targeted Mr Biden, while others lauded “God, Guns and Trump”.

Continuing to trumpet the baseless claim that the 2020 election was “stolen”, Mr Trump said: “Republican­s in the MAGA movement are not the ones trying to undermine our democracy.

“The danger to democracy comes from the radical Left, not from the Right,” he added, to rapturous applause.

The biggest cheer came when he hinted at a run for the presidency.

“I ran twice. I won twice. I did better the second time than I did the first. We got millions more votes. The largest number of votes of any sitting president in history. I may just have to do it again.”

 ?? ?? Former US president Donald Trump was cheered by thousands of his supporters in the swing state of Pennsylvan­ia when he hinted that he intended to run for the presidency in 2024
Former US president Donald Trump was cheered by thousands of his supporters in the swing state of Pennsylvan­ia when he hinted that he intended to run for the presidency in 2024

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