Former US President Donald Trump gave his first interview since he was charged last week with secret documents. He said he didn’t have time to go through the boxes because he was “very busy.” At the same time, the American leader stated that he had the right to take the documents from the White House. He also referred to the situation around Ukraine and Taiwan.
In his first interview since being charged with holding secret documents last week, the former US president Donald Trump he tried to explain, among other things, why he had not returned the boxes with secret documents for more than a year after the end of his presidency. According to investigators, the documents included those containing the state’s most closely guarded secrets, including nuclear weapons, military plans and sensitive defense points USA and allies.
– Like every other president, I took my stuff. And in my case, I took them out in a hurry, people packed them up and off we went. And I had clothes there. I had all sorts of personal belongings … In these boxes there were all sorts of things mixed up: golf shirts, clothes, pants, shoes, “Trump said. As he added, he did not have time to look through the boxes taken because “he was very busy”.
At the same time, he stated that he had every right to possess classified documents with national security secrets that he took because as president he declassified them. The former president also denied showing a plan for a potential attack on Iran to unauthorized persons, even though investigators presented a transcript of his conversation during which he allegedly said, “This is classified information. Look, look at this.”
In an interview with Fox News, Trump implied that he had no secret document but newspaper clippings.
“I would say something to Zelensky, I would say something to Putin, I would take them to the room”
In the part of the conversation devoted to foreign policy, Trump once again assured that if he were in power, Russia would not dare to invade Ukraine. He also described his alleged conversations with Vladimir Putin on this topic.
– I spoke to him, I said: if you do this, you will pay dearly for it. It will be a disaster. Do not do this. I told him I’d do something. He said, “No, no, you won’t.” I said, “I will, Vladimir,” Trump said. He added that despite this, he had good relations with the Russian president.
The former president also reiterated that he would negotiate an end war in Ukraine in 24 hours. Asked if the plan would be based on giving Crimea to Russia, he declined to give details, saying it “would make negotiations more difficult.”
“I would say something to Zelensky, I would say something to Putin, I would take them to the room (…) And I would have an agreement very soon,” declared the leading Republican presidential candidate.
Similarly, Trump also declined to answer the question of whether he would stand up for Taiwan if China decided to invade. “I won’t say what I would do because that would hurt the negotiations with President Xi. But he knows what I would do.
Trump faced 37 charges
Donald Trump is the first former US president to face federal charges. He received a total of 37 of them. The most serious 31 allegations are related to the deliberate keeping of secret documents. The indictment lists each document and the signature it bears separately. These charges were brought under the Espionage Act, which criminalizes the unauthorized retention of US national defense information.
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Trump also faces several charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct an investigation. According to the indictment, Trump and his assistant Walter Nauta deliberately concealed documents from the authorities – as well as from their own lawyers – by moving them from place to place and hiding, among other things, in the bedroom, the ballroom, and even the bathroom of the former president’s Mar-a-Lago mansion in Florida.
Trump is also accused of making false statements. He allegedly suggested to his lawyers that they lie to investigators about the documents in his possession, and to destroy or hide them.
According to the Just Security organization, the Espionage Act provides for a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each crime, for each charge of obstructing an investigation and concealing documents, there is a penalty of 12 years in prison, and for making false statements, there is a penalty of 5 years in prison. In the US, prison sentences can be cumulative.
To prove Trump’s guilt, prosecutors will have to show that his actions were intentional and that his purpose was to obstruct the investigation, whether or not those efforts were successful.
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