Donald Trump couldn’t seem to decide whether he had a “good day” or a “sad day” as he was arrested and arraigned on four criminal charges over his attempts to overthrow the 2020 presidential election.
The former president appeared in court in Washington DC on Thursday afternoon, where he pleaded not guilty to all charges in what now marks his third criminal case.
Following the arraignment, he returned to his Bedminster estate and took to Truth Social where, he claimed – in a full-caps late-night rant – that he had a “very good day”.
“CONSIDERING THE FACT THAT I HAD TO FLY TO A FILTHY, DIRTY, FALLING APART, & VERY UNSAFE WASHINGTON, D.C., TODAY, & THAT I WAS THEN ARRESTED BY MY POLITICAL OPPONENT, WHO IS LOSING BADLY TO ME IN THE POLLS, CROOKED JOE BIDEN, IT WAS A VERY GOOD DAY!” he wrote on Truth Social.
However, this positive outlook appears to jar with the mood he displayed on the tarmac as he jetted out of DC on his private plane – not to mention the mood sources said he displayed behind the scenes.
“This is a very sad day for America,” Mr Trump told reporters as he embarked Trump Force One to head back to his Bedminster club.
“It was also very sad driving through Washington DC and seeing the filth and the decay and all of the broken buildings and walls and the graffiti.
“This is not the place that I left. It’s a very sad thing to see it.”
His comments on Washington DC’s apparent deterioration came after Mr Trump left the capital in January 2021 as it was reeling from the January 6 Capitol riots – an attack which came out of the false claims he spread of 2020 election fraud.
Meanwhile, sources behind the scenes of Thursday’s hearing revealed a somewhat “dejected” mood.
The former president was said to be “irked” that US District Judge Moxila Upadhyaya had referred to him as “Mr Trump” and not “Mr President” during his court appearance.
“I’m learning tonight that Trump left here in a sour and dejected mood,” said CNN host Kaitlan Collins.
“He was, quote, ‘pissed off,’ according to someone who spoke to him.”
She added: “I am told that the former president, one thing that irked him particularly, was during that hearing today that lasted about 27 minutes, was when the magistrate judge referred to him as simply ‘Mr Trump.’”
Mr Trump’s alleged annoyance comes as the staff at his Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster estates typically still refer to him as “President Trump” – despite leaving the White House over two years ago.
“That may not sound odd to anyone else, but he is still referred to by his former title ‘President Trump’ when he’s at his Bedminster golf club in New Jersey, as he is tonight, or at Mar-a-Lago,” revealed Ms Collins.
Instead of being waited on by his staff and called “Mr President”, Mr Trump was forced to endure a court appearance similar to that of many criminal defendants.
He had to wait around 15 minutes for the judge to arrive and came face to face with prosecutors pursuing charges against him – at one point having something of a stare off with special counsel Jack Smith in the courtroom.
However, in other ways his treatment was different – as he did not have his mugshot taken and was not placed in handcuffs.
Mr Trump surrendered to authorities and was arrested on four federal charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights.
He then appeared for his arraignment at the E Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse where he stared down special counsel Jack Smith before pleading not guilty to all charges.
The former president is accused of conspiring with his allies to overturn the 2020 election, in a bid to sabotage the vote of the American people.
The Justice Department alleges that Mr Trump and his circle of co-conspirators knew that he had lost the election but launched a multi-prong conspiracy to do everything they could to enable him to cling to power.
This included spreading “knowingly false claims of election fraud to get state legislators and election officials to subvert the legitimate election results and change electoral votes for the Defendant’s opponent, Joseph R. Biden, Jr., to electoral votes for the Defendant”, the indictment states.
Mr Trump and his allies also allegedly plotted to send slates of fake electors to seven “targeted states” of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin which President Joe Biden had won – to get them to falsely certify the election for Mr Trump.
The indictment also alleges Mr Trump tried to use the DOJ to “conduct sham election crime investigations”, sending letters to the seven states claiming that “significant concerns” had been found in the elections in those states.
As well as the false claims about the election being stolen from Mr Trump, the scheme also involved pushing false claims that Vice President Mike Pence had the power to alter the results – and pushing Mr Pence to “fraudulently alter the election results”.
When Mr Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol in a violent attack that ended with five deaths, Mr Trump and his co-conspirators “exploited” the incident by “redoubling efforts to levy false claims of election fraud and convince Members of Congress to further delay the certification based on those claims,” the indictment claims.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Mr Smith placed the blame for the January 6 attack on the US Capitol firmly on Mr Trump’s shoulders.
“The attack on our nation’s capitol on January 6, 2021, was an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy,” he said.
“As described in the indictment, it was fueled by lies. Lies by the defendant targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the US government – the nation’s process of collecting, counting and certifying the results of the presidential election.”
The indictment marks Mr Trump’s second federal indictment, his third criminal indictment overall – and potentially his most serious.
While the former president is the only person charged in the case, the indictment also refers to six co-conspirators who worked with him to try to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
The six individuals – four attorneys, one Justice Department official and one political consultant – have not been named in the charging documents because they have not yet been charged with any crimes.
However, based on the details in the indictment and records already known about the events leading up to the Capitol riot, the identities are apparent as Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark, Kenneth Chesebro and Boris Epshteyn.
This marks Mr Trump’s third indictment after he was hit with New York state charges following an investigation into hush money payments made prior to the 2016 election and then separate federal charges over his alleged mishandling of classified documents on leaving office.
He has pleaded not guilty in both of those charges as well.
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