Former President Donald Trump traveled to Washington, D.C. on a rainy Thursday afternoon to plead “not guilty” in court to all four charges that he used “unlawful means” to subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election. “I am now going to Washington DC, to be arrested for having challenged a corrupt, rigged, & stolen election. It is a great honor, because I am being arrested for you,” Trump wrote on Truth Social, ahead of his trip to D.C.
“Biden and his family steal Millions and Millions of Dollars, including BRIBES from foreign countries, and I’m headed to D.C. to be ARRESTED for protesting a CROOKED ELECTION. UNFAIR VENUE, UNFAIR JUDGE. We are a Nation in Decline. MAGA!!!” Trump added.
🚨 BREAKING: Donald Trump arrives at the federal courthouse in Washington DC
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) August 3, 2023
Special Counsel Jack Smith charged Trump with conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction; and conspiracy against the right to vote and to have one’s vote counted.
In a separate case brought by Smith, Trump faces charges regarding the alleged mishandling of documents after leaving the White House. Additionally, Trump was charged by Manhattan’s district attorney earlier this year in connection with hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. Trump has denied wrongdoing in all the cases.
A state grand jury in Fulton County, Ga., is also considering whether to file charges against Trump and his lawyers, and aides over their efforts to expose the fraud in the 2020 election. A decision on that front is expected soon.
The former president appeared before Magistrate Judge Moxila A. Upadhyaya at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse in D.C. Fencing went up around the U.S. Capitol, in apparent anticipation of protests.
Fencing has gone up around the U.S. Capitol Building again, ahead of Donald Trump’s arrest and arraignment this afternoon in Washington DC pic.twitter.com/VXFPJ6jYsd
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) August 3, 2023
Trump delivered brief remarks at the airport following the hearing, which lasted less than 30 minutes.
“This is a sad day for America,” Trump said. “And it was also sad to drive through Washington D.C. and see the filth and decay and all of the broken buildings and walls, the graffiti—this is not the place that I left. It’s a very sad thing to see it. ”
The former president lamented that this is “a persecution of a political opponent,” adding “this was never supposed to happen in America.”
“This is the persecution of the person that’s leading by very, very substantial numbers in the Republican primary and leading Biden by a lot,” Trump said. “So if you can’t beat him, you persecute him or you prosecute him. We can’t let this happen in America.”
Trump took no questions from the media as he boarded his plane for the flight back to Palm Beach.
Donald Trump after his DC arraignment: "This is a very sad day for America & it was also a very sad driving thru Washington, D.C. & seeing the filth & the decay…When you look at what's happening, this is a persecution of a political opponent. This was never supposed to happen" pic.twitter.com/Ul7nr41ihe
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) August 3, 2023
Trump’s next court date is Aug. 28, and the former president can reportedly waive his appearance at that hearing.