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Key moments from Trump’s Alabama speech day after arraignment

Former President Donald Trump used his first speech since facing criminal charges in a Washington, D.C., courtroom to blast the “rabid” prosecutors who he claims are pressing “fake charges” to upset his 2024 presidential bid.

The former president addressed a group of GOP supporters at the Alabama Republican Party’s annual summer dinner on Friday, just one day after he pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into the January 6, 2021, siege on the U.S. Capitol.

The latest indictment, which alleges that Trump attempted to remain in office after losing the 2020 election to President Joe Biden, is the third set of criminal charges handed to the former president this year. Trump also pleaded not guilty in federal Florida court to allegations that he mishandled classified documents after leaving the White House, and claims that the business fraud charges handed to him by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office are nothing but a scam.

Much of his speech in Montgomery, Alabama, on Friday echoed the same defiance and anger Trump has shown at past events and rallies, starting his time at the podium with a promise to “expel the criminals and thugs from the halls of power in Washington, D.C.”

“From the beginning of our movement, it’s really been a true force in American politics that’s here to stand up … to the corrupt political establish that hasn’t happened,” the former president said. “That’s why we have such difficulty because they just can’t stand us.”

Key Moments From Trump's Alabama Speech
Former President Donald Trump on Friday waves to the crowd at the Alabama Republican Party’s 2023 summer meeting in Montgomery. A day after being arraigned on federal felony charges in Washington, D.C., a defiant Trump fired salvos at the “rabid” prosecutors who filed “fake charges” against him.
Julie Bennett/Getty Images

Trump Calls Jack Smith A ‘Lost Soul’

The former president didn’t hesitate to bash Special Counsel Jack Smith throughout his speech Friday, despite being cautioned during Thursday’s arraignment to not “threaten” or “retaliate against” anyone with information connected to his case.

Smith is leading both federal cases against Trump, and has been no stranger to attacks from the former president online. But while at the podium Friday, Trump again questioned Smith’s sanity, asking the crowd, “Doesn’t he look deranged?”

“You’ve seen the pictures with the purple robe,” Trump continued. “He’s a deranged human being. This guy is a lost soul. Bad guy. He’s a deranged sick person.”

Trump also raised concerns after posting a threat on Truth Social Friday for anyone who comes “after” him, writing in all caps, “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!” Legal experts said the post could violate the conditions of his bond set at Thursday’s arraignment.

Trump Stirs Nuclear War Fears, Blames Biden

Trump also raised concerns that the United States is at risk of facing nuclear war with Biden in the White House.

“We have a very dangerous situation because we have other countries with nuclear weapons and the weaponry is so powerful and we have a man that, he can’t put together two sentences, that he’s in charge of whether or not we have a nuclear war, and I don’t like that and you don’t like that either,” Trump told supporters.

The former president has previously touted nuclear weapons as the greatest danger to humanity, listing it above climate change. Trump has also frequently attacked Biden’s foreign policy agenda and the White House’s handling of the war in Russia, which Trump has claimed he could end in “24 hours” if reelected.

“I’m the only candidate who can make this promise, I will prevent World War III,” Trump added during Friday’s speech. “And don’t kid yourself, we’re a lot closer to it than you think.”

January 6 Indictment ‘Act of Desperation’: Trump

Trump also blamed his second indictment from the DOJ on a desperate move from Biden, who is also running for reelection in 2024.

“This ridiculous indictment against us, it’s not a legal case,” the former president said. “It’s an act of desperation by a failed and disgraced crooked Joe Biden and his radical left thugs to preserve their grip on power.”

“They want to do anything they can to preserve it,” he continued. “And we are in their way because we want to bring our country back.”

The former president has maintained through all of his legal woes that the charges are an act of election interference, and that he is innocent of all charges. In the case of the January 6 indictment, the former president argues that it took federal prosecutors 2 1/2 years to file the “fake charges” because “they wanted to wait” until it was the “middle of an election.”

“And they waited until I became the dominant force in the polls because we’re dominating everybody, including Biden, in the polls,” Trump added, which was met with brief cheers from the crowd.

Trump Claims He’s One Indictment Away From Victory

The former president also told Republican voters on Friday that he was not fazed by facing another criminal indictment, claiming that the charges were a “badge of honor.”

“We’re leading by so much, and it’s not going to make any impact, because every time they file an indictment, we go way up in the polls,” Trump said. “We need one more indictment to close out this election. One more indictment and this election is closed out. Nobody has even a chance.”

Trump also told supporters that it was “truly great” for him to face three separate criminal indictments because it means that he is “being indicted for you.”

“Every time the radical left Democrats, Marxists, communists and fascists indict me, I consider it a truly great badge of honor,” he added.

Newsweek reached out to Trump’s campaign via email for comment on Friday night’s event.

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