Not a crime’: Trump dismisses NY probe at Texas rally
Donald Trump staged his first presidential campaign rally in Texas Saturday, brushing off his potential indictment as he railed against multiple criminal probes threatening his bid for the White House.
The Republican addressed several thousand supporters — far fewer than the 15,000 he had expected — in the city of Waco as he braced for possible charges over a hush-money payout just days before the 2016 election, to a porn star alleging a sexual encounter.
Maintaining the investigation was over “something that is not a crime, not a misdemeanor, not an affair,” Trump told supporters how he had been the victim of “one witch hunt and phony investigation after another.”
The former president has made a torrent of increasingly bellicose statements, claiming “misconduct” by prosecutors he refers to as “human scum” who are pursuing cases against him in New York, Washington and Atlanta.
The 76-year-old — who was impeached for inciting an insurrection — called last weekend for protests against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, and claimed falsely that he was about to be arrested.
“This is really prosecutorial misconduct. That’s what it’s called. The innocence of people makes no difference whatsoever to these radical left maniacs,” he told an enthusiastic crowd.
For loyal followers, the lines were likely familiar, with the appearance marking a thrilling opportunity finally to see the ex-president at a rally.
As Trump spoke in the background, Hungarian-American retiree Marianna Bodrogi told AFP the occasion marked “the first time I’ve seen Trump in person.”
“I love him, he’s our savior,” the 69-year-old said.
– ‘Feeling his spirit’ –
Some of those arriving in Waco for the Trump rally came from other states, and said they were eager to see their candidate returned to the Oval Office, with many wearing MAGA caps or waving flags touting his campaign.
“We have huge power behind Donald Trump that has yet to be unleashed,” said Kelly Heath, 49, who lives in Georgia. “You will be shocked.”