WASHINGTON (Nexstar) – Former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to federal conspiracy charges on Thursday that accuse him of trying to overturn the 2020 election.
After his appearance in court, the former president spoke to reporters in Washington and insisted he’s done nothing wrong and that this is a personal attack.
“We can’t let this happen in America,” Trump said after his arraignment. “This is a persecution of a political opponent.”
Trump is accused of conspiring with his allies to brazenly lie about his 2020 election loss and overturn the results. So far, Trump is the only one charged and his legal team argues the indictment is personal and meant to block Trump’s 2024 presidential bid.
“This is not a coincidence; this is election interference at its finest against the leading candidate right now for president.” Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, said.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) added, “every time Trump goes higher in the poll, he gets a new indictment.”
Meanwhile, the Justice Department Special Counsel says the indictment is simply about enforcing the law.
“Our nation’s commitment to the rule of law sets an example for the world,” United States Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith said.
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Democrats say the case is also about protecting democracy.
“If you give people a pass and you tell future presidents they can do anything that they want, they can commit any violation of the law they want and they’ll never be held accountable, that would be very dangerous,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said.
The judge set the next hearing in the case for August 28, just days after the first Republican presidential debate.