At a weekend rally in Pennsylvania that was his first rally appearance since FBI agents raided Mar-a-Lago in connection to an ongoing criminal investigation into the handling of government documents from the Trump administration, former President Donald Trump lashed out in extreme terms at the FBI and Democrats.
“The FBI and the Justice Department have become vicious monsters,” Trump said, having a normal one. “Controlled by radical Left scoundrels, lawyers, and the media who tell them what to do… and when to do it. They’re trying to silence me and more importantly, they are trying to silence you. But we will not be silenced, right? We will never stop speaking the truth.” There remains no real-world evidence for the notion that the raid of Mar-a-Lago or the broader criminal probe were or are motivated by political considerations. Quite simply, the evidence is really there. Documents that were marked classified and, more broadly, that the government had an interest in protecting were at Mar-a-Lago. In May, a grand jury subpoena for documents marked classified that remained at Mar-a-Lago was issued, and after receiving some materials and a signed statement from a Trump lawyer that everything covered by the subpoena was returned, FBI agents found additional materials.
During his rally, Trump also brought up recent, strange complaints about the FBI’s handling of information related to a laptop that ostensibly belonged to Hunter Biden, a son of the current president. Ahead of the 2020 presidential election, the FBI provided general warnings about potential foreign interference, without specifically identifying the Hunter Biden laptop story — a story that originally sparked concerns about its potential origin in foreign influence operations. In response, Facebook chose to limit the reach of the laptop story.
Trump, however, characterizes what happened entirely differently. “Well, Mark Zuckerberg confessed that in 2020, the FBI went to Facebook and the media and gave them the false narratives that the Hunter Biden laptop from hell was Russian disinformation, even though they knew that was not true,” Trump insisted. (That’s not what happened.) “So they went in, they said it was Russian disinformation, by the way… But what the FBI did was corruption and election interference on a scale that we have never seen before in our country. According to pollsters, it made a 10 to 20 point difference.” It’s unclear what “pollsters” Trump is trying to reference, but it’s absolutely illogical that the FBI supposedly doing something it didn’t actually do changed the outcome of the presidential election by a 10 or 20 percent margin.
As Trump went on, Michael Scherer — a journalist with The Washington Post — estimated 20 percent of the crowd started exiting before the ex-president was done. Meanwhile, Trump also expressed scared-sounding concerns about the ongoing criminal investigation in Georgia by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis into pro-Trump election meddling in the state after the 2020 presidential race. “But the district attorney, Trump made a phone call, because he was challenging the election,” Trump told the crowd. “So they’re after me for perfect—by the way, perfect for you. Be very proud of me. Just like the call to Ukraine was a perfect call. The one in Atlanta was a perfect, perfect call.” Trump is referring to a phone conversation he had with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he pushed for action on the 2020 election.
Trump has been going for about 1 hour and 45 minutes in Wilkes Barre.
About 20 percent of the crowd–almost all seats were filled at the start–have moved towards the exits.
— Michael Scherer (@michaelscherer) September 4, 2022