- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 25, 2023

Former President Donald Trump placed his legal woes front and center on Saturday rallying his supporters behind a pledge of defiance amid an onslaught of investigations as he plots his course toward reelection in 2024.

Speaking at the first rally of his 2024 presidential campaign in Waco, Texas, Mr. Trump scoffed at the legal challenges being weighed by prosecutors from New York to Atlanta, warning his detractors that the cacophony of impending indictments only makes him stronger.

“The new weapon being used by out of control, unhinged Democrats to cheat on elections is criminally investigating a candidate, bad publicity and all,” he said. “But you know what? It gets so much publicity that the case actually gets adjudicated in the press and people see its bulls—-t.

“It’s the craziest thing. I get bad publicity and my poll numbers have gone through the roof,” he said drawing cheers from the crowd as they hoisted campaign signs emblazoned with the words: “Witch Hunt” in bold letters.

Saturday’s rally in Waco capped a weeklong standoff with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg who is investigating allegations that Mr. Trump paid $130,000 in hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Mr. Trump has denied the allegations.

“I never liked horse face,” Mr. Trump said on Saturday refuting allegations that he had an affair with Ms. Daniels. “That wouldn’t be the one. There is no one. We have a great first lady.”

Last weekend Mr. Trump announced to his supporters on his social media platform Truth Social that he would be arrested within days citing leaked information that a grand jury investigating the alleged payment was nearing an indictment.

The arrest never came, but Mr. Trump has stolen headlines with his rants against the probe and calls for his supporters to protest.

“OUR COUNTRY IS BEING DESTROYED, AS THEY TELL US TO BE PEACEFUL!,” Mr. Trump wrote on Truth Social on Thursday.

Authorities said on Friday that a threatening letter containing a powdery substance was found in the mail room at Mr. Bragg’s offices in New York. Law enforcement officials later determined that the substance was not dangerous.

The impending indictment has also sparked a feud between Republicans in Congress and the New York prosecutors as lawmakers pledge oversight of any federal funds used in what they say is a thinly veiled political hit job by Mr. Bragg.

Mr. Trump has also taken the weeklong legal drama to the bank, raising $1.5 million in the three days after predicting his arrest.

But he warned on Saturday that he faces an uphill road to the White House in 2024.

In addition to a possible indictment in New York, the former president is also facing an investigation in Georgia over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. He is also facing an investigation into his handling of classified documents recovered from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in addition to potential investigations into his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

“Prosecutorial misconduct is their new tool, and they are willing to use it at levels never seen before in our country,” he said. We must stop them and we must not allow them to go through another election where they have yet another tool in their tool kit.”

“If we don’t win this next election in 2024, I truly believe our country is doomed,” he said.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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