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Trump, facing federal indictment, plays the victim, trying once again to set the narrative

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WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump said he will face federal charges for mishandling classified documents he took with him when he left office — and his first move— as it always is — is to play the victim to try to set the narrative.

In a video, Trump said he was innocent, called the pending charges “election interference,” claimed again he won the 2020 election, said “the whole thing is a hoax” and “warfare for the law. We can’t let it happen. This country is going to hell.”

Tactically, it’s a reasonable play, since its worked so well for Trump — through two impeachments (where he was acquitted after Senate trials) — his April indictment in New York over a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels — and the ongoing probe in Georgia, which could result in another indictment — for trying to pressure officials to change election results.

Trump’s been so successful in being able to discredit and undermine investigations aimed at him that his political base has rallied to his side, making him the frontrunner — by a lot — for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

We’ll know what the documents case against Trump is about when the indictment is made public. Trump will be the first president in U.S. history to face a federal indictment. He was the first president in U.S. history to face a state indictment.

Trump said in various statements on Thursday night that he will appear in federal court Tuesday in Miami.  

His second move — as it always is — is to call any investigation against him — including this one, dealing with classified records found at Mar-a-Largo — a witch hunt.

His third move — as it always is in dealing with probes against him — is to trash the prosecutor, which Trump was doing on Thursday night, slamming  special counsel Jack Smith and accusing the FBI and Justice Department of being “weaponized” against him.

His fourth move — as it always is — is to pivot — and try to change the conversation, arguing that officials are ignoring that a Democrat in this case, President Joe Biden — is doing something worse.

The Justice Department is looking into documents that Biden’s team discovered he took with him at the end of his vice presidency. But the situations are not comparable. Biden is cooperating with the probe.

At the heart of the charges against Trump, the New York Times is reporting, are things Trump did to try to thwart the Justice Department investigation, with the counts expected to be violations of the Espionage Act, conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements.

Rep. Mary Miller, the Illinois Republican elected official who is Trump’s strongest supporter, said in a tweet, “The Biden DOJ is indicting President Trump because they know Biden cannot win a free and fair election.”

Former Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., a member of the House Jan. 6 committee that investigated Trump’s role in the Capitol attack, where rioters tried to overturn the election, said in a tweet, “The former President will get a fair trial. The former President will be held accountable.”

We’re in — again with Trump — uncharted waters. Watch for Republicans to pivot from the charges Trump is facing — to accusing Democrats of trying to “weaponize” the FBI and Justice Department. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in a tweet, “It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him. Joe Biden kept classified documents for decades. I, and every American who believes in the rule of law, stand with President Trump against this grave injustice. House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable.”

McCarthy doesn’t help the public understand what is happening when he puts out misleading statements. No president can indict anyone. That’s what grand juries do.



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