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4 Aug, 2023 23:55

Trump makes cryptic threat

One day after being criminally charged for a third time, the former US president has warned, “I’m coming after you”
Trump makes cryptic threat

Former US President Donald Trump has set off a social media firestorm by issuing an apparent threat against unidentified enemies just one day after he was indicted for the third time in four months.

“If you go after me, I’m coming after you,” Trump said on Friday in a post on his Truth Social platform. He offered no context or explanation for the statement, letting supporters and critics alike infer his meaning for themselves.

Trump pleaded not guilty on Thursday to the latest criminal charges against him, four felonies related to an alleged conspiracy to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. After leaving the federal courthouse in Washington, he claimed that politically motivated prosecutors were going after him because Biden couldn’t beat him in a 2024 election rematch.

“This is a very sad day for America,” Trump told reporters before boarding his plane. He added, “This was never supposed to happen in America. This is a persecution of the person that’s leading by very, very substantial numbers in the Republican primary and leading Biden by a lot, so if you can’t beat him, you persecute him. We can’t let this happen in America.”

Trump issued his cryptic threat on the same day that his campaign released a new ad alleging that Biden had assembled a “cast of unscrupulous accomplices to get Trump.” That group, which the ad called “the fraud squad,” includes Jack Smith, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) special counsel who’s handling the two federal cases against Trump, and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who filed charges against Trump in April for allegedly making false claims in his New York business filings.

While Trump supporters interpreted his latest message to mean “the gloves are off,” and that he will take revenge on his enemies when he’s elected president again in 2024, detractors suggested that he was trying to scare anyone who would try to punish him for his alleged crimes.

Magistrate Judge Moxila Updadhyaya warned Trump on Thursday that the most important condition of his release on bond was that he mustn’t commit “any new crimes” while awaiting trial, which could lead to him being jailed or sentenced more harshly if convicted. According to NPR, she told Trump that it’s a crime to “influence a juror or try to threaten or bribe a witness or retaliate against anyone connected to the case.”

Smith also filed dozens of felony charges related to Trump’s alleged mishandling of state secrets. On Friday, Trump waived his right to appear at an arraignment for the updated indictment in that case. Smith slapped Trump with three additional charges late last month for allegedly plotting to delete potentially incriminating security camera footage before FBI agents raided his home to gather evidence in the classified documents case. He pleaded not guilty in June to the 37 previously filed charges in that case. Friday’s filing said he will also plead not guilty to the new charges.