- The Washington Times
Saturday, June 5, 2021

Former President Donald Trump said Saturday night that a criminal probe targeting him in New York state is a “prosecutorial misconduct” scheme by Democrats to keep him from running again in 2024.

In a fiery speech to the North Carolina GOP convention, Mr. Trump said the probe of him and the Trump Organization by the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and New York Attorney General Letitia James, both Democrats, is being funded by liberals.

“Hundreds of thousands of dollars of radical left Democrats have been paid to these prosecutors in the form of campaign contributions to go get Trump,” Mr. Trump said at the convention in Greenville. “They’ll never stop until November 2024.”

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He said New York prosecutors “right now are spending vast amounts of time and money, threatening families and trying to destroy the lives of innocent people, really good people, in their crusade to inflict pain on me. It’s prosecutorial misconduct. It’s a fishing expedition.”

Mr. Vance has convened a grand jury that is looking at the Trump Organization’s financial dealings, including tax and insurance records.

Referring to his status as the generally acknowledged leader of the Republican Party, Mr. Trump said the prosecutors are really targeting his supporters.

“They want to silence you, they want to silence your voice,” he said. “I am not the one trying to undermine American democracy. I’m the one that’s trying to save it. Our movement is far from over. In fact, it is just getting started.”

In his first political speech since last winter, Mr. Trump again teased a possible candidacy in 2024, calling the next presidential election “a year I look very much forward to.”

He also attacked President Biden as beholden to Democrats’ cancel culture and weak against communist China. Mr. Trump ridiculed the administration and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for belatedly acknowledging the possibility that the COVID-19 virus originated in a government laboratory in China.

“The media, the Democrats and the so-called experts are now finally admitting what I first said 13 months ago — the evidence demonstrates that the virus originated in a Chinese government lab,” Mr. Trump said. “Dr. Fauci … perhaps has never been more wrong than when he denied the virus and where it came from.”

The former president said the U.S. and the community of nations should demand “reparations” of at least $13 trillion from Beijing to compensate them for the damage inflicted by the virus.

“The time has come for America and the world to demand reparations and accountability from the Communist Party of China,” Mr. Trump said. “We should all declare with one unified voice that China must pay. The United States should immediately take steps to phase in a 100% tariff on all goods made in China. As a first step, all countries should collectively cancel any debt they have to China as a down payment on reparations.”

The former president devoted a portion of his speech to the 2020 election, calling it “by far the most corrupt election in the history of our country.”

“They used COVID, and they used mail-in ballots to steal the election,” he said of Democrats.

Referring to a Republican-ordered election audit in Arizona’s largest county, Mr. Trump said other states such as Pennsylvania and Georgia are eyeing similar audits. Rejecting the counsel of advisers who have urged him to move on from the election, Mr. Trump said, “Without going back, you’re not going to go forward.”

“I have nothing to do with the Arizona situation,” Mr. Trump said. “Maybe they’ll find nothing, but maybe not. That election will go down as the crime of the century. [Facebook CEO Mark] Zuckerberg broke the law, spending millions of dollars … [on] get out the vote efforts in highly Democratic areas.

“I don’t believe we’re a 50-50 nation, where these things are split evenly,” he said. “This is corrupt elections, and we can’t allow it to go on. We have to clean up those [voter] rolls, we have to do so many things.”

Many states are approving voter-integrity laws with requirements such as voter ID, and limits on mail-in balloting. Mr. Trump praised those moves and criticized a Democratic bill in Congress that Republicans say would set national standards for state elections.

“Joe Biden called these common sense reforms ‘un-American,’” Mr. Trump said. “But the thing that is really un-American is an election scam. We must have photo ID, universal signature verification, citizenship confirmation, chain-of-custody integrity control, updated voter rolls. … We cannot have drop boxes paid for by Facebook and Zuckerberg. We must eliminate the absurdity of mass mail-in voting.”

He slammed the Biden administration for lax border enforcement, rising crime, embracing critical race theory in schools, and rising inflation.

“How’s your gasoline price doing?” Mr. Trump asked the crowd. “All Joe Biden had to do was sit back and do nothing [on the economy]. It was taking off like a rocket ship. Instead, the economy is going to hell, and inflation is going to cause a catastrophe. Inflation is now at the highest level in 13 years.”

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