Federally indicted Donald Trump, newly charged with multiple counts over his mishandling of classified documents, is using his legal woes to plead for money – again.
The sweeping 37-count felony indictment paints a damaging portrait of Trump’s treatment of sensitive documents, accusing him of defying justice department demands to return papers he had taken to his Florida home of Mar-a-Lago, and even storing some of them in a shower.
But the indictment’s existence did not stop the Trump campaign pleading for money on the back of it.
In a series of messages on Thursday night and Friday morning, Trump appealed to his supporters by declaring the indictment an attack by “the Deep State” on the “forgotten, hardworking men and women of this country”, and asking them to donate to his campaign.
“Please make a contribution to peacefully DEFEND our movement from the never-ending witch hunts – and together, even during these darkest of times, we will prove that our movement is truly UNBREAKABLE,” said in one email Trump sent to supporters on Friday morning.
The barrage of requests mirrors Trump’s fundraising strategy following his first indictment at the end of March, when a Manhattan court charged the former US president with falsifying business records over hush money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in 2016.
Trump, who is set to appear in a federal court in Miami on Tuesday, has maintained he is an “innocent man” though he could face prison if convicted. While the indictment is currently sealed, the seven counts against Trump include violating the Espionage Act and conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to multiple reports.
“Joe Biden’s Department of Justice has INDICTED me even though I did NOTHING wrong,” said another Friday morning email.
The email ended with links asking supporters for donations of varying amounts, from $25 to $250, pooled by the Trump Save America Joint Fundraising Committee, the main fundraising arm of the ex-president’s 2024 campaign.
Those links directed supporters to an online donation portal, which displays another message with more pleas for donations.
“President Trump will NEVER SURRENDER our mission to save America. And he knows you won’t either!” reads part of the message online.
It adds: “(But if you’re struggling – like far too many Americans are right now – please ignore the rest of this message, don’t contribute, and take care of your family and yourself.)”
Yet another request immediately followed: “Please make a contribution to SAVE OUR COUNTRY – for 1,500% impact.”
The Trump campaign raised $12m in the week following his first indictment, according to The New York Times. About a quarter of those who donated in the two weeks following it had never contributed to his campaign before, according to Politico.
Special prosecutor Jack Smith, who led the documents investigation, is also heading a federal investigation into Trump’s role in the January 6 US Capitol attack.
Trump is also facing charges in Georgia where prosecutors say they expect to reach a decision on the former president and his allies’ interference with the 2020 election results in the state.
In a four-minute video emailed to supporters and posted to Truth Social, Trump repeatedly called the documents investigation a “boxes hoax” and “election interference” as he seeks the 2024 Republican nomination.
Trump is the first former American president to be charged with a federal crime by the government he once oversaw.
“I AM AN INNOCENT MAN. THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IS TOTALLY CORRUPT. THIS IS ELECTION INTERFERENCE & A CONTINUATION OF THE GREATEST WITCH HUNT OF ALL TIME,” Trump said in the post Thursday night.
Trump also appears to be using the indictment to criticize the press.
“During an unprecedented moment like this, most politicians would give their first spoken remarks to the Fake News Media. But not me. My loyalty lies with my fiercest defenders like YOU,” Trump wrote supporters.
“Our country is going to hell, and they come after Donald Trump, weaponizing the justice department, weaponizing the FBI.”
Calling other investigations against him, including two impeachments, as hoaxes.
“I’m an innocent man. I did nothing wrong.”
Mary Yang in Washington
Published: 2023-06-10 10:00:20