Biden calls Trump ‘reckless’ over attacks on court


US President Joe Biden (left) and former President Donald Trump  (AP Photo, File)

NEW YORK – President Joe Biden branded Donald Trump “reckless” Friday after the Republican lashed out in rambling, angry comments at verdicts in New York making him the first former US president to become a convicted felon.
The dramatic climax to Trump’s hush money trial came five months before the November 5 election, when the tycoon hopes to unseat Biden and make a shock return to power.
Speaking in New York, Trump, 77, confirmed he would appeal the verdict, which he branded a “scam.”
He billed the event as a press conference but did not take questions, instead launching into an extraordinary 35 minutes of insults, non-factual claims and non-sequiturs reflecting his seething anger.
Trump called Judge Juan Merchan, who presided over his trial, a “tyrant” and claimed that he “literally crucified” witnesses.
“This man who looks like an angel, but he is really a devil,” Trump said in the remarks, which were carried live by all the major US television networks.
Speaking at the White House, where he was announcing a major new peace proposal for Gaza, Biden said Trump’s attacks on the court were “dangerous.”
“It’s irresponsible for anyone to say this was rigged just because they don’t like the verdict,” Biden said.
“The justice system, should be respected. We should never allow anyone to tear it down.”
“The American principle that no one is above the law was reaffirmed,” Biden said.
Biden’s election campaign described Trump as “confused, desperate and defeated.”

Sentencing on July 11

On Thursday, a jury found Trump guilty on all 34 charges of falsifying business records to hide a hush money payment to silence porn star Stormy Daniels.
Prosecutors successfully laid out a case that Trump was afraid that Daniels would fatally harm his 2016 presidential campaign by going public with an alleged sexual encounter, prompting him to pay her — then illegally hide the transaction.
Trump, speaking in his signature Manhattan Trump Tower, repeated previous assertions that he had done nothing wrong.
But he frequently veered into attacks on Biden, as well as against illegal immigrants, who he said were speaking “languages unknown” and include many terrorists, as well as “a lot of people” released from prisons.
“They’re coming in from all over the world into our country, and we have a president and a group of fascists that don’t want to do anything about it, because they could right now. Today, he could stop it. But he’s not. They’re destroying our country,” Trump said.
Trump faces a potential prison sentence, but is much more likely to receive probation.
Merchan set sentencing for July 11 — four days before the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, where Trump is due to receive the party’s formal nomination.

From court to campaign

Although the verdict does not prevent Trump from continuing his election bid, it does cast the already tense contest into even more unpredictable waters.
Trump’s campaign immediately made a fund-raising pitch after the verdict featuring a picture of the 77-year-old and the claim: “I am a political prisoner!”
According to the campaign, $34.8 million in donations flooded in, crashing the website.
“From just minutes after the sham trial verdict was announced, our digital fundraising system was overwhelmed,” the campaign said.
In addition to the New York case, Trump faces three far more serious criminal indictments over his attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Biden and hoarding of top-secret documents at his home in Florida.
Those cases, however, are not likely to go to trial before the November election.
Biden has so far been cautious about making Trump’s multiple legal difficulties an election issue. As president, he is keen to avoid giving ammunition to Republicans who claim he is meddling in the justice system.
Meanwhile, there was criticism from a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, whose rule has seen dozens of political opponents, journalists and human rights campaigners murdered. He claimed that the jury trial was a “de-facto elimination of political rivals.”
“I would say that’s a classic case of projection,” countered US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, while attending a NATO meeting in Prague.
In Italy, the far-right deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, said Trump was the “victim of judicial harassment.”



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