In Denouncing Charges, Trump Repeats Familiar Grievances

WASHINGTON — Hours after pleading not guilty to 34 counts of filing false business records in a courtroom in Lower Manhattan, former President Donald J. Trump maintained his innocence on Tuesday before a crowd of supporters at Mar-a-Lago, his estate and private club in Florida.

He repeated a host of familiar and inaccurate attacks on his opponents. Here’s a fact-check of his remarks.

What WAS Said

“From the beginning, the Democrats spied on my campaign, remember that? They attacked me with an onslaught of fraudulent investigations. Russia, Russia, Russia, Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine impeachment hoax No. 1, impeachment hoax No. 2, the illegal and unconstitutional raid on Mar-a-Lago right here.”

This is misleading. This list covers five years’ worth of grievances that Mr. Trump long harbored and largely misconstrues the various investigations into his campaign, administration and conduct.

Mr. Trump has complained for years that the counterintelligence investigation the F.B.I. opened in July 2016 about Russia’s interference in the presidential election was an attack on his campaign.

He was first impeached in 2019 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for soliciting election assistance from Ukraine at the same time he was withholding a White House meeting and nearly $400 million in vital military assistance for the country.

He was impeached again in 2021, one week before he left office, for inciting an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, after he lost the 2020 presidential election.

The F.B.I. searched Mar-a-Lago in August for classified documents that Mr. Trump was thought to have improperly removed from the White House. The search was not illegal and occurred after the Justice Department obtained a warrant.

What WAS Said

”And now this massive election interference at a scale never seen before in our country, beginning with the radical left George Soros-backed prosecutor Alvin Bragg of New York.”

This needs context. The links between Alvin L. Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney who has brought the case against Mr. Trump, and George Soros, the financier and Democratic megadonor, are real but overstated. (Attacks that portray Mr. Soros as a “globalist” mastermind often veer into antisemitic tropes.)

In reality, Mr. Soros donated to a liberal group that endorses progressive prosecutors and supports efforts to overhaul the criminal justice system — in line with causes that he has publicly supported for years. That group used a significant portion of the money, but not all of it, to support Mr. Bragg in his 2021 campaign.

A spokesman for Mr. Soros said that the two men had never met and that Mr. Soros had not given money directly to Mr. Bragg’s campaign.

What WAS Said

“That has absolutely nothing to do with openly taking boxes of documents and mostly clothing and other things to my home, which President Obama has done.”

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False. Mr. Trump has repeatedly and wrongly compared his handling of classified documents to that of his predecessor.

After his presidency, Mr. Trump took a trove of classified documents — including 18 marked as top secret — to Mar-a-Lago.

In contrast, the National Archives and Records Administration, which preserves and maintains records after a president leaves office, has said in a statement that former President Barack Obama turned over his documents, classified and unclassified, as required by law.

The agency has also said it is not aware of any missing boxes of presidential records from the Obama administration.

What WAS Said

“In fact, they seem to have forgotten about his documents entirely, so many, thousands and thousands. It’s OK with him. They like to say that I’m obstructing, which I’m not, because I was working with NARA very nicely until the raid on my home. Biden is obstructing by making it impossible to get the 1,850 boxes.”

False. Mr. Trump is again drawing an inaccurate comparison between his and President Biden’s improper handling of classified documents.

The Justice Department appointed a special counsel to investigate Mr. Biden’s handling of documents in January, two months after the initial discovery of classified material at an office he had used at a Washington think tank. So clearly the matter was not “forgotten,” nor was Mr. Biden given an “OK.”

Officials at the National Archives and Records Administration might also disagree with Mr. Trump’s assertion that he was cooperating “very nicely” with archivists responsible for storing and accounting for his presidential records. NARA asked Mr. Trump to return documents in spring 2021 once it had discovered files were missing and received them only after months of asking.

As for Mr. Biden’s 1,850 boxes, that was referring to a collection of documents he had donated to the University of Delaware in 2012 from his tenure as a senator representing the state from 1973 to 2009. Unlike presidential documents, which must be released to NARA once a president leaves office, documents from members of Congress are not covered by the Presidential Records Act. It is not uncommon for senators and representatives to give such items to research or historical facilities.

The university agreed to not give the public access to Mr. Biden’s documents from his time as senator until two years after he retired from public life. But the F.B.I. did search the collection in February as part of the special counsel investigation and in cooperation with Mr. Biden’s legal team. The New York Times reported at the time that the material was still being analyzed but did not appear to contain any classified documents.

What WAS Said

“I have a Trump-hating judge with a Trump-hating wife and family whose daughter worked for Kamala Harris.”

This needs context. Loren Merchan, the daughter of the judge presiding over the case, is the president and a partner at a digital campaign strategy agency that has done work for many prominent Democrats, including the 2020 campaigns of Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Kamala Harris. Earlier on Tuesday, Mr. Trump argued that Justice Juan M. Merchan should recuse himself because of her work, but experts in judicial ethics agreed that this was not adequate grounds for recusal.

Under New York State rules on judicial conduct, a judge should disqualify himself or herself from a case if a relative within the sixth degree had “an interest that would be substantially affected by the proceeding.” Ms. Merchan’s work on Democratic campaigns does not give her enough of an interest that would qualify, experts said.

“Political interests are widely shared and thus diffused,” said Arthur D. Hellman, a professor emeritus of law at the University of Pittsburgh. “If this kind of work by a relative within the sixth degree were enough to require recusal, it would be hard to find any judge who could hear the case.”

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