A potential criminal conviction will not stop former President Donald Trump from pursuing his 2024 White House bid, he said on Friday.
In an appearance on “The John Fredericks Show,” when asked whether a potential conviction would hinder his presidential campaign, Mr. Trump expressed his determination to run no matter the outcome.
Mr. Trump responded confidently, stating that there is no provision in the U.S. Constitution that would prevent him from running for president, even if he were to be convicted.
“If going forward, right, you get these indictments, there ends up—you got a jury in D.C., you get convicted and sentenced—does that stop your campaign for president if you’re sentenced?” Mr. Fredericks asked Mr. Trump in the interview.
“Not at all. There’s nothing in the Constitution to say that it could,” Mr. Trump replied. “Even the radical left crazies are saying, ‘No, that wouldn’t stop!’ And it wouldn’t stop me either.”
The interview took place shortly after a grand jury issued a superseding indictment accusing Mr. Trump, along with his longtime aide Walt Nauta and Mar-a-Lago staffer Carlos De Oliveira, of attempting to delete surveillance video footage at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in the summer of 2022.
Mr. Trump defended himself against the allegations. He doubted they would have had to release the footage, but they eventually complied with the investigators’ request.
“I don’t think we would have had to give it,” Mr. Trump said, regarding the footage, which prosecutors say shows Mar-a-Lago employees moving around boxes containing classified materials. “These were security tapes. I don’t think we would have wanted to fight that … I doubt we would have ever wanted to fight that. I doubt we would have had to give it. Regardless, we gave it.”
According to the superseding indictment, Mr. De Oliveira allegedly conveyed Mr. Trump’s desire to delete the server containing security footage and inquired about the retention period for such footage.
Mr. Trump vehemently criticized the new indictment, dismissing it as an attempt to intimidate people with falsehoods. He also spoke in support of Mr. Nauta and Mr. De Oliveira, describing them as dedicated employees who have been with him for a long time.
“I’m not sure they say—I’m not even sure what they’re saying,” Mr. Trump said, referring to the charges. “They’re trying to intimidate people, so they have to lie.”
“They want to destroy their lives,” added Mr. Trump, referring to the Justice Department, which he alleges has been weaponized against him as President Joe Biden’s chief 2024 rival.
Notably, Mr. Trump is currently facing various state and federal charges, including allegations of falsifying business records in New York and improper retention of classified records at his Mar-a-Lago residence. He has pleaded “not guilty” to both the New York and federal charges.
Additionally, Trump faces potential indictments related to his alleged role in the Jan. 6, 2021, protests at the U.S. Capitol and Georgia’s investigation into possible interference in the 2020 general election.
Mr. Trump maintains that each of the investigations is part of a partisan political “witch hunt.” He is the first former president to have been charged with a crime.
Despite these legal challenges, Trump remains the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis trailing behind in the polls.
Constitutional experts have clarified that having a criminal record is not a disqualification for the presidency. The U.S. Constitution stipulates that natural-born citizens who are at least 35 years old and have been residents of the United States for 14 years are eligible to run for president.
In a speech in Iowa on Friday, Mr. Trump rapidly outlined a list of reasons to vote for him during a time-limited speech, vowing to “fight for Iowa like no one else is going to fight.” He touted favorable poll numbers and his past performance as indicators that he is Republicans’ best chance to beat Mr. Biden.