Guilty verdict: Biden lays into Trump and says he poses a greater threat than in 2016

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) — President Joe Biden laid into his predecessor and likely opponent in November’s election, Donald Trump, for being convicted by a Manhattan jury on 34 felony counts related to hush money payments, saying Monday night that “this campaign has entered uncharted territory.”

Speaking at a fundraiser in Greenwich, Connecticut, Biden said the former president “wants you to believe it’s all rigged. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Echoing comments he made in reaction to the verdict at the White House last week, Biden said, “It’s reckless and dangerous and downright irresponsible for anyone to say that it’s rigged just because you don’t like the verdict.”

He added that the justice system was a core of American democracy and “we should never allow anyone to tear it down.”

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, was convicted on all counts related to a scheme during his 2016 presidential campaign to pay off porn actor Stormy Daniels, who said the two had sex. The former president slammed the verdict as politically motivated, and has blamed it on Biden — while seeking to make himself a political martyr in the eyes of supporters, suggesting that if this could happen to him, similar things might befall them.

As he did last week, Biden noted that Trump’s was a state case rather than a federal one, was heard by a jury chosen the same way all juries nationwide are chosen, and featured five weeks of evidence. He said the verdict was unanimous and Trump can appeal.

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But Biden went farther Monday, accusing Trump of equating the justice system and elections. He said the former president was “attacking both the judiciary and elections system as rigged.”

“Nothing could be more dangerous for the country, more dangerous for American democracy,” Biden said.

The president made no mention of the federal gun case against his son, Hunter, which began Monday in Delaware. Jason Miller, a senior adviser for the Trump campaign, seized on that, responding to Biden’s comments by asserting that the president “will do anything to distract from Hunter’s trial.”

Both Trump’s convictions and his son’s case aside, Biden added, “Here’s what is becoming clearer and clearer every day: The threat Trump poses in his second term would be greater than it was in his first.”

“This isn’t the same Trump that got elected in 2016,” Biden said. “He’s worse.”

Biden was attending a fundraiser hosted by Richard Plepler, the former CEO of HBO, and featuring Shonda Rhimes, who created such television smashes as “Bridgerton,” “Scandal and ”Grey’s Anatomy.” Biden went on to reference a television ad his campaign has produced featuring another of his celebrity backers, actor Robert De Niro, narrating and asserting that Trump “snapped” after losing to Biden in 2020.

“Something snapped in this guy — for real — when he lost in 2020,” Biden said, suggesting the former president was “unhinged” and was the driving force behind a mob of his supporters overrunning the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“He can’t accept the fact that he lost, it’s literally driving him crazy,” Biden said. He added that the former president “wants to terminate the Constitution” and “says if he loses there will be a bloodbath in America.”

“What kind of man is this?” Biden asked.

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Weissert reported from Washington.



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