Convicted felon Trump rails against Biden and ‘fascist’ America at unhinged news conference

Donald Trump gave an unhinged speech at Trump Tower the morning after he became the first criminally convicted US president, railing against the “fascist state” and attacking his enemies, including the judge who oversaw his hush money trial and the witnesses who testified against him.

Speaking to an audience of reporters and supporters in the lobby of his eponymous Fifth Avenue skyscraper in New York City — the building where he formed the conspiracy that figured prominently in the evidence against him — Trump falsely claimed that President Joe Biden could put an end to the case that was brought against him by New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg in a New York court.

“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,” he said.

Trump also hit out at the judge who oversaw his trial and who will sentence him for his crimes on July 11, New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, calling him “highly conflicted” because the judge’s daughter works in Democratic politics, and falsely claiming Biden — not the judge — was responsible for imposing a gag order on him.

“I’m the leading person for president and I’m under a gag order, by a man that can’t put two sentences together, given by a court and they are in total conjunction with the White House and the DOJ just so you understand. This is all done by Biden and his people,” he said. Trump continued attacking Biden as “dumb” and “dishonest” while accusing him — without evidence — of being a “Manchurian candidate” and repeating multiple lies about the president’s family.

The gag order in question prohibits Trump from attacking witnesses who testified during his month-long trial, as well as prosecutors who brought the case (save for Bragg) or family members of prosecutors and court staff.

He has already been fined thousands of dollars for violating the gag order and was warned by Judge Merchan that he could be jailed for further violations.

But Trump appeared to flout those warnings when he attacked one witness — his ex-attorney, Michael Cohen. Trump stated that he was not allowed to mention his name even as he described him in detail, insisting that Cohen was “a sleazebag” who performed work for him as a “fully-accredited lawyer”.

He also complained that his only defense witness, conservative attorney Robert Costello, had been “literally crucified,” and spoke at length in defense of one person who was not a witness at his trial: longtime Trump Organization CFO Alan Weisselberg.

The ex-president falsely claimed Weisselberg, who is currently incarcerated at the Riker’s Island jail after he pleaded guilty to perjuring himself during a separate criminal trial involving Trump’s companies, was only behind bars because he “made a deal” under threat from prosecutors who wanted him to testify against his longtime boss.

“This man was told you're gonna get 15 years in jail. If you don't give up Trump, and he was told that you're gonna get 15 years in jail. And he made a plea deal because he didn't want to spend the rest of his life and he was told that viciously,” said Trump, who offered no evidence for his false claims but nonetheless insisted that Weisselberg’s plight shows that Americans are “living in a fascist state”.

He also insisted that he wanted to testify at his trial but said he did not because he would have been charged with perjury.

The disgraced former president’s appearance, which his campaign had billed as a press conference, included no questions from the assembled press, and it wrapped after more than 30 minutes of Trumpian grievance-airing, after which he exited the room to applause from the supporters his campaign had summoned.

The bizarre spectacle came less than 24 hours after a jury of 12 New Yorkers found him guilty on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in an effort to unlawfully influence the 2016 presidential election. He had been accused of covering up reimbursement payments to his then attorney Michael Cohen for $130,000 paid in hush money to Stormy Daniels, whose story about having sex with Trump threatened to derail his campaign against Clinton.

As he did outside the courtroom following the reading of the verdict, Trump repeatedly attached Judge Merchan, calling him “crooked” and “corrupt” throughout his remarks. There is no evidence that the judge’s conduct has been anything but lawful, and a New York judicial ethics panel advised him that he did not have to recuse himself from Trump’s case on account of either his daughter’s political work or a $35 donation he’d made to Mr Biden’s campaign four years earlier.

Trump closed his remarks by claiming that it was “dangerous” for him to attack the judge but said he does not mind attacking him because he remains “willing to do whatever I have to do to save our country and to save our Constitution.”

He vowed to appeal the jury’s verdict and reminded viewers of the November 5 election in which he will face off against Biden for the final time.

The Biden campaign weighed in on Trump’s remarks, with communications director Michael Tyler calling him “unhinged by his 2020 election loss and spiraling from his criminal convictions” and “consumed by his own thirst for revenge and retribution”.

“America just witnessed a confused, desperate, and defeated Donald Trump ramble about his own personal grievances and lie about the American justice system, leaving anyone watching with one obvious conclusion: This man cannot be president of the United States,” he said.