Former US President Donald Trump has accused the FBI and the Justice Department of “a set-up” and “weaponisation”, saying they planted files at his home to make it look like he’d broken the law by taking away official documents after his 2020 defeat. He was speaking about the raid last month on his resort-cum-home in Florida.
“It was a terrible thing. And frankly, that’s had a big impact on the population,” he said in an exclusive interview with NDTV at his golf club in New Jersey. “I think it’s boomeranged, and very negatively, on them,” the Republican added, referring to President Joe Biden and his Democratic Party.
Prepping for another run for President in 2024, Mr Trump said he wasn’t in Florida when the FBI raid took place. “Well, I was in a different location… and I was called. And when I heard about it, I said ‘that’s strange’. And it was very strange to the public also, to the American people, because they were not happy with it.”
While the FBI and Justice Department have refused to discuss the investigation, The Washington Post has reported that “classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought” in the search. Donald Trump claims the action is politically motivated and “a hoax”.
When NDTV asked him about photos — released by the Justice Department — showing files marked ‘Top Secret’ scattered on the floor of his home during the raid, he said, “That they put there. It’s a set-up. It’s weaponisation. And it’s inappropriate to do. It’s a bad thing for our country.”
He referred to investigations into Russia’s alleged interference in the US presidential polls in his favour: “This is like ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’, and the Mueller Report, and all of the hoaxes that we’ve had to go through… It’s become standard American politics and it’s a disgrace.” Probes so far — while concluding that Russia used misinformation drives on social media to help the 2016 Trump campaign — have not found if Mr Trump was directly involved.
Seated next to him, his longtime Indian-American donor and Republican Party backer, Shalabh Kumar, also addressed the “political vendetta” question. “There is very easy way to actually let the Hindu Americans and India know, because there’s a big parallel,” he said, “From 2002 to 2014, everybody wanted to put Narendra Modi in jail. He was being vilified… Now he’s the most popular man. The same thing is happening for six years.”
Six years here refer to Donald Trump’s four-year term as President, and the two years since he lost to Democratic Party’s Joe Biden.
At an event in the US in 2019, Narendra Modi with Donald Trump. (File Photo)
Mr Trump, to another question, said PM Modi is “doing a terrific job” and that India “has never had a better friend than me”, while giving the broadest hint yet that he may be running for office again in 2024.
“Everyone wants me to run, I am leading in the polls…I’ll make a decision in the very near future, I suspect,” he told NDTV.