In a rare tough interview on Fox News, Trump defended himself against 37 federal charges of mishandling classified secrets, saying he was too “busy” to sort the documents. Trump, who wants to return to the White House next year, was charged last week in Miami after the FBI raided his Florida home in August. The Justice Department says he broke the Espionage Act and other laws by taking classified documents when he left office in January 2021 and not giving them to the National Archives. He told Fox News host Bret Baier on Monday that his personal stuff got mixed up with government papers as he hurriedly left the White House.

Trump said he left in a hurry and people packed up his stuff, which included clothing and personal items. He said he had the right to keep the boxes. He told Baier he did not want to give the documents to officials until he sorted out his personal things. He said: “I was very busy as you’ve sort of seen.” The Justice Department said in its indictment that Trump, who was out of office, showed a “secret” and “highly confidential” document to an author, a publisher and two staff members who had no security clearance, in a meeting in July 2021.

Trump said he could have declassified the secret information as president, but not now. He said he did not show a document, but copies of newspaper articles and magazines. He said: “That was not a document.” He said it was papers and other things about Iran and other things. Baier asked him about the Republicans who worked for him and are now running against him or criticising him, like Bill Barr who did not back his election fraud claims as attorney general.

You lost the 2020 election,” when Trump repeated his baseless claims, and said even judges he appointed rejected his legal challenges. Fox News, which supported Trump during his presidency, settled a lawsuit for US$787.5 million in April. Voting technology company Dominion sued the news giant for spreading Trump’s false election fraud claims while knowing they were false.

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