Trump Tries for Sympathy During Fox Town Hall, Says Probe ‘Bothers Me’ – Rolling Stone

Trump Hannity Interview

Hours after announcing that the Justice Department officially informed him that he was the subject of yet another criminal probe, former President Donald Trump joined Fox News’ Sean Hannity for a town hall recorded in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

On Tuesday, Trump revealed via Truth Social that the DOJ had served him a target letter, notifying him that he was the subject of a criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The letter could be a sign that Special Counsel Jack  Smith may be nearing a second indictment against the former president. As previously reported by Rolling Stone, the letter mentioned three federal statutes: Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the United States; deprivation of rights under color of law; and tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant. 

The interview was a soft-ball friend-fest, echoing Hannity’s June promise to listeners of his radio show not to challenge or fact-check Trump before his last town hall with the Fox host. The pair barely touched on the target letter, and Hannity opened the event by asking the former president what it is about him that makes him seem so unbothered by all of the indictments and investigations. 

“It bothers me,” Trump responded, “It bothers me for everybody – this incredible sold-out audience. It bothers you. I got the letter on Sunday night, think about it, I don’t think they ever sent a letter on Sunday night. And they are in a rush because they want to interfere. Interference with the election, It’s election interference,” he added. 

Trump rambled about his self-ascribed achievements during his presidency, meandering through a stream of consciousness about the border, the Clintons, and foreign policy before landing on an accusation that the DOJ had been “totally weaponized.”  

The former president also attacked Smith, who’s already charged him with 37 criminal counts related to his unauthorized retention of classified documents. “This guy is a deranged prosecutor who has had tremendous failures all over the place. He’s a nasty, horrible human being,” Trump said, repeating his dubious claim that his hoarding of state secrets was protected by the Presidential Records Act. 

As the 2024 Republican primaries gain steam, Trump remains the clear frontrunner in the race for the nomination. His last bid for office was marked by a slew of election fraud conspiracy theories that he continues to spout — and the town hall was no exception. Hannity asked the former president if he would endorse and promote the use of early and mail-in voting by Republicans, in order to help curb the advantage they typically grant to Democrats. Trump danced around the question, instead falling back to false claims that “‘they’ also create phony ballots. That’s a real problem. That’s my opinion. A lot of phony ballots.”

At one point the former president told the audience that he had “such respect for the office of the president,” until he got indicted. “Why isn’t he under impeachment,” Trump asked about Biden, echoing unproven Republican assertions that the current president is receiving “tens of millions of dollars” from foreign countries.


Trump continued to regurgitate his standard hits — Mexico paid for the border wall, Chinese President Xi Jinping is “brilliant,” “I get along very well with Putin.” 

The interview then veered into everything except discussions of the investigation, featuring Trump’s trademark brand of tangential asides. As the crowd applauded, boo-ed, and chanted “lock her up” with almost scripted precision, the event took the tone of a Trump rally with questions sprinkled on top. 

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