UPDATED with latest: CNN and MSNBC skipped Donald Trump’s brief remarks on the Atlanta airport tarmac Thursday following his arrest, citing his past falsehoods about the 2020 presidential election.
Fox News did carry the statement, his first since he was arrested, booked and released at Fulton County Jail. NewsNation also carried his remarks.
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CNN briefly went to the tarmac but then cut away. Anderson Cooper later said, “He continued to make dishonest claims about the election. We are not going to play it. It’s not worth hearing. You’ve heard them all before. Many of the claims just not true. He’s now back on the plane ready to take off.”
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow told viewers that “we are not going to take those remarks live but we will cover them for their newsworthiness. As we have said in the past, there is a cost to us as a news organization of knowingly broadcasting untrue things.”
In the remarks, Trump again made his unfounded claims that the election was stolen from him. “We did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong,” he said, adding that they had “every single right to challenge an election that we feel is dishonest.” On CNN, Kaitlan Collins noted that Trump’s efforts “obviously went much further” than merely challenging the results.
Trump departed Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport.
PREVIOUSLY: Broadcast networks joined cable news with special reports on Donald Trump’s surrender at an Atlanta-area jail, where surrendered and processed on Georgia criminal racketeering and other charges.
On the booking record from the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, Trump was listed as a white male, 6’3″ and 215 pounds — which quickly raised speculation that the figures were self-reported. He was listed as having blond or strawberry colored hair, and blue eyes. Trump’s mugshot was also taken, according to the sheriff. He was then released after processing, which took about 15 minutes.
Donald J. Trump
Height: 6’ 3”
Weight: 215 pic.twitter.com/sYNXyJu8QO
— Anna Bower (@AnnaBower) August 24, 2023
News helicopters hovered over the Fulton County Jail, capturing the scene of an extensive motorcade outside the complex, known for its overcrowding and poor conditions. Demonstrators also were gathered outside the jail gates, and there were no reports of unrest.
Cameras followed Trump’s motorcade, including black Suburbans and motorcycle patrols, as it trekked to Newark Liberty International Airport earlier on Thursday, and then after his plane landed in Atlanta.
Networks also reported on the news that Trump had secured a bail bondsman for his release. His bail has been set at $200,000.
An arraignment has not yet been set.
PREVIOUSLY: Former President Donald Trump arrived in Atlanta on Thursday evening to face arrest on felony racketeering and other charges related to efforts to reverse the 2020 election results in Georgia.
Trump’s surrender on criminal charges was his fourth in five months. In all, he is facing 91 felony counts, including New York state charges related to hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, federal charges stemming from his refusal to turn over government classified documents, and other federal charges tied to his efforts to remain in power despite his 2020 election loss.
The coverage of Trump’s arrest had a déjà vu feel to it, with news networks capturing the former president’s motorcade as it trekked to Newark airport, and later his plane landing in Atlanta. A pool camera was expected to be in the motorcade, adding to the spectacle.
“This is the fourth time we have covered the arrest and booking of Donald Trump. It doesn’t get less weird,” said MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow during their coverage.
But there may be a big difference from his past arrests: The sheriff in Fulton County, GA had indicated that there will be a booking photo of the former president, as there has been of the others charged in the Georgia case. Still, CNN reported that such a photo was still under discussion with Trump’s legal team.
Trump previewed his arrests in posts on Truth Social, while bashing Fulton County prosecutor Fani Willis and touting the viewership of his Tucker Carlson interview on Wednesday. He wrote, “I have to start getting ready to head down to Atlanta, Georgia, where Murder and other Violent Crimes have reached levels never seen before, to get ARRESTED by a Radical Left, Lowlife District Attorney, Fani Willis, for A PERFECT PHONE CALL, and having the audacity to challenge a RIGGED & STOLEN ELECTION. THE EVIDENCE IS IRREFUTABLE! ARREST TIME: 7:30 P.M.”
In a later note to supporters, Trump played up the moment at a “notorious violent jail in Fulton County, Georgia where I will be ARRESTED despite having committed NO CRIME.” He also wrote that a judge had ruled that “today’s spectacle may be televised for the entire world to see.”
Earlier in the day, news broke that Trump had replaced his attorney in the Georgia case with Steven Sadow.
Last week, a grand jury indicted Trump and 18 others, including his attorney Rudy Giuliani, former chief of staff Mark Meadows, attorney John Eastman, attorney Sidney Powell, attorney Kenneth Chesboro, attorney Jenna Ellis and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark. In recent days Giuliani and other defendants have surrendered, as Willis had set a deadline of noon on Friday.
The indictment adds to Trump’s legal woes as he wages another campaign for the presidency, setting up a situation in which the GOP front runner may be spending a significant chunk of the next year or longer in criminal proceedings. But so far the criminal charges have not damaged his standing in polls, while many of his GOP rivals have been reluctant to break with him. Asked at the GOP debate whether they would still support Trump if were the nominee and if he were convicted, six of the eight candidates on stage indictaed that they would.
Trump is being charged with an array of crimes including violations of Georgia’s racketeering law, along with conspiracy to commit false statements and writings, and conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree.
The indictment stated, “Defendant Donald John Trump lost the United States presidential election held on November 3, 2020. One of the states he lost was Georgia. Trump and the other Defendants charged in this Indictment refused to accept that Trump lost, and they knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump. That conspiracy contained a common plan and purpose to commit two or more acts of racketeering activity in Fulton County, Georgia, elsewhere in the State of Georgia, and in other states.”
Earlier in on Thursday, Willis requested a trial date of Oct. 23, in response to a request from one defendant, Kenneth Chesboro, for a speedy proceeding. Willis has said that she planned to try all 19 defendants at once, but the judge approved the date for Chesboro only. In his other cases, Trump’s legal team has argued for trial dates after the 2024 presidential election.
A $200,000 bond was set earlier in the week as a condition for Trump’s release. The bond order places a number of restrictions on Trump, including that he “shall make no direct or indirect threat of any nature against the community or to any property in the community.” The condition includes “posts on social media or reposts of posts made by another individual on social media.”
After his arrest and release, Trump plans to sit down for an interview with Newsmax’s Greg Kelly.
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