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Fact check: Trump repeats baseless claims about Biden orchestrating his trials

Former President Donald Trump repeated some familiar baseless claims in remarks on Monday after major developments in two of his New York legal cases. He spoke after a judge set an April 15 date for the beginning of his Manhattan criminal trial on charges of falsifying business records in relation to a hush money scheme, and, separately, an appeals court reduced the bond he must put up after being found liable for civil fraud.

Trump claimed that “this is all Biden-run things” and that “these are all Biden trials.” He also claimed that Matthew Colangelo, a former senior Justice Department official who now works for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, had been “put into” the district attorney’s office by President Joe Biden.

Facts First: There is no basis for Trump’s claims. First, there is no evidence that Biden has been involved in bringing or running any of the criminal or civil cases against Trump; the Manhattan prosecution is being led by Bragg and the civil fraud case by New York Attorney General Letitia James, both elected officials who do not report to the president or the federal Justice Department. Second, there is no evidence that Biden had anything to do with Colangelo’s decision to leave the federal Justice Department and join the district attorney’s office in 2022 as senior counsel to Bragg. Colangelo and Bragg knew each other before Bragg was elected Manhattan district attorney.

No evidence for Trump’s claims about Biden

James filed the lawsuit that led to Trump’s civil fraud trial in September 2022 – about two months before Trump launched his 2024 campaign. The lawsuit emerged from an investigation she began in 2019, roughly two years before Biden succeeded Trump as president. And there is no sign that Biden has had any role in bringing criminal charges against Trump in Manhattan or Fulton County, Georgia; those prosecutions have been led by elected local district attorneys.

Trump’s two federal indictments, meanwhile, were brought by a special counsel, Jack Smith. Smith was appointed in November 2022 by Attorney General Merrick Garland, a Biden appointee, but that is not proof that Biden was involved in the prosecution effort, much less that Biden personally ordered the indictments as Trump has previously claimed; Garland has said that he would resign if Biden ever asked him to take action against Trump but that he was sure that would never happen.

It’s worth noting that grand juries made up of ordinary citizens – in New York, Georgia, Florida and Washington, DC – approved the indictments in each of Trump’s four criminal cases.

Colangelo’s move

Trump has also provided no evidence for his repeated claims that Biden orchestrated Colangelo’s 2022 move from the Justice Department to the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Colangelo and Bragg previously worked at the same time in the office of New York’s attorney general, where Colangelo investigated Trump’s charity and financial practices and was involved in bringing various lawsuits against the Trump administration.

Colangelo served as acting associate attorney general in the first months of the Biden administration in early 2021 and then as principal deputy associate attorney general. As acting associate attorney general, he was third in command of the department – never the top official there, as Trump has previously claimed.

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