Trump says he'll still run if convicted and sentenced, responds to security footage allegations

His remarks come a day after a grand jury returned new charges against him.

July 28, 2023, 2:50 PM

Former President Donald Trump said Friday that he'll continue to run for president even if convicted and sentenced on criminal charges brought by the special counsel investigating his handling of classified documents after leaving office.

Trump made the remarks during a call-in radio interview on the "John Fredericks Show," a day after a grand jury returned a superseding indictment that, among other charges, alleges that Trump, longtime aide Walt Nauta, and Mar-a-Lago staffer Carlos De Oliveira attempted to delete surveillance video footage at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in the summer of 2022.

"If going forward, right, you get these indictments, there ends up -- you got a jury in D.C., you get convicted and sentenced -- does that stop your campaign for president if you're sentenced?" host John Fredericks asked Trump in the interview.

"Not at all," Trump replied. "There's nothing in the Constitution to say that it could, and not at all."

Constitutional experts agree that the absence of a criminal record is not a qualification for the presidency. The Constitution says only that natural born citizens who are at least 35 years old and have been a resident of the U.S. for 14 years can run for president.

Trump, in the interview, also defended himself against prosecutors' allegations regarding attempts to delete security footage after investigators had subpoenaed it -- prior to investigators obtaining surveillance footage in July of 2022.

"I don't think we would have had to give it," Trump said regarding the footage, which prosecutors say shows Mar-a-Lago employees moving around boxes containing classified materials. "These were security tapes. I don't think we would have wanted to fight that ... I doubt we would have ever wanted to fight that. I doubt we would have had to give it. Regardless, we gave it."

PHOTO: FILE - Former President and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks at the Turning Point Action USA conference in West Palm Beach, Fla., July 15, 2023.
Former President and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks at the Turning Point Action USA conference in West Palm Beach, Fla., July 15, 2023.
Giorgio Viera/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

According to the superseding indictment, De Oliveira, a current Trump Organization employee who sources tell ABC News is the head of maintenance at Mar-a-Lago, allegedly told another employee that "the boss" wanted the server containing security footage deleted, and asked how long it kept footage.

"What are we going to do?" De Oliveira allegedly said.

Trump, in Friday's radio interview, blasted the new indictment.

"I'm not sure they say -- I'm not even sure what they're saying," Trump said of the charges. "They're trying to intimidate people, so they have to lie."

"But these are two wonderful employees, with me for a long time and they're great people," Trump said of Nauta and De Oliveira. "They want to destroy their lives."

The superseding indictment comes after Trump pleaded not guilty in June to 37 criminal counts related to his handling of classified materials, after prosecutors said he repeatedly refused to return hundreds of documents containing classified information ranging from U.S. nuclear secrets to the nation's defense capabilities.

Nauta, who was charged alongside him, pleaded not guilty earlier this month to six counts including conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements.

Trump has denied all charges and denounced the probe as a political witch hunt.

De Oliveira is due in court on Monday.

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