Fact check: Trump repeats baseless claims that Biden orchestrated the lawsuits against him
Fact check: Trump repeats baseless claims that Biden orchestrated the lawsuits against him

Charlie Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

Former US President Donald Trump arrives at 40 Wall Street after his court hearing to set his trial date for allegedly concealing secret cash payments in New York on March 25, 2024.


Former President Donald Trump repeated some familiar baseless claims in comments Monday following major developments in two of his lawsuits in New York. He spoke after a judge set an April 15 date for the start of his criminal trial in Manhattan on charges of falsifying business records in connection with a hush money scheme, and a separate appeals court reduced the bond he must post after he was found guilty of liable for civil fraud.

Trump said that “these are all things run by Biden” and that “these are all trials against Biden.” He also alleged that Matthew Colangelo, a former high-ranking Justice Department official who now works for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, was “housed” in the district attorney’s office by President Joe Biden.

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

James filed the suit that led to Trump’s civil fraud trial in September 2022 — about two months before Trump launched his 2024 campaign. The suit stems from an investigation she began in 2019, roughly two years before Biden to succeed Trump as president. And there is no indication that Biden had any role in bringing criminal charges against Trump in Manhattan or Fulton County, Georgia; these prosecutions are led by elected local district attorneys.

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

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

Trump also has not provided evidence for his repeated claims that Biden orchestrated Colangelo’s 2022 transfer from the Justice Department to the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Colangelo and Bragg previously worked at the same time in the New York attorney general’s office, where Colangelo investigated Trump’s charitable and financial practices and was involved in bringing various lawsuits against the Trump administration.

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

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