Former President Donald Trump arrived in Miami on Monday to face federal criminal charges, and according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll, the overwhelming majority of his fellow Republicans believe the case is politically motivated.
Trump, the leading candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election, is scheduled to make his initial court appearance in the case on Tuesday at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) in a Miami federal courthouse.
Trump has asserted his innocence and pledged to continue his campaign to regain the presidency in the November 2024 election despite being accused of illegally retaining US national security documents and lying to officials attempting to recover them.
Trump, who turns 77 on Wednesday, landed in Miami in a private aircraft bearing his name at 2:54 p.m. (1854 GMT).
Supporters gathered outside the adjacent golf club he owns, where he was to spend the night.
Before departing from New Jersey, he wrote on his Truth Social media platform, "I HOPE THE ENTIRE COUNTRY IS WATCHING WHAT THE RADICAL LEFT IS DOING TO AMERICA."
Trump's legal troubles have not affected his popularity with Republican voters.
According to a poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos and released on Monday, 81% of Republicans believed the allegations were politically motivated. The survey also revealed that Trump maintains a significant lead over his competitors for the party's presidential nomination.
43% of self-identified Republicans chose Trump as their preferred candidate, compared to 22% who chose Trump's closest rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Trump led DeSantis 49% to 19% in early May, before DeSantis officially entered the race.
Trump accuses Democratic President Joe Biden of orchestrating the federal prosecution to damage his campaign. Biden has maintained his distance and refuses to comment on the case.
During a CNN town hall on Monday evening, Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey and an adviser to Trump's 2016 election campaign, was asked if he believed the Biden Administration was weaponizing the Department of Justice against Trump.
Christie responded, "I disagree." This evidence appears quite damning.
Trump addressed an enthusiastic audience in Georgia over the weekend, and according to his campaign, he will make a statement upon his return to New Jersey on Tuesday evening.
With memories of the assault on the US Capitol by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021, still fresh, officials have raised security concerns.
Manny Morales, the director of police in Miami, stated that the city was preparing for a crowd of up to 50,000 people and would close downtown roads if necessary.
According to a grand jury indictment released last week, Special Counsel Jack Smith accuses Trump of taking thousands of documents containing some of the nation's most sensitive national-security secrets when he left the White House in January 2021 and storing them haphazardly at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
As special counsel, Smith is granted greater independence than other Justice Department prosecutors to minimize the influence of political factors. He also investigates Trump's efforts to reverse his loss to Biden in 2020.
Photos in the indictment depict boxes of documents stacked on a ballroom stage, in a lavatory, and on the floor of a storage room.
The indictment alleges that Trump lied to officials who attempted to retrieve them.
Trump is the first former or current president to face criminal charges, but according to legal authorities, this does not prevent him from running for president or assuming office if he is found guilty.
Experts on the law, including Trump's former attorney general William Barr, deem the case solid. The allegations include violations of the Espionage Act, which criminalizes the unauthorized possession of defense information, and conspiracy to obstruct justice, which carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence.
Any federal prosecution in Florida may not occur until after the presidential election in November 2024. Trump is also scheduled to stand trial in March 2024 in a case involving a hush-money payment to a pornstar in a New York state court.