Trump says he'll appeal guilty verdict: "If they can do this to me, they can do this to anyone."

Donald Trump launched into attacks on the judge in his criminal trial and continued to undermine New York’s criminal justice system Friday as he tried to repackage his conviction on 34 felony charges as fuel, not an impediment, to his latest White House bid.

Trump spoke to reporters at his namesake tower in Manhattan on Friday, his return to campaigning a day after he was convicted of trying to illegally influence the 2016 election by falsifying business records to hide a hush money payment to a porn actor who claimed they had sex.

Trump, as defiant as ever, argued the verdict was illegitimate and driven by politics and sought to downplay the allegations underlying the case.

"It’s not hush money. It’s a nondisclosure agreement, totally legal, totally common," he said.

In a message aimed to galvanize his supporters, he declared: "If they can do this to me, they can do this to anyone."

No former president or presumptive party nominee has ever faced a felony conviction or the prospect of prison time, and Trump is expected to keep his legal troubles central to his campaign. He has long argued without evidence that the four indictments against him were orchestrated by Democratic President Joe Biden to try to keep him out of the White House. The hush money case was filed by local prosecutors in Manhattan who do not work for the Justice Department or any White House office.

Trump’s conviction and its impact on the 2024 election, explained

Donald Trump’s conviction in his New York hush money trial is a stunning development in an already unorthodox presidential election with profound implications for the justice system and perhaps U.S. democracy itself.

But in a deeply divided America, it’s unclear whether Trump’s status as someone with a felony conviction will have any impact at all on the 2024 election.

Donald Trump’s conviction on 34 felony counts marked the end of the former president’s historic hush money trial.

Now comes the sentencing and the prospect of a prison sentence. A lengthy appellate process. And all the while, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee still has to deal with three more criminal cases and a campaign that could see him return to the White House.

Several Republican lawmakers reacted with fury to Trump’s felony conviction on Thursday, and rushed to Trump’s defense, questioning the legitimacy of the trial and how it was conducted:

  • House Speaker Mike Johnson: Johnson said it was a "shameful day in American history" and the charges were "purely political."
  • Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance: Vance said the verdict was a "disgrace to the judicial system."
  • South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham: Graham, who has been one of Trump’s most frequent allies, said, "This verdict says more about the system than the allegations."
  • Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell: McConnell refrained from attacking the judge or jury, saying the charges "never should have been brought in the first place."

Many GOP lawmakers, including Johnson, visited the courthouse in New York to support Trump during his criminal trial.