By Kristen Holmes, Jeff Simon and Jack Forrest, CNN
(CNN) — A day after Donald Trump’s posts on Truth Social were cited by prosecutors in a filing that requested strict rules on how the former president could use evidence, Trump ranted about his mounting legal issues while speaking to a large crowd in Windham, New Hampshire.
Trump, during the over hour-long speech, attacked special counsel Jack Smith and called the criminal investigation into interference in the 2020 election a “ridiculous case” that is targeting his First Amendment rights.
“I will talk about it,” Trump said to his supporters, referring to the 2020 election. “They’re not taking away my First Amendment rights.”
Smith’s team says Trump and his lawyers want to try his case in the press and are asking the judge to put provisions in place so Trump cannot share publicly some of the evidence the Justice Department gathered that he will learn before trial, according to a filing. They pointed to Trump’s public statements that they say could have a “harmful chilling effect on witnesses or adversely affect the fair administration of justice in this case.”
Trump’s railing on the proposed protective order largely followed the sentiment outlined in a motion filed by his lawyers on Monday that leaned heavily into claims that the Smith’s team’s proposal is a politically motivated campaign to restrict his free speech.
“There was never a second of any day that I didn’t believe that it was a rigged election,” Trump said to allegations that he knew that he did not win the 2020 election. “It was a rigged election, and it was a stolen disgusting election. And this country should be ashamed. And they go after the people that want to prove that it was rigged and stolen.”
“They rigged the election in 2020 and we’re not going to allow them to rig the election in 2024,” Trump said. There is no evidence of widespread election fraud that would have affected the outcome of the 2020 election.
Trump continued to paint the charges against him as election interference, claiming that President Joe Biden “ordered” his arrest, and he suggested he wouldn’t be able to campaign because of the charges.
“I won’t be able to go to Iowa today. I won’t be able to go to New Hampshire today because I’m sitting in a courtroom on bullsh*t,” Trump said to a cheering crowd, later saying he was “being indicted for [his supporters].”
Trump also attacked Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat who is Black, as “racist,” while defending his actions in Georgia around the 2020 election and noting that he was likely to get indicted there. Trump has previously targeted Willis, who has faced racists threats since she initiated her investigation.
Recent subpoenas in the case provide the clearest indication yet Willis intends to seek indictments in her long-running criminal probe into efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia.
Willis told CNN affiliate WXIA at an event late last month that “the work is accomplished,” adding later, “We’ve been working for two and half years. We’re ready to go.”
Sources expect Willis’ team to spend roughly two days presenting its case before one of the two grand juries meeting regularly in Fulton County with the power to issue indictments. Willis has said she will make her charging announcements before September 1.
Trump became increasingly sweaty during the lengthy speech in an unventilated and unairconditioned gymnasium, noting early that he had “knocked over a fan on purpose” because it was blowing his hair all over.
“I’m sweating like a dog up here,” he said at one point.
In a speech that started off focused on veterans, Trump announced the launch of a new coalition, “Veterans for Trump,” touted his accomplishments supporting veterans while in office, slammed Biden and the withdrawal from Afghanistan and promised to totally eradicate veterans’ homelessness in the United States if elected to office again.
The former president also polled the audience on whether he should participate in the Republican primary debates, the first of which is scheduled for August 23 in Milwaukee. The crowd booed and thumb downed the proposition as Trump ticked through why he wouldn’t debate and proposed that “maybe we’ll do something else.”
This story has been updated with additional information.
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CNN’s Tierney Sneed Jason Morris, Sara Murray and Jack Forrest contributed to this report.