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Trump heads to battleground Pennsylvania to stump for GOP candidates

It’s the former president’s first rally since the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago.

September 3, 2022, 12:58 PM

Former President Donald Trump is campaigning for Republicans in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on Saturday in what will be his first rally since federal agents searched his Florida home last month.

Trump will speak at the Mohegan Sun Arena in support of Doug Mastriano, who is running for governor against Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Schapiro, and Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is taking on Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in the U.S. Senate race.

Trump’s appearance in Pennsylvania comes just days after President Joe Biden’s back-to-back visits in the battleground state, during which he condemned Trump and his fellow “MAGA Republicans” as a dominant force in today’s GOP and a threat to American democracy.

“Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal,” Biden said in a prime-time speech from Independence Hall in Philadelphia on Thursday. “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”

Biden’s ramped up rhetoric comes as he seeks to recast the midterm elections as a choice between those who want to save the “soul of the nation” or those who he says are a danger to democracy.

Biden will be back in Pennsylvania again on Sunday, spending part of his Labor Day weekend in Pittsburgh.

While Republicans have generally been favored to win back control of both chambers of Congress this midterm cycle, recent legislative victories for Democrats and some positive economic news has bolstered Democrats’ chances to keep their majorities.

Former President Donald Trump arrives at a rally, Aug. 5, 2022, in Waukesha, Wis.

Morry Gash/AP, FILE

Amid these high stakes, Trump’s rally also comes as fallout continues from the Aug. 8 FBI search at his Mar-a-Lago estate, where agents recovered classified documents as part of an investigation into his handling of presidential records after leaving office.

Lawyers for the Justice Department and for Trump faced off in court Thursday over whether there should be a judge-ordered independent review of the Mar-a-Lago documents by a special master. The judge, Aileen Cannon, has yet to make a ruling on the matter.

On Friday, Judge Cannon unsealed a detailed inventory showing what the FBI seized during the search. The list states some documents bearing classification markings ranging from confidential to top secret were found intermingled with newspaper clippings, photographs and other documents.

The inventory also revealed the government seized dozens of folders that were empty but either had “CLASSIFIED” banners on them or were labeled “Return to Staff Secretary/Military Aide.”

Trump has denied wrongdoing as he publicly fights back against the search.