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Trump calls his civil fraud verdict a ‘form of Navalny’

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Former President Donald Trump likened the $355 million judgment against him in a New York civil trial to the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny during a Fox News town hall on Tuesday evening.

“It is a form of Navalny. It is a form of communism or fascism,” he said, before going on to attack the judge in the case, Arthur Engoron, who he called a “nut job.”

Trump compared himself to Navalny, the outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who died in prison on Friday, on several occasions during the event. Earlier in the town hall, Trump praised Navalny as a “very brave guy” because he chose to return to Russia, where he had been jailed since 2021, though Trump said he “probably would have been a lot better off staying away and talking from outside.”

“People thought that could happen and it did happen,” Trump said, referring to Navalny’s death. “And it’s a horrible thing.”

Asked about outrage over Navalny’s death, Trump said, “It’s happening here.” He said his indictments are “all because of the fact that I’m in politics.”

Trump refrained from blaming Putin for the death, as President Joe Biden and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Trump’s sole remaining credible primary opponent, have done.

Trump’s remarks amounted to a doubling down on his controversial post on Truth Social on Monday that “the sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country.”

Haley, the former South Carolina governor, has been hammering Trump on Russia in the days following Navalny’s death. In an interview earlier on Fox on Tuesday, she called Navalny “a hero who challenged Putin, lost his life because of it.”

“This is on the heels of Trump saying that he would encourage Putin to invade any NATO countries that didn’t pull their weight,” she said. Rather than criticizing Putin, she said of Trump, “He’s gonna compare himself to Navalny, and the victim that he is in his court cases?”

Then, as Trump’s town hall aired, Haley took to X, formerly Twitter, saying the comparison is “ not America First. That’s the kind of garbage you hear from liberals.”

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