Trump warns trouble brewing with strengthened Russia-China ties as he’s stuck in ‘icebox’ courtroom

Former President Donald Trump warned that as he sits in the “icebox” Manhattan courtroom, China and Russia are strengthening their relationship, which he says poses danger to the U.S. and world. 

“President Xi of China, I know him well. President Putin of Russia, I know him well. They’re right now together working on plans, where they combine — where they get together and do damage. Because that’s ultimately what they’re thinking about: doing damage,” Trump said Thursday outside of the Manhattan courtroom

“And you take a look at what President Xi said today. He fully expects to take Taiwan. He made that statement today. That’s a big statement and I’m sitting here in an icebox.” 

Trump rattled off other issues causing him concern, including inflation, the economy and an electric vehicle mandate, but argued the China-Russia meeting was “maybe worse than anything.” 

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“I’m sitting here listening to a case that even people from CNN and MSDNC say should never be brought. I’ve been sitting here for almost four weeks, and we still have a long way to go,” Trump added. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met in Beijing Thursday, where the two pledged to strengthen their countries’ ties with one another. 

“This partnership is without a doubt exemplary for how the relationship between neighboring states should be,” Putin said, according to Politico. “Our cooperation in global affairs today is one of the main stabilizing factors in the global arena.” 

Xi said China is ready to “uphold fairness and justice in the world.”

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“The China-Russia relationship today is hard-earned, and the two sides need to cherish and nurture it,” Xi added. 

In a joint statement, the two leaders also condemned the U.S. for what they said was “hegemonic attempts” to “change the balance of power in Northeast Asia by building up military power and creating military blocs and coalitions.”

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The meeting came as Russia advanced on Ukraine’s Kharkiv region in a war that has raged since February of 2022. As war rages in Ukraine and also Israel, the world has braced for China potentially invading Taiwan, which operates as an independent country separate from China. 

Trump’s warning about China and Russia came as he wrapped up his 18th day in Manhattan court, where he is facing 34 counts of falsifying business records. 

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Thursday’s day in court heard continued cross-examination testimony from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. The case focuses on the prosecution team working to prove Trump falsified business records 34 times to conceal a $130,000 payment to former pornography star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election to quiet her claims of an affair with Trump. 

Trump has pleaded not guilty in the case and has maintained his innocence. 

On Thursday, Trump’s legal team peppered Cohen with questions regarding his history of lying under oath, dating back to 2017, including to Congress about a Trump Tower Moscow project and to federal investigators from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.

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Cohen’s testimony, which began Monday, has also included him describing that he used his personal funds to pay Daniels in 2016 through a home equity line of credit, which he concealed from his wife. Cohen testified he used his personal funds because Trump told him to “handle it” because the story could be damaging to the campaign. 

Cohen said he was “reimbursed $420,000” for the payment, a sum he said was “grossed up” to prevent loss of funds to taxes, and argued that Trump was aware of the details of the payments. The checks themselves were described as a “retainer,” which Cohen said was a false description.

Cohen will resume his testimony Monday morning under cross-examination, though Trump’s legal team said they expect to wrap up questioning early Monday morning. Closing arguments could begin as early as Tuesday. 

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Court will not be held on Friday, as Trump is traveling to his home in Florida to attend his son Barron Trump’s high school graduation. 

Trump said in his remarks to the media Thursday afternoon that the court is trying to “rush” the trial ahead of the 2024 election. 

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“They’re trying to rush to get it done before the election, so that they can harm me so they can hurt their political opponent,” Trump said.