'They don't frighten us': 5 takeaways from Trump town hall with Hannity

Donald Trump continues to defy political gravity.

Amid a bid to reclaim the presidency, he faces a third indictment, this time for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, which alone would spell doom for any other White House hopeful.

Yet the former president — who has already been accused of mishandling national security documents and making hush money payments — remains the unquestionable front-runner for the Republican nomination in 2024 with his chief rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, stuck in neutral.

Speaking at a town hall in Iowa on Tuesday, Trump again cast the investigation as "election interference" by Democrats. He said he was "bothered" by the accusations because of how it affects his supporters.

"I guess they want to try and demean and diminish and frighten people, but they don't frighten us because we're going to make America great again," Trump said.

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - JULY 15: Former US President Donald Trump speaks at the Turning Point Action conference as he continues his 2024 presidential campaign on July 15, 2023 in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The event, hosted by Fox News, came hours after Trump said he received a target letter from special counsel Jack Smith, whose sprawling investigation is looking into whether the former president incited supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the Electoral College vote that made Joe Biden president.

Here are the important moments as Trump met Iowa voters face-to-face.

'It was like a coup': Trump bemoans current and past investigations

Fox News host Sean Hannity, who moderated the discussion, started the conversation by giving Trump plenty of room to air his grievances about his mounting legal troubles.

The cable news personality slammed how the current cases are being perceived by some voters, which Trump embraced fully during the hourlong discussion.

"Whether it's the borders or the elections or kinds of things like this, where the DOJ has become a weapon for the Democrats, an absolute weapon," he said.

Hannity also name dropped Democrats who were entangled in previous federal investigations, such as former Democratic presidential Hillary Clinton and also mentioned how President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, made a plea deal with federal prosecutors.Trump played that up to the crowd, which was overwhelmingly pro-Trump, saying the indictments against him represent a two-tiered system. He then dug back into the time he fired former FBI Director James Comey in 2017.

"They were trying to take me out. Yeah, they were trying to take me out," he said. "I mean, it was like a coup. It was like a coup."

Trump likes mail-in and early voting, but...

Voters cast their midterm election ballots at the Brooklyn Museum on November 8, 2022, in New York.

Trump continues to deny losing the 2020 election, which has spawned a massive debate on voting rights as states have passed a series of laws that restrict and expand ballot-box rules.

But Republicans have expressed that in years past Trump's denials about the outcome and complaints about the country's election system hurt GOP turnout in key races, such as the 2021 Georgia Senate contests.

Hannity talked about a series of reforms to the U.S. election system — such as early voting, ballot harvesting and mail-in voting — that Democrats have "mastered." He pressed the former president on supporting those policies, and warned how Republicans are falling behind.

Trump said he will back those ideas, but quickly pivoted to express that he still believes without evidence that Democrats "cheat" and "create" ballots that aren't real.

Praising China's 'iron fist' leader

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jingping in Osaka, Japan, on July 2, 2019.

Congressional Republicans regularly denounce China's Communist Party and the leadership of President Xi Jingping, even dragging the 'Barbie' movie into the fray.

Yet Trump openly praises Xi and did so again during the Fox News town hall, calling the Chinese president "brilliant" during an exchange about foreign trade.

"You know when I say he's brilliant, everyone says 'Oh, that's terrible.' Well he runs 1.4 billion people with an iron fist: smart, brilliant, everything perfect. There's nobody in Hollywood like this guy," Trump said.

Trump asking for Biden impeachment

Donald Trump and Joe Biden face off during the final presidential debate in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 22, 2020.

Through the town hall Trump bemoaned how he is treated differently than Biden, such as the House GOP probe into his relatives receiving millions from a business associate with links to China.

"Joe Biden is a compromised president," Trump said.

Then Trump brought up his controversial phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in which he urged the foreign leader to reopen an investigation into an energy company to focus on Biden and his son.That 30-minute conversation led to Trump's first impeachment, which still has him steaming.

"Hey, they impeached me over a phone call that was perfect," he said. "Why aren't they impeaching Biden for receiving tens of millions of dollars. Why isn't he under impeachment?"

No audience participation or GOP primary questions

The hourlong town hall in the important early voting state of Iowa was pre-taped in Cedar Rapids, but one thing was missing: voters.

Not once in the version that was broadcast on Fox News did an Iowan get to address the former president, and Hannity didn't broach the subject of Trump's primary opponents or if he would participate in the upcoming debates.

The first GOP debate is slated for Aug. 23 in Milwaukee and will be hosted on 

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