In January, when heavily armed FBI agents swarmed my south Florida home to arrest me for a series of process crimes, it changed my life far more than I ever imagined. The judge in my case has issued a gag order so I am not permitted to discuss the case, the prosecution, the court or the specific charges against me and will not do so here. As the judge said, the place for talking is in court — and that time will come.

***

A vast American television audience was allowed to view the spectacle of my arrest, because CNN arrived 15 minutes before the FBI swat team. CNN denies it was tipped off, instead chalking its good fortune up to a ‘hunch’. President Trump asked in a tweet ‘Who alerted CNN?’ Who indeed? This week, it was widely reported that the FBI refuses to turn over emails between the agency and CNN in the days before the raid on my home. Now the US Department of Justice is being sued for these documents and perhaps we will learn the truth about how and why CNN was present and why it was allowed to stay when the street was sealed off to all others.

***

CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post, Politico and the Wall Street Journal have repeatedly accused me of colluding with the Russians, conspiracy, and treason. I, contrary to the media’s desires, have been charged with the process crime of lying to Congress and related charges. I have pleaded not guilty to those charges. I plan a vigorous legal defence. I will be vindicated. The media coverage since I was charged has been well beyond anything I have seen in 50 years of American politics. At an appropriate time I will document the lies and misrepresentations of the press. Suffice to say, CNN is not a news organisation but a propaganda front. I do not get my news from CNN for the same reason I do not eat out of the toilet.

***

The last two years have taken an extraordinary toll on my family. We lost our home, our savings, and my ability to make a living. I am no longer allowed to discuss the topics people used to pay me to speak about. This week, we moved from our nine-room home to a one-bedroom apartment. Frankly, I got tired of the tour buses pulling up in front of the house and hearing the dissertation from the tour guide regarding my arrest. Unfortunately, because we could not afford a moving company, my wife Nydia and I did the move ourselves. In a freak accident on the final day of our move, Nydia broke her ankle when the truck broke out of gear, slid and hit her. She is on the mend and still supervising the unpacking of our things in our new residence.

***

So far, more than 35,000 Americans have donated to my legal defence fund. I am increasingly confident that I will be able to mount an aggressive defence in what is a complex case. My lawyers think I will need at least two million dollars and I believe that I can raise it.

***

In all of the reporting regarding the charges against me, there is one constant: I am called a ‘self-described dirty trickster’. I have never described myself like this anywhere and was impressed with the professionalism of the Los Angeles Times when it corrected this particular smear. I did once acknowledge in an interview that others described me as a ‘dirty trickster’, and therefore I am probably stuck with it.

***

Susan Page’s new biography of Barbara Bush has caused quite a stir. It claims, among other things, that she so hated Donald Trump that she kept a ‘countdown clock’ by her bed telling her how many days were left until the end his presidency. When I pointed out that Trump outlasted her, I was attacked by the media for being ‘vile’ — but what’s vile is the claims that the book made about me.

***

It reveals extracts from Barbara Bush’s diaries, which claim that she had me fired from her husband’s 1988 campaign. Unfortunately, I was never hired by George H. W. Bush that year — but it is true that Barbara and I never got along. I had several unpleasant run-ins with her when I was regional manager for Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign. She told me how much she hated me; I found her rude, abusive and inebriated. Also in that book we learn how she was ‘too sick’ to fly out for Nancy Reagan’s funeral three years ago but healthy enough to get on a plane to campaign for Jeb Bush, her low-energy son, the next day. A shame. You would have thought that Barbara Bush might have paid her respects to the wife of the man who breathed life back into her husband’s failed political career.

***

The best thing about this pretrial period is that I am back in the gym. By the November trial, I will be in the best condition of my life