Republican lawmakers blasted the prospect of former President Trump being indicted after he revealed he expects to be arrested next week, calling the potential move “politically motivated” and an “abuse of power.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said he would direct relevant committees to investigate if any federal funding is being used to “subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.”
“Here we go again — an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump,” he tweeted, referring to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Condemnations of the potential charges from McCarthy and other Republicans came after Trump posted on Truth Social early on Saturday that “illegal leaks” indicate he will be arrested on Tuesday.
Bragg appears to be close to deciding on whether to file charges against Trump after having invited the former president to testify before the grand jury he has convened this past week. Trump’s attorney has said Trump would not accept the invitation.
The district attorney’s office has been investigating a payment that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election for her to remain silent about an affair she had with Trump. Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to a campaign finance violation stemming from the payment and other charges and served a prison sentence.
Cohen has said he paid Daniels at Trump’s direction. Trump has acknowledged that he reimbursed Cohen for the payment but said it was unrelated to his campaign finances.
Top Trump allies have joined McCarthy in denouncing the probe as politically motivated and siding with the former president, who has insisted he has not done anything wrong.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) tweeted that Trump will “win even bigger” than he already was already going to if Bragg indicts him and “did nothing wrong.” She said any Republicans who support the former president’s “persecution” will face consequences.
“And those Republicans that stand by and cheer for his persecution or do nothing to stop it will be exposed to the people and will be remembered, scorned, and punished by the base,” Greene said.
Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) said he has been asked multiple times if Trump being indicted would cause him to take away his endorsement of Trump in the 2024 presidential election. Trump endorsed Vance while he was running in the GOP primary for an open Senate seat in Ohio.
“The answer is: hell no. A politically motivated prosecution makes the argument for Trump stronger. We simply don’t have a real country if justice depends on politics,” Vance said.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, said in a statement that the “Radical Left” will have Trump arrested because they know they cannot defeat him in an election. She said this is “unAmerican” and reaching a “dangerous new low of Third World countries.”
“What these corrupt Leftist prosecutors like Alvin Bragg and their Socialist allies fail to understand is that America First Patriots have never been so energized to exercise their constitutional rights to peacefully organize and VOTE at the ballot box to save our great republic,” she said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said at Vision 24, a conservative conference in South Carolina, on Saturday that Bragg has “done more” to help Trump get reelected than anyone else in the country.
“They’re making stuff up that they never used against anybody because they hate Trump,” Graham said.
He said the case is moving forward because “they’re afraid of Trump.”
GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, a conservative entrepreneur, said Trump being indicted would be a “national disaster.”
“If a Republican prosecutor in 2004 had used a campaign finance technicality to arrest then-candidate John Kerry while [President George W.] Bush & [Vice President Dick] Cheney were in power, liberals would have cried foul – and rightly so,” Ramaswamy said.
He said indicting Trump will undermine trust in the country’s electoral system and Bragg should reconsider charges against him. He argued that the case would not have led to criminal prosecution for anyone else and would only have been a misdemeanor at most instead of a felony.
“Our entire country is skating on thin ice right now & we cannot afford to politicize the justice system or else we will reach our breaking point,” he said.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) also argued that the case is not strong, saying it is based on a “strained, convoluted legal theory.”
— Updated at 1:52 p.m.