Donald Trump’s critics and activist groups have condemned his inflammatory rhetoric and a statement by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as Republicans quickly rallied to defend the former president against potential criminal charges.
The Republican leader issued a statement accusing the Manhattan district attorney’s office of “outrageous abuse of power” and announcing that he will direct House committees “to immediately investigate whether federal funds are being used to undermine our democracy by to interfere in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.” .”
Democratic U.S. Representative Daniel Goldman — adding that Mr. McCarthy has “no idea” what evidence prosecutors have gathered against the former president — noted that Mr. McCarthy supported a GOP-led panel on the “arming” of federal agencies under President Joe Biden, while using his own seat of power “to undermine the rule of law for political purposes”.
Democratic US Representative Ted Lieu also hit back at Mr McCarthy’s suggestion that New York prosecutors are “undermining democracy” with their criminal investigations.
“Do you know what the charge is? Have you seen any evidence from the grand jury? No, Mr. Lieu wrote. “You are a cowardly, partisan politician who does not respect the rule of law. In America, no one is above the law, not even the one you kneel before.”
Former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned Mr Trump’s “reckless” announcement predicting his arrest, which she says has been used to “keep himself in the news and foment unrest among his supporters” while using apocalyptic rhetoric continues to use around his 2024 campaign and possible criminal charges.
On Saturday morning, Mr Trump announced he will be arrested on Tuesday, blaming “illegal leaks” regarding a hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 campaign.
Media outlets had previously reported that the former president could face criminal charges in New York; Mr. Trump has not publicly announced whether he was notified by law enforcement of any charges. A spokesperson for Mr Trump later clarified that “no mention has been made” of such charges or plans for an arrest.
Trump appears to have been the only person to “leak” news of his arrest. He made similar claims during a federal police search of his property in Florida’s Mar-a-Lago, disclosing that a “raid” of law enforcement agencies was underway.
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti suggested that Mr. Trump’s lawyers were told by the Manhattan DA that an indictment would likely be issued early next week and that he would have to surrender for trial. “That wouldn’t be an ‘arrest,’ but Trump is trying to dramatize this for his supporters,” he said.
The independent has asked for comment from the prosecutor’s office.
In another all-capitalized message on his Truth Social account on Saturday — about 45 minutes after asking supporters to “send your contribution” to his campaign — Trump called on his supporters to “protest, protest, protest” to “make America to save”. He also claimed that the US is “being led into World War III” as the Biden administration is “killing our nation”.
Mr. Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to a federal charge relating to a 2016 payment of $130,000 to Daniels to keep her quiet about her allegation that she had sex with Mr. Trump. Cohen later allegedly repaid the money he gave her in payments described by Trump’s company as “legal fees,” which could be grounds for falsifying business records. Cohen appeared before a grand jury in New York for the second time this week.
“Whatever the Grand Jury’s decision, the handling of this case makes it clear: No one is above the law, not even a former president of the United States,” Ms. Pelosi said in a statement.
“He cannot hide his violations of law, disrespect for our elections and incitement to violence,” she added. “Rightfully, our legal system will decide how to hold him accountable.”
A statement from Congressional Integrity Project senior counsel Brad Woodhouse said Mr. McCarthy is using his role as House Speaker to “prevent justice from taking place, threatening and intimidating with his own words those investigating Trump’s alleged wrongdoings.” to research.”
“Kevin McCarthy has turned his speakership over to Trump, election deniers, white nationalist sympathizers and the cult of MAGA and he has lost the moral high ground to lead,” he added.
Former Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of two GOP members of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack, fueled by Trump’s baseless narrative that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him, suggested the apparent Mr McCarthy’s hypocrisy as he continues to support investigations into the Biden family while believing in “legitimate crimes” [are] not fair game if its people.
Another former Republican U.S. Representative, David Jolly called Mr. McCarthy’s statement “dangerous and ignorant” and “his most aggressive MAGA attitude to date.”
Kurt Bardella, a former spokesperson for the Republican House Oversight Committee, said McCarthy’s “directive to weaponize congressional oversight and use it to obstruct justice is a chilling development not to be taken lightly.”