Good news, everyone. It turns out that Republicans are in favor of former President Donald Trump being prosecuted and held accountable!
I never thought such a thing possible. When news broke on Tuesday that Trump had received a target letter from special counsel Jack Smith regarding the federal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, most GOP lawmakers echoed the former president’s conspiratorial tirades.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy inaccurately railed: “If you notice, President Trump has recently risen in the polls and actually surpassed President Biden for re-election. So what are they doing now? Arm the government, go after their opponent number 1.
‘Outrageous’ and ‘ridiculous’, if it happens to Donald Trump
Florida Rep. Byron Donalds said, without offering a hint of evidence, “This is outrageous and Jack Smith is out of control.”
And Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said: “Yes, it is absolute nonsense. Yes, that’s my response. This is the only way the Democrats can defeat President Trump, by arresting him, slandering him, accusing him of ridiculous charges.” (That statement ignores the fact that Joe Biden cleanly defeated Trump in the 2020 election, and that the allegations come from grand juries, not Democrats.)
On Wednesday, at a House Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing on the Hunter Biden investigation, so said the same Marjorie Taylor Greene“I would also say that when evidence and evidence of a crime is presented, prosecution should not be denied, no matter who the person is.”
Thanks for the free campaign ad! Marjorie Taylor Greene compares Biden to FDR, LBJ.
The Republicans’ desire for accountability is very case-specific
And Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, the committee head, began the hearing by saying“This is an important collective effort that shows the American people that responsibility matters, regardless of your last name.”
That’s two key phrases from two key Republican members of Congress: “regardless of who the person is” and “regardless of your last name.”
President Joe Biden’s son has been investigated and charged with federal felonies. Last month, Hunter Biden agreed to plead guilty to two felony tax charges and put in place a diversionary program to avoid prosecution for gun possession.
Biden did not call the investigation a witch hunt and did not have a stomach ache over the allegations. And I and most liberals have long said, if Hunter Biden broke the law, prosecute him. Heck, if Joe Biden broke the law, prosecute him. That’s the way it’s supposed to work.
Comer and Greene and Co. are free to continue their hunt for anything — anything — that links Hunter Biden’s crimes to the president, but so far they lack, in Greene’s words, “evidence and evidence of a crime.”
With Trump, how much more evidence do you need?
For Trump, on the other hand, there is enough “evidence and evidence of a crime” to convince two grand juries to indict him on more than 70 state and federal charges. There was enough “evidence and evidence of a crime” for a New York jury in May to find Trump liable for sexually assaulting and defaming E. Jean Carroll.
In fact, the judge in that case issued an opinion Wednesday clarifying that what the jury found was that Trump raped Carroll.
Gone in 60 seconds: At FBI Director’s Hearing, Republican Conspiracies About Biden Go ‘POOF!’
Judge Lewis Kaplan denied Trump a new trial: “The finding that Ms. Carroll could not prove that she was ‘raped’ within the New York Penal Code sense does not mean that she could not prove that Mr. Trump ‘raped’ her, as many people commonly understand the word ‘rape.'” Indeed, as the evidence at trial … makes clear, the jury found that Mr. Trump did indeed do just that.”
So since, as Comer said, accountability matters regardless of your last name, he and his congressional colleagues should agree that Trump should pay Carroll $5 million, as ordered by the jury.
By the Republicans’ own words, Trump should be prosecuted, right?
And with the target letter signaling an all-but-certain indictment in the Special Prosecutor’s case, how on earth could someone like Greene label the Prosecutor “bullsh-t”?
I mean, in her words, not mine: “When evidence and evidence of a crime is presented, prosecution should not be denied, no matter who the person is.”
Glad to see the Republicans are working on this. Let the accountability begin.
Follow USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on Twitter @RexHuppke and Facebook facebook.com/RexIsAJerk
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump’s defenders in GOP say they support prosecution, just not his