Several Republican lawmakers have expressed their support for former President Donald Trump in the wake of reports that he may be indicted for campaign finance violations related to “hush money” payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election.
On Saturday, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) stated that he would direct “relevant committees” to investigate whether federal funds are being used for “politically motivated prosecutions.” McCarthy’s announcement came after reports surfaced that a Manhattan grand jury was on the brink of indicting Trump – a first in US history – and that District Attorney Alvin Bragg had spoken with law enforcement agencies, including the Secret Service, ahead of Trump’s expected court appearance.
Other Republicans have also come out in support of Trump, despite recent criticisms over his actions on January 6th. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who is considering a 2024 presidential run, told NBC News that the possible indictment “smells like the type of politically motivated prosecution we experienced during the Russia hoax.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, the third-ranking Republican in the House and a potential 2024 running mate, called the possible arrest of Trump “unAmerican” and accused Democrats of reaching “a dangerous new low.” Similarly, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) dismissed the Manhattan DA’s case against Trump and accused prosecutors of being “scared” of the former president.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) warned that “if they can come for Trump, they will come for you,” adding that “this type of stuff only occurs in third world authoritarian nations.” Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida defended Trump’s actions, tweeting that he “used his own money to resolve a private dispute, irrespective of any campaign.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, another potential running mate, called the allegations against Trump “fake” and “outdated,” and called on Republicans in Congress to subpoena “these communists” and “end this!” Ohio Senator J.D. Vance, who was endorsed by Trump during his 2022 victory, condemned DA Bragg, accusing him of being eager to prosecute Trump while violent offenders roam the streets of New York City.
In response to the news of the potential indictment, Trump took to Truth Social, a social media platform he created, to call for protests. He accused the Manhattan DA’s office of being “corrupt” and “highly political,” and claimed that they had allowed “new records to be set in violent crime.” He also called the allegations against him a “fully debunked… fairy tale,” and urged his supporters to “take our nation back.”