June 13th, 2023
By Jared Gans
The top Republican leaders in the House defended former President Trump on the day of his second arraignment, calling it a “dark day for our country.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) and GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) pushed back against the Justice Department over its 37-count federal indictment of Trump, arguing on Tuesday that it shows that equal justice is not being carried out in the country.
McCarthy on multiple occasions raised President Biden’s alleged mishandling of classified documents to reporters in discussing the indictment. He asked why a determination was made for the FBI to carry out a search warrant of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago for the documents that were missing while the same didn’t happen at Biden’s office and residence — where other documents were found.
“What’s really concerning to me is when you look at how they went about treating President Trump and President Biden with these documents, much different,” he said.
McCarthy argued that “anyone” who has classified documents needs to ensure that they return them, including Biden.
“Is there a way that that could have been done? Because I haven’t had you ask me one question about the current president having classified documents,” he said. “I haven’t had you [ask] me one question about the current president as a senator, why he even would have classified documents? Does that raise any questions to you?”
A special counsel is conducting an investigation into the documents found at Biden’s home and office.
Scalise argued to reporters that some of the photos that were taken at Mar-a-Lago of the boxes of documents that Trump had were sensationalized. The indictment document included photos of boxes being left in locations like a ballroom stage and a storage room at Trump’s Florida resort.
The Louisiana Republican said one photo included in the indictment that showed boxes with documents “spewed out” did not include classified documents and only had newspaper clippings and “personal items.”
“Is justice being carried out fairly is the question when you see some of those pictures and go wait a minute, these are clippings and they’re trying to present these as classified documents,” he said.
The indictment states that one of the boxes spilled over included a document marked “SECRET/REL TO USA, FVEY,” indicating that the information was only authorized to be released to the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance of the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Stefanik in a release accused Biden of continuing to “weaponize” the federal government against Trump, who is his top opponent for reelection in 2024. She said the country sees a double standard in which Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a “set of rules” different from everyone else.
Republicans have brought up that Clinton did not face any charges for her use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state in which she sent and received emails containing classified information.
“It’s never been more important that we unite behind President Trump’s historic campaign to win the White House, to restore the rule of law, and save our Republic,” Stefanik said. “God bless America, President Trump, and all those targeted by Biden’s regime as we continue our efforts to end this corrupt political weaponization and stop the deep state.”
Read the article in The Hill here.