August 14th, 2023

by Cami Mondeaux

Republican leaders were quick to come to the defense of Donald Trump shortly after a new indictment was filed against the former president in Fulton County, Georgia, related to his alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the Peach State.

A grand jury in Georgia voted to indict Trump late Monday evening on a slew of racketeering charges related to the 2020 election, including a number of RICO violations, conspiracy to commit forgery, filing false statements and writings, filing false documents, solicitation of violation of oath by public officers, and more.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) responded to the indictment charges shortly after they were unsealed on Monday, making him the highest-ranking lawmaker to issue a statement. The House Republican leader decried the charges as a “desperate sham,” accusing Democrats of seeking to harm Trump’s presidential campaign.

“Justice should be blind, but Biden has weaponized government against his leading political opponent to interfere in the 2024 election,” he said in a statement. “Now a radical DA in Georgia is following Biden’s lead by attacking President Trump and using it to fundraise her political career.”

“This is another rogue Far Left radical District Attorney weaponizing their office to target Joe Biden’s top political opponent President Trump,” House GOP Caucus Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) said. “President Trump had every legal right to challenge the results of the election. This radical DA displayed political bias toward President Trump so much that a judge disqualified her from part of this case. This blatant election interference by the Far Left will not work, President Trump will defeat these bogus charges and win back the White House in 2024.”

Other Republicans weighed in even before the charges were filed, accusing the Biden administration of weaponizing the justice system ahead of a crucial election cycle — especially as he may face Trump in a general election rematch next year.

“I’m pissed,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told Fox News on Monday. “I’m pissed at these. Over and over and over again. If there are indictments tonight, it’ll be the fourth indictment of Donald Trump. This is disgraceful.”

Other Republicans accused prosecutors of using charges to distract from the legal troubles stemming from the president’s son, Hunter Biden. House Republicans criticized the timing of the indictment, which came just days after Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed David Weiss as the special counsel in the Hunter Biden investigation — a decision several GOP lawmakers decried as a way to “cover up” any criminal wrongdoing.

“The newest charges against Trump in Fulton County come just days after AG Garland elevated Weiss to special counsel in the Hunter Biden case,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said. “Once again, the radical Left is targeting the Republican front-runner, President Trump, to distract from the Biden family corruption.”

Other lawmakers suggested that Trump’s actions were justified and within his legal rights, arguing the former president did not commit any wrongdoing.

“Today’s indictment is just the latest political attack in the Democrats’ WITCH HUNT against President Trump,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) said in a statement. “He did nothing wrong!”

Some of Trump’s political opponents in the GOP presidential primary were quick to come to his defense, with Vivek Ramaswamy issuing a statement even before the indictment was publicly released.

“These are politicized persecutions through prosecution,” Ramaswamy told NewsNation. “It would be a lot easier for me if Donald Trump were not in this primary, but this is not how I want to win this election.”

The charges come after confusion ensued in Fulton County earlier Monday afternoon when a now-deleted filing was published online detailing several charges against Trump. The document was quickly taken down, and the Office of the Fulton County Clerk of Superior and Magistrate Courts Honorable Che Alexander later released a statement that it was a “fictitious document.”

House Republicans were quick to seize on the error, citing it as evidence of an unsubstantiated indictment.

“In the dead of the night, an overzealous junior varsity prosecutor from a county filled with crime and corruption indicted President Trump for purely political purposes,” House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee said in a statement shortly after the indictment was unsealed. “Disgraceful.”

“Junior Varsity Fani Willis,” they said in another statement earlier in the day, referring to the Fulton County district attorney leading the case. “What a joke.”

The charges mark Trump’s fifth criminal indictment so far this year and come less than two weeks after the former president was charged in a separate case related to his alleged efforts to overturn the presidential election and his actions leading up to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Trump is expected to plead not guilty to all counts.

Monday’s indictment stems from a 2 1/2-year investigation into Trump’s efforts to reverse his loss to President Joe Biden in Georgia, a key swing state that helped secure his Electoral College victory. The inquiry focused on five separate actions taken by Trump and the former president’s allies in the weeks following the 2020 election, including phone calls made to Georgia officials to overturn the election results.

The indictment also detailed instances in which Trump and his allies pressured local election officials, made false claims of voter fraud, and concocted a plan to recruit a fake slate of electors to certify a victory for Trump rather than Biden. Eighteen other people were indicted alongside Trump on similar charges, including former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, and former Trump adviser John Eastman, among others.

Trump already faces federal charges related to his actions in Georgia after being indicted by a grand jury earlier this month on four separate federal charges: one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, one count of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, one count of obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and one count of conspiracy against rights.

Trump has long maintained innocence in all investigations related to the Jan. 6 riot, accusing the Biden administration of unfairly targeting him because of his front-runner status in the GOP presidential primary. The former president released a statement shortly before his indictment was unsealed, denouncing the charges as election interference.

“Like Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, Deranged Jack Smith, and New York AG Letitia James, Fulton County, GA’s radical Democrat District Attorney Fani Willis is a rabid partisan who is campaigning and fundraising on a platform of prosecuting President Trump through these bogus indictments,” he said in a statement. “Ripping a page from Crooked Joe Biden’s playbook, Willis has strategically stalled her investigation to try and maximally interfere with the 2024 presidential race and damage the dominant Trump campaign. All of these corrupt Democrat attempts will fail.”

See the Washington Examiner article here.