Former President Donald Trump is once again facing a criminal indictment — this time in connection with alleged mishandling of classified documents. He is expected to appear in a Miami, Florida, federal courtroom on Tuesday.
In response to the news that broke on Thursday, prominent Republicans, including his nearest GOP presidential primary rival, came to his defense in portraying the charges as part of a politically motivated effort to derail his campaign.
The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society.
We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation.
Why so zealous in pursuing Trump yet so passive about Hillary or Hunter?
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) June 9, 2023
Many of the comments refer to President Joe Biden’s own scandal involving classified documents found in multiple unauthorized locations following his term as vice president. With Biden floundering in the polls and struggling to communicate coherently in public appearances, many on the right believe the Justice Department is putting its thumb on the scale in order to artificially hinder Trump’s chances.
For his part, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) asserted that the latest criminal charges against Trump represented a “culmination of what Merrick Garland has been pushing for since he became attorney general,” adding that the “weaponization” of the Justice Department to protect Biden “will do enormous damage” to the nation’s rule of law for years to come.
Cruz’s colleague, Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) offered a similar take in a tweet on the matter.
“The former president will be indicted for ‘mishandling’ his own government’s classified info. Yet everyone agrees the president has the authority to declassify anything. This is a moral and constitutional joke.”
He similarly pointed the finger at Garland, insisting that the attorney general “has disgraced this country” by “using the justice system to preemptively steal the 2024 election.”
Other GOP senators weighed in on the news, including Josh Hawley of Missouri, who opined that if the president can exert enough influence to “just jail his political opponents,” it would mean the end of the constitutional republic.
In the lower chamber, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) issued a statement describing a “dark day” for America, writing: “It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him. Joe Biden kept classified documents for decades. I, and every American who believes in the rule of law, stand with President Trump against this grave injustice. House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable.”