Former Republican president blasts Trump defenders as indictment looms
As many prominent GOP leaders line up to defend Donald Trump and criticize the justice system amid reports that the former president is likely to face criminal charges in New York as early as this week, a former Republican National Committee chairman (RNC) pressured back.
Speculation has swirled in recent days that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg may be set to indict Trump. The charges are expected to relate to an alleged 2016 campaign finance violation involving “silent” payments to adult entertainer Stephanie Clifford, better known by her stage name Stormy Daniels.
The media reported last week and last weekend that the former president could be arrested and charged shortly. Trump, who is seeking the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, significantly fueled speculation on Saturday morning by posting on his Truth Social social media platform that he would be indicted on Tuesday, urging his supporters to protest.
In response to the news, former Trump vice president Mike Pence and Rep. Elise Stefanik, a New York Republican who chairs the House Republican Conference, criticized the possibility of criminal charges against the former chairman of Bragg’s office. . Michael Steele, who led the RNC from 2009 to 2011, took issue with the positions of the two leading Republicans on the potential indictment.
“Why the hell are you ‘caught off guard by the idea of indicting a former president’ who engaged in criminal behavior? Why keep making excuses to Trump who would rather see you hanged and rancid behavior than you denounce in others? Steele tweeted on Sunday, sharing an excerpt from an ABC News interview with Pence.
“His base won’t vote for you. Get over yourself,” added Steele, who has long criticized Trump and his GOP faction.
In the interview with ABC News, Pence criticized Bragg for pushing the case against Trump, saying he was “baffled about indicting a former president of the United States.”
“At a time when there is a crime wave in New York, the fact that the Manhattan District Attorney thinks indicting President Trump is his top priority, I think, tells you everything you need to know about the left radical in this country,” the elder said the vice president.
Steele’s comment that Trump would rather see Pence ‘hanged’ was an apparent reference to the Capitol Riot on Jan. 6, 2021. During that attack on the federal legislative branch of government, many Trump supporters chanted “Hang Mike Pence”. A gallows was also erected outside the building.
Earlier Saturday, the former RNC chairwoman responded to a statement from Stefanik on Saturday, who described her remarks as her “full statement on illegal leaks that President Trump will be arrested next week.”
“This is just the continuation of the shameful and unconstitutional pattern that dates back to the illegal Russian collusion hoax to attempt to silence and suppress the will of voters who support President Trump and the America First movement,” she said. stated in his statement.
Steele argued that Trump was responsible for the “leaks”, dismissing Stefanik’s assessment.
“Elise, the ‘leak’ is from Trump,” he tweeted. “Trump said on Truth Social at 7:30 a.m. that he would be arrested on Tuesday. His spokesperson issues a statement saying that Trump did not write his message with direct knowledge of the timing of any arrests. So not only does he leaked it, but he lied about it.”
Earlier Saturday, Steele shared a screenshot of Trump’s Truth Social message saying he would be charged on Tuesday. The former RNC chairman posted his thoughts in response.
“I’m tired of hearing that any Trump impeachment is ‘unprecedented.’ Yes, that’s because it’s UNPRECEDENTED for a former president to pay a porn star silent money. And this lopsided response? We’ve seen his desire for violence before. And for the #GOP, it’s all ‘politically motivated,'” he wrote.
Newsweek contacted press representatives for Pence and Stefanik via email for comment.
The former president and his allies say the investigation and possible indictment in New York are politically motivated. They say Democrats are working through the court system in an effort to prevent Trump from winning in 2024 and suppress his political movement.
Bragg, a Democrat, and analysts who support an indictment, said no one is above the law, regardless of political status. The district attorney said his investigation was just following the facts. If Trump is indicted, it will be the first time in US history that a former president has been criminally charged.
Newsweek contacted Bragg’s office via email for comment.
“President Trump rightly emphasizes his innocence and the weaponization of our system of injustice,” a Trump spokesperson said. Newsweek SATURDAY.