Republicans took to the airwaves Sunday to defend former President Donald Trump in the wake of his 37-count indictment on charges of mishandling classified documents after he left office.
Conservative lawmakers made the case that the felony charges from a Florida grand jury, which accuse him of having highly sensitive materials at his Mar-a-Lago resort and refusing to return them, was politically motivated because he’s seeking another term in the White House.
“I think Donald Trump is stronger today politically than he was before,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I promise you this, most Americans believe — most Republicans believe — that the law is used as a weapon against Donald Trump.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan called the charges “as political as it gets.”
“Frankly, it’s part of a pattern,” the Ohio Republican said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We’ve seen it time and time again with the president over the last seven years. They try one thing then they try another. They’ve continued to go after him, and I think anyone with common sense can see that.”
Mr. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and argues that he declassified the materials prior to leaving the White House.
The indictment says that is not true, citing an audio recording as evidence where he admitted they were still classified.
He said Sunday that nothing will make him drop out of the presidential race.
“I see no case in which I would do that. I just wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it,” Mr. Trump said on Roger Stone’s new radio show, “The Roger Stone Show.” “I had opportunities in 2016 to do it. And I didn’t do it.”
He’s set to appear in a south Florida courtroom for the first time in the case on Tuesday.
House Republicans in particular have been quick to defend Mr. Trump while others in the GOP, including Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, have yet to break their silence.
“Reading that indictment and looking at the selective omissions of both fact and law, I’m even more convinced that a pardon is the right answer here,” the conservative entrepreneur said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “What I see in that document is deeply politicized.”
Mr. Trump’s first indictment came in March by a Manhattan grand jury, accusing him of campaign-finance violations related to hush-money payments to women to shield extramarital affairs before the 2016 election.
Despite the latest round of criminal charges, voters indicate they’re unlikely to change their opinion of Mr. Trump.
Nearly half of U.S. voters say the classified documents indictment is politically motivated, but roughly the same percentage also say the former president should have been charged, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday.
A separate poll from CBS News/YouGov released Sunday showed 61% of voters said the indictment would not change their perception of Mr. Trump, 14% said it improves their opinion of him, 7% said it makes it worse and 18% were unsure.
The CBS survey also showed Mr. Trump continues to dominate the increasingly crowded 2024 Republican primary field, with 61% support, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as his nearest competitor, with 23% support.
She questioned the timing of the charges, which came on the same day as lawmakers gained access to an FBI document they say shows President Biden and his family engaged in a pay-to-play scheme when he was vice president.
“Whether you agree with Donald Trump politically or not, most Americans see this for what it is. It’s weaponizing the Executive Branch to take out your political enemies,” Ms. Mace said on “Sunday Morning Futures With Maria Bartiromo.”
“Joe Biden wants to give Donald Trump a death sentence for documents,” he said.
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