Several Republican lawmakers, both allies and critics of former President Donald Trump, issued statements following the former president’s arraignment on Tuesday.
Trump pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan court to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first degree after hearing charges against him stemming from a hush money payment to an adult film actress in 2016.
Here’s how lawmakers are reacting:
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy accused Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg of seeking to interfere in the elections and said Congress will hold him accountable.
“Alvin Bragg is attempting to interfere in our democratic process by invoking federal law to bring politicized charges against President Trump, admittedly using federal funds, while at the same time arguing that the peoples’ representatives in Congress lack jurisdiction to investigate this farce. Not so. Bragg’s weaponization of the federal justice process will be held accountable by Congress,” McCarthy tweeted.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has not spoken out.
GOP Sen. Mitt Romney, a sharp Trump critic, criticized what he called Bragg’s overreach, saying it sets a “dangerous precedent.”
“I believe President Trump’s character and conduct make him unfit for office,” Romney said in a statement. “Even so, I believe the New York prosecutor has stretched to reach felony criminal charges in order to fit a political agenda. No one is above the law, not even former presidents, but everyone is entitled to equal treatment under the law. The prosecutor’s overreach sets a dangerous precedent for criminalizing political opponents and damages the public’s faith in our justice system.”
House GOP Chair Elise Stefanik, a key Trump ally, called Trump’s arrest “shameful,” adding that it would help him in his bid for the White House.
“President Trump continues to skyrocket in the polls, and just like with the Russia hoax and both sham impeachments, President Trump will defeat the latest witch-hunt, defeat Joe Biden, and will be sworn in as President of the United States in January 2025,” she said in a statement.
House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan tweeted Tuesday, “equal justice under the law, unless you’re a Republican running for president,” after Trump was arraigned.
When asked on Fox News on Wednesday if he will subpoena Bragg, Jordan said that some lawmakers do want to talk to the district attorney. “He’s asked what questions we have,” Jordan said, referring to the correspondence he has had with Bragg’s office so far. “So I think he’s almost conceding the point that we should be able to talk to him. Everything is on the table. We are going to figure out how we proceed next. But we do want some answers to some key questions.”
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise retweeted Jordan’s post.
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer said that he will have a call with McCarthy and Jordan “this week” to discuss how to move forward with their investigation Bragg.
“And we are going to try to figure out a path moving forward. This is very serious,” Comer told Fox and Friends on Wednesday, “We are not going to stop on this. Nothing changed. We believe he has overstepped.”
Trump ally Sen. Marsha Blackburn accused Bragg of being politically motivated in his investigation in a number of tweets. In one post, Blackburn called Bragg a “radical left-wing activist abusing his power in an attempt to help Biden remain in office.”
GOP Sen. JD Vance tweeted that “Bragg’s entire career is about normalizing violent crime. Just crazy that he’s bringing this weak case in the middle of a presidential election.” The Ohio senator, who was once a Trump critic, has embraced Trump and already endorsed him in the 2024 presidential race.
GOP Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who is weighing a 2024 presidential run, slammed Bragg ahead of the indictment, saying that he “doesn’t prosecute criminals, yet weaponizes the law against his political enemies.”
GOP Rep. Nancy Mace, whose primary opponent former President Trump endorsed last cycle, tweeted that his indictment is “bs” and “clearly political prosecution.”
Senate Minority Whip John Thune aligned himself with other GOP lawmakers who call Bragg’s case politically motivated. “This indictment looks like a political agenda run amok, and it’s becoming increasingly clear why previous district attorneys opted against prosecution,” Thune said in a statement.