Republicans who joined former President Donald Trump’s attacks on the justice system and revenge campaign after the guilty verdict

WASHINGTON– Adopting Donald Trump’s strategy of blaming the US justice system after his historic guilty verdict, congressional Republicans are fervently engaging in his campaign of political revenge and retaliation as the Republican Party races to win back the White House.

Almost no Republican officials rose to suggest that Trump should not be the party’s presidential nominee for the November election — in fact, some sought to fast-track his nomination. Few dared to defend the legitimacy of the New York state court that heard the financial silence case or the 12 jurors who delivered their unanimous verdict.

And Republicans who expressed doubts about Trump’s innocence or political viability, including his former national security adviser, John Bolton, or leading Senate candidate Larry Hogan of Maryland, were immediately intimidated by the former president’s henchmen and asked to “leave the party”.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., said she was voting for Trump “whether he is a free man or a prisoner of the Biden regime.”

She also displayed the upside-down American flag which now symbolizes the “Stop the Steal” movement that Trump launched with his allies before January 1. September 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

The rapid, strident and growing commitment to Trump despite his felony conviction shows the extent to which Republican leaders and others have been imbued with his baseless grievances about a “rigged” system and the dangerous conspiracies of a “militarized” government , using them in their own attacks on the president. Joe Biden and the Democrats.

Rather than avoiding Trump’s growing authoritarian language or ensuring they will provide checks and balances for a second Trump term, Republican senators and representatives are upending long-standing trust in American governance and setting the stage for what they plan to do if Trump returns to power.

On Friday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, requested that prosecutors Alvin Bragg and Matthew Colangelo appear at a June hearing on “arming the federal government” and ” the unprecedented political prosecutions” against Trump – despite the fact that Biden, as president, has no authority over the New York state courts.

“What we are preparing for is that if Trump wins, he will use the state apparatus to target his political opponents,” said Jason Stanley, a Yale professor and author of “How Fascism Works.”

Stanley said history is full of examples of people who don’t believe the rhetoric of authoritarians. “Believe what they say,” he said. “He’s literally telling you he’s going to use the state apparatus to target his political opponents.”

On Friday, at his Trump Tower in New York, the former president returned to the type of attacks he repeatedly launched in his campaign speeches, describing Biden as the “corrupt” one and the United States as a “fascist” nation.

Trump called members of the bipartisan House committee that investigated the January events. 6 against the US Capitol by “thugs” and declared that Biden was a “Manchurian candidate”, a phrase inspired by the 1960s film depicting a puppet of an American political enemy.

A Trump campaign memo contained talking points for Republican lawmakers, suggesting they call the matter a “sham,” a “hoax,” a “witch hunt,” “election interference” and ” legal policy” designed by Biden, which he described as “crooked”.

Biden faces no such charges, and the House GOP’s effort to impeach the president over his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings has largely stalled. Hunter Biden is due in court next week on an unrelated gun charge in Wilmington, Delaware.

Joe Biden said Friday that “it’s reckless, it’s dangerous, it’s irresponsible, for anyone to say it’s rigged just because they don’t like the verdict.”

When asked later at the White House if this could happen to him, Biden replied: “Not at all, I didn’t do anything wrong, the system still works.” »

As for Trump’s claims that the affair is orchestrated by the Democratic president to harm him politically, Biden joked: “I didn’t know I was that powerful.”

In the hush-hush case, Trump was found guilty of trying to influence the 2016 election by falsifying payment to a porn actor to bury his affair story. He faces three other felony indictments, including the federal case for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. But they are unlikely to be heard before the expected November election rematch against Biden.

Thursday’s verdict came after a 2023 jury found Trump liable for sexual abuse against the advice of columnist E. Jean Carroll and a judge in a 2024 business fraud case. It determined that Trump had lied about his wealth for years, ordering him to pay a staggering $355 million. in penalties.

Almost everyone, the congressional Republicans who spoke provided a unique voice for Trump.

Speaker Mike Johnson on “Fox & Friends” amplified the claim, without evidence, that Democrats are trying to harm Trump. Johnson, R-La., said he thinks the Supreme Court should “step in” to resolve the matter.

“The judges on the court, I know a lot of them personally, I think they are deeply concerned about this, as are we,” Johnson said.

Outgoing Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said he expected Trump to win the appeal case, but the three senators seeking to replace McConnell as leader echoed Trump with more criticism. harsh on the judicial system.

The senator from South Dakota. John Thune said the case was “politically motivated.” The senator from Texas. John Cornyn called the verdict a “disgrace.” Sen. Rick Scott of Florida said everyone who calls themselves party leaders “must stand up and condemn” what he called “illegal election interference.”

Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican known as a bipartisan leader, said the prosecutor “brought these charges precisely because of the identity of the defendant rather than because of any specified criminal charge.”

With sentencing in the hush money case expected in July before the Republican National Convention, Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas said the Republican Party should move up the convention to expedite Trump’s nomination as the party’s presidential nominee.

Republican judicial lawyer Mike Davis, a former top Senate aide mentioned for a future position in the Trump administration, circulated a letter outlining next steps.

“Dear Republicans,” he said in a message published Friday. If their response to the guilty verdict was “we have to respect the process” or “we are too principled to fight back”, he suggested they do two things: one was an expletive, the other: “Leave the party “.

Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, circulated his own letter in which he suggested that it was the White House that “made a mockery” of the rule of law and changed policy in ways that were “anti -American”. He and other senators threatened to block the Senate’s work until Republicans took action.

“Those who have turned our justice system into a political cudgel must be held accountable,” Lee said.

Associated Press writers Michelle L. Price, Ali Swenson and Chris Megerian contributed to this story.

Copyright © 2024 by Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Leave a Comment