Republicans are making absurd arguments against Donald Trump’s indictment
Trump will be arraigned Tuesday afternoon in Miami on dozens of counts of improperly handling classified documents and obstruction of justice.
After his indictment by a federal grand jury, former President Donald Trump is set to be arraigned on Tuesday on 37 counts, including violating the Espionage Act and obstructing justice, for allegedly taking classified documents from the White House in violation of federal law and then refusing to return them when repeatedly asked by the National Archives and the Department of Justice.
Few Republicans have expressed concern with Trump’s alleged improper handling of classified materials — something the party was very worried about when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ran for president.
GOP lawmakers have been twisting themselves into knots to defend Trump’s behavior, making incoherent arguments and employing whataboutism to brush off the allegations.
Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Florida Rep. Byron Donalds were asked by reporters to comment on a photo federal prosecutors used as evidence of improper storage of classified documents. The photo shows boxes of documents piled up in a bathroom at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
A reporter asked McCarthy on Monday if it was a “good look” for Trump to keep boxes of classified documents in a bathroom.
McCarthy replied: “Is it a good picture to have boxes in a garage that opens up all the time? A bathroom door locks.”
McCarthy was referring to the fact that President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence found classified documents in their possession. Some of the classified documents Biden found were in his garage at his Delaware home.
Unlike Trump, Biden and Pence voluntarily returned the documents when they found them. Trump was charged not for possessing the documents in the first place, but for allegedly willfully withholding them after the National Archives and the Department of Justice asked for them back.
“This is not a case about what documents were taken, it’s about what former President Trump did after the government sought to retrieve those documents,” former federal prosecutor Robert Mintz told the Washington Post.
“There are 33 bathrooms at Mar-a-Lago. So don’t act like it’s just in some random bathroom that the guests can go into,” Donalds said during an appearance on CNN. “That’s not true.”
“You can’t just walk through Mar-a-Lago on your own accord because Secret Service is all over the place,” Donalds added. “So if the documents are in a place, they’re in a room, depending on the time of year, you can’t even get into said room.”
However, experts have warned for years of Mar-a-Lago’s lax security and risk of being infiltrated by foreign spies. In 2022, there were reports that a Ukrainian immigrant successfully infiltrated Mar-a-Lago by posing as a member of the influential Rothschild family.
Other Republican lawmakers said that Trump shouldn’t have been indicted because Biden and Clinton weren’t.
Wisconsin Republican Rep. Derrick Van Orden tweeted on June 8: “Just checking: Clinton had 1000’s of classified emails that she deleted and then scrubbed the hard drives — Nothing. Biden had classified docs in 3 locations — Nothing. President Trump has docs & declassification authority — Indicted. I call bullshit.”
“I really don’t think there’s any plausible comparison between the Trump case and the Hillary Clinton case,” attorney Robert Kelner told the Washington Post. “The key difference is that in the Hillary Clinton case, as we learned from the Department of Justice inspector general report, there was no evidence that Hillary Clinton sought to obstruct justice. … The focus of the Trump indictment is on his rather stark effort to obstruct justice. That’s the fundamental difference.”
Some GOP lawmakers have tried to gin up conspiracy theories about Biden to distract from Trump’s indictment.
Republicans have been pushing baseless allegations that Biden corruptly received $5 million from the Ukrainian oil and gas company Burisma. Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s former lawyer, first made the unproven claims ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik tweeted on Monday: “It is NO coincidence that Biden weaponized his DOJ to indict Trump the same day the FBI was supposed to turn over damning allegations regarding Biden’s corruption.”
“On very same day the FBI agreed to allow members of the Oversight Committee to review documents tying Joe Biden to a $5 Million bribery scheme with a foreign national, President Trump is informed that he will be indicted by Biden’s DOJ,” Texas Republican Rep. Wesley Hunt tweeted on June 8. “Coincidence? You don’t still believe those exist under this administration, do you?”
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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