US Republicans defend Trump as they attack the criminal justice system By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: US President Donald Trump delivers an update on the so-called Operation Warp Speed ​​program in an address from the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, USA, November 13, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo 2/2

David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Many Republicans in the US Congress reacted to the looming indictment of Donald Trump on Tuesday by describing the criminal justice system as corrupt, in accusations that are similar to their previous opposition to national elections after the former president’s 2020 defeat.

Trump and his allies in the House and Senate have used rhetoric that echoes his false allegations of widespread electoral fraud ahead of his supporters’ deadly attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Critics warn that the current partisan rhetoric could undermine public trust in the courts by undermining the institutional legitimacy of the criminal justice system.

“Trump’s indictment is the culmination of 6 years of Democrats using law enforcement to harass and harass their political enemies. Dictatorships operate like this – the US should be different,” tweeted Sen. Ted Cruz, a hardline Republican who voted to cancel the 2020 election. election results.

Trump says he is innocent of pending charges in New York that involve paying silence money to porn star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign. The details of the charges are not yet clear.

He says the investigation and three other investigations into his attempts to undo his 2020 election defeat and his retention of classified documents after leaving the White House are politically motivated.

Most Democrats warn against challenging the legitimacy of state institutions in defense of Trump, who has regularly spoken out against the fences of democracy and been impeached by Congress twice in his four years in the White House.

“Political leaders must stand up for the American system of government,” said Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren, a member of the House Judiciary Committee who also served on the Congressional investigation into the January 6 attack.

“Undermining the public administration system is a serious matter and a threat to our future,” she said in an interview.

Trump has been rampant in his rhetoric in recent weeks, calling for protests and warning of potential “death and destruction” if charges are brought against him.

He used fiery language hours before his supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to undo his electoral defeat. Five people, including a police officer, were killed during or shortly after this riot, and more than 140 police officers were injured. Damage to the Capitol amounted to millions of dollars.

Focus on Bragg

A majority of Republicans have filed charges against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, accusing the prosecutor of conducting a politically motivated investigation aimed at preventing Trump from being re-elected to the White House in 2024.

After Trump announced on March 18 that he would be arrested in a few days, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives began its own grand jury investigation into Bragg, looking for documents and testimony. They called Bragg’s move an “unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial power” and said the indictment followed years of the office’s search for any grounds to bring charges.

Democrats are questioning whether Congress has the authority to investigate a statewide investigation, especially an investigation conducted under secret grand jury rules.

Bragg, a Democrat, on Friday warned Republican Representatives Jim Jordan, James Comer and Brian Style, who are leading the investigation, against attacks on the criminal justice system.

“You and many of your colleagues have chosen to work with Mr. Trump in an effort to smear and vilify the integrity of elected public prosecutors and trial judges,” the Manhattan prosecutor wrote.

House Republicans continued to resist. Instigator Marjorie Taylor Green said she planned to protest Trump’s court appearance on Tuesday, while Brian Mast went even further and told CNN he would not accept the jury’s results, saying, “I don’t believe the jury will decide.” a fair assessment of it.”

Not all Republicans were quick to question the courts.

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson issued a statement calling for patience and stressing the legal principle that Trump, as a defendant, must be presumed innocent.

“We need to wait for the facts and for our American justice system to work the way it works with thousands of Americans every day,” said Hutchinson, who is considering his own run for the White House in 2024.

Historians, including Princeton University professor Julian Zelizer, have said that Republican statements about Bragg and the criminal justice system follow a long-established party line.

“The party has invested heavily in attacking the legitimacy of institutions, so Trump has fitted in well with the party and continues to be popular,” Zelizer said in an email.

Nicole Hemmer, director of the Rogers Center for the American Presidency (NYSE:) at Vanderbilt University, warned that Republican attacks on the US criminal justice system could end up having dire consequences for courts and juries.

“This is the end of the Deep State rhetoric that Donald Trump has been using since 2016 to sow seeds of distrust in institutions of accountability,” Hemmer said.

“We have not yet seen a catastrophic moment in this abandonment of the ships. But we are starting to see steps towards it, as we saw steps towards January 6 coming from afar.”

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