Mike Pence defends Trump, says Manhattan DA case against ex-boss is political
Former Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday accused Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg of conducting a “political prosecution” against former President Donald Trump.
Mr Pence came to the defense of his former boss after Mr Trump claimed he would be arrested on Tuesday and called on his supporters to protest his impending indictment over alleged silent money payments in 2016.
“Well, like a lot of Americans, I’m just, I’m surprised,” Mr. Pence told SiriusXM’s Breitbart News and host Matt Boyle on Saturday.
“You literally have a Democratic Party that literally dismantled the criminal justice system in this city, undermined the NYPD, and that’s what the Manhattan DA says is their top priority?” he said. “It smacks of the kind of political prosecution we faced during the days of the Russian hoax and all the impeachment over the phone.”
Mr. Pence, a potential challenger to Mr. Trump for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, has been highly critical of the former president for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol in many recent public statements.
But Mr. Pence’s response to Mr. Trump’s potential indictment in Manhattan signals that his feud with the former president may have its limits.
Earlier this week, Mr. Pence told reporters that he would not call on Mr. Trump to withdraw from the 2024 race if he was indicted.
“Listen, this is a free country. Everyone can make their own decisions,” Mr. Pence said, according to Politico.
In an article on Truth Social on Saturday, the former president cited information leaked from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office that he would be arrested in the coming days.
A spokesman for Mr. Bragg declined to comment.
A spokesperson for Mr. Trump said the former president had received no official notification from prosecutors of an impending arrest “other than unlawful leaks from the Justice Department and the prosecutor’s office, to NBC and to other fake media”.
“President Trump rightly points out his innocence and the weaponization of our system of injustice,” the spokesperson told The Washington Times.
A Manhattan grand jury heard from witnesses in a multi-year investigation into payments Mr Trump allegedly made to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal in 2016 through his lawyer Michael Cohen .
Mr. Cohen, who pleaded guilty to violations of campaign finance law and lying to Congress, said the payments were to buy his silence about previous dealings with Mr. Trump.
Mr Trump denied the allegations and called the investigation a “witch hunt”.
Ms Daniels has met with prosecutors in recent weeks. Two former aides to Mr Trump – former political adviser Kellyanne Conway and former spokeswoman Hope Hicks – also met with prosecutors.
Law enforcement officials in New York have been making security preparations for Mr. Trump’s possible indictment.
Mr. Bragg has not publicly announced a deadline for the grand jury to conclude its work on the case or any potential vote on whether to indict Mr. Trump.
Mr Trump would become the first former president in US history to face impeachment if it occurs.
Mr. Pence’s reaction on Saturday mirrored that of other GOP figures.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy accused Mr. Bragg of “an outrageous abuse of power” and called on Congress to immediately investigate possible election interference through “politically motivated prosecutions” targeting Mr. Trump.
“Here we go again – an outrageous abuse of power by a radical prosecutor who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues his political revenge against President Trump,” McCarthy wrote in a Twitter post on Saturday. . “I call on the appropriate committees to immediately investigate whether federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, who led the first impeachment trial against Mr. Trump, accused Mr. McCarthy of trying to shield the former president from accountability.
“Kevin McCarthy is once again acting as criminal defense attorney to shield Trump from liability,” the California Democrat wrote on Twitter. “Reckless of the consequences for the country, he stirs the pot, and asks for an investigation by the investigators.”
“It’s all part of Trump’s playbook,” he wrote.
House Republican Conference Speaker Elise Stefanik, a Republican from New York, warned that the indictment would usher in a disturbing new era in American politics.
“It’s not American and the radical left has hit a dangerous new low in third world countries,” Ms Stefanik said. “What these corrupt left-wing prosecutors like Alvin Bragg and their socialist allies fail to understand is that America’s earliest patriots have never been more motivated to exercise their constitutional rights to peacefully organize and VOTE at the ballot box for save our great republic.”
Other Republican presidential candidates have also come to Mr. Trump’s defense.
Vivek Ramaswamy, who is challenging Mr Trump for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, said an “impeachment of Trump would be a national disaster”.
“It is unAmerican for the ruling party to use police power to arrest political rivals,” Ramaswamy wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “This will mark a dark moment in American history and undermine public confidence in our electoral system itself. I call on the Manhattan District Attorney to reconsider this action and set aside partisan politics in the service of preserving our constitutional republic.