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Republicans hoping for 2024 nomination defend Trump against silence affair


Former Vice President Mike Pence recently proclaimed that “history will hold Donald Trump accountable” for trying to overturn the 2020 election results and instigating the January 6, 2021 violent attack on the Capitol.

On Sunday, however, he was one of several rivals or potential candidates for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination who rushed to Trump’s defense, a day after the ex-president called for protests following of what he said was his impending arrest for a felon. investigation in Manhattan.

“I think that tells you everything you need to know about the radical left in this country. It looks like a politically charged lawsuit here,” Pence said in a requested interview on ABC’s “This Week.”

Pence, like several other Republicans seeking to challenge Trump for the presidential nomination or who are aligned with Trump’s rivals, has jumped into the unlikely position of defending the leader of the party they hope to defeat. The positioning is another sign of the extent to which Trump has helped change political norms, as previous candidates may have welcomed inquiries that could have disqualified their political rivals.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg looked into a $130,000 payment former Trump fixer Michael Cohen said he made just before the 2016 election to Stephanie Clifford – an adult film star who goes by the name of Stormy Daniels – to ensure her silence on her alleged affair with Trump. Trump denied the affair but admitted to reimbursing Cohen for the payment to Daniels, “to end the false and extortionate accusations made by her.”

Trump surprised his aides Saturday morning by posting a message in all caps on his Truth Social platform saying he expected to be arrested Tuesday in connection with the investigation.

Several GOP leaders have suggested an indictment would help, rather than hurt, Trump’s campaign to win back the White House.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R), a moderate seeking entry into the race who has said the party is ‘passing’ from Trump, said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ that the accusations ongoing against Trump “build a lot of sympathy for the former president.

Sununu said meeting people earlier on Sunday, “none of them were big Trump supporters, but they all said they felt like he was under attack.”

Sununu also played down the substance of the allegations against Trump. “There are other issues that really have precedent in terms of where this country should go,” Sununu said.

Vivek Ramaswamy has sought to bolster his announced bid for the 2024 Republican nomination by harshly speaking out against Trump. He described it as “the ruling party of this country using the power of the police to shut down its political opposition”.

Ramaswamy, considered a longtime candidate, has also demanded that others join him in this opposition, including Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the United Nations and former governor of South Carolina, who stood launched in the race last month. Haley’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

“We should want to win, not by eliminating competition, but by winning the real trust of voters,” Ramaswamy said. said in a press release he posted on Twitter.

Notably, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who did not officially run in the 2024 race but is considered Trump’s biggest rival among Republicans, had no comment over the weekend on the matter. silence.

But Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), who last November called DeSantis “America’s governor,” said on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that the case against Trump was grossly unfair.

“I think this is one of the worst uses of the justice system we’ve ever seen,” Donalds said. “This will plunge all of America into even greater chaos.”

Then, referring to the Manhattan District Attorney, Donalds added, “What Alvin Bragg is doing is wrong. He shouldn’t go after Donald Trump.

On Sunday afternoon, Trump posted again on Truth Social, saying, “There was no crime, period.” He also called the investigation “misconduct by the prosecutor and interference in an election.”

Many GOP leaders on the Sunday shows expressed no qualms about Trump’s earlier calls to “PROTEST” and “TAKE BACK OUR NATION!” in his posts.

When Pence was asked by ABC’s Jonathan Karl about the possibility of further violence following Trump’s calls for protests, he balked, saying “the American people have a constitutional right to peaceful assembly.” Pence also declined to comment on the merits of the silent payments case.

Pence said he believes the American people “know what happened” after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. “They know the president’s reckless words endangered people on Capitol Hill that day, including me and my family.”

The New York Police Department has held internal meetings, including a Sunday, to discuss options for handling protests around Trump’s possible court appearance. A broader in-person conversation is planned for early this week with representatives from the NYPD and other agencies believed to be involved in security, including the District Attorney’s Office, Secret Service, law enforcement officers from the New York State and state court judges, people familiar with the effort said.

City officials will likely need to determine how much leeway will be given to protesters — including how far from the courthouse they will be allowed and what behavior will be allowed before arrests, according to one of the people, who spoke about the condition of anonymity to share private planning efforts.

The Justice Department recently said more than 999 people who were at the Jan. 6 riot have been arrested on charges including assault, entering a restricted federal building, destroying government property and conspiracy. The Washington Post reported that prosecutors expect the eventual number of people charged with Jan. 6-related crimes to be between 1,600 and 2,100, according to a recent letter.

Law enforcement and court officers are preparing for any confrontation if Trump is arrested in the Manhattan case. Bragg sent a memo to employees that Politico obtained saying his office would “not tolerate attempts by our office to intimidate or threaten the rule of law in New York.”

Bragg added: “Our law enforcement partners will ensure that any specific or credible threats against the office are thoroughly investigated and that the appropriate safeguards are in place so that the 1 600 of us have a safe work environment.”

Meanwhile, the New York Young Republican Club announced it would hold a “peaceful protest” Monday in Lower Manhattan against Alvin Bragg’s “heinous attack” on Trump. “Members only,” he said. “Rally location will be provided on RSVP.”

Fenit Nirappil and Shayna Jacobs contributed reporting.


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