Rep. Jamie Raskin speaks during a committee hearing

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) speaks during a committee hearing on June 7, 2023 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

(Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Jamie Raskin Warns GOP Against 'Dangerous Rhetoric' After Trump Indictment

"Instead of trying to divide the country and undercut our legal system, congressional Republicans should respect the outcome of the special counsel's comprehensive investigation."

Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin on Thursday warned his Republican colleagues against attempting to delegitimize the special counsel investigation that led to a federal indictment against Donald Trump after many GOP lawmakers did just that, rallying around the former president and echoing his condemnation of the probe as a "witch hunt."

"Instead of trying to divide the country and undercut our legal system, congressional Republicans should respect the outcome of the special counsel's comprehensive investigation and the decisions of the citizens serving on the grand jury," said Raskin (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee.

"Dangerous rhetoric about a 'two-tiered system of justice'—discriminating against the rich no less—in order to prop up the twice-impeached former president not only undermines the Department of Justice but betrays the essential principle of justice that no one is above the commands of law, not even a former president or a self-proclaimed billionaire."

A number of prominent Republicans, including House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), erupted in response to news of the indictment in the classified documents case, which makes Trump the first ex-president to face federal charges. Trump is widely seen as the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Gaetz took to Twitter to decry the indictment as "an attempt to distract the American public" from "millions of dollars in bribes" that the Biden family, including the president himself and his son Hunter, has supposedly taken from "foreign nationals"—a claim that House Republicans have been pursuing for months without anything to show for it.

"This scheme won't succeed," Gaetz wrote late Thursday. "President Donald Trump will be back in the White House and Joe Biden will be Hunter's cellmate."

Jordan, who is currently seeking unredacted documents related to Special Counsel Jack Smith's investigation of Trump, said after news of the indictment broke that "it's a sad day for America."

"God bless President Trump," added Jordan, who was recently sued by the Manhattan district attorney for interfering in a separate investigation that produced a 34-count felony indictment against the former president.

Other Republicans, including Trump's 2024 rival Ron DeSantis, offered similarly outraged reactions to the classified documents indictment before even seeing it, alleging "weaponization" of the Justice Department against Trump and claiming the former president is the victim of a "two-tiered system of justice."

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), for his part, signaled that the congressional GOP will attempt to retaliate.

"House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable," McCarthy tweeted.

As The New York Timesnoted Thursday, "members of Congress have no power to stop criminal charges, but they can attempt to interfere with prosecutors through their legislative powers, such as issuing subpoenas, demanding witness interviews or documents, restricting Justice Department funding and using the platform of their offices to attempt to publicly influence the case."

Trump is reportedly facing seven total counts in the classified documents case, including willful retention of national defense secrets, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy—charges that could carry years in prison.

The former president said he's been instructed to appear in court in Miami on Tuesday. ABC Newsreported that the federal indictment against Trump "is expected to be a 'speaking indictment' that will lay out chapter and verse the government's case to the public."

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