(Washington) Republican heavyweights denounced Sunday a “political” relentlessness against Donald Trump, who could become the first former American president to be indicted, the Democrats worrying them that the billionaire’s calls to demonstrate could lead to further violence from his supporters.
The possibility of Donald Trump being indicted has suddenly grown closer since he was asked to testify in the so-called “Stormy Daniels” case, a possible sign that the New York prosecutor’s investigation is coming to an end. It concerns a payment dating from 2016, to buy the silence of this pornographic actress on a supposed former affair.
On Saturday, the former Republican president, who is running for president again in 2024, said he would be “arrested” on Tuesday, and called on his supporters to “save America” and “protest.”
In the process, many Republicans came to his defense, foremost among them the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, who denounced an “abuse of power” on the part of the New York State Attorney for Manhattan , Alvin Bragg.
Even former Vice President Mike Pence, who nevertheless dissociated himself from Donald Trump after the attack on the Capitol by his supporters on January 6, 2021, gave his support to the billionaire on Sunday.
The lawsuits are “politically motivated”, judged his former right-hand man, who himself has ambitions for 2024 and therefore takes care of his image with the Republican base. He said he was “dismayed” that a former president could be indicted by this prosecutor “at the time of a crime wave in New York.”
“Americans have a constitutional right to peacefully assemble,” he added.
On the Democratic side, such a defense was deemed irresponsible.
Mr. Pence puts “his ambition above the public interest” by “attacking potential lawsuits against Trump and defending a call to protest”, tackled on Twitter the elected of the House Adam Schiff, former member of the parliamentary commission that investigated the assault on the Capitol.
“There is no reason to protest,” Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren also said on Sunday. “This is about justice working as it should, without fear or privilege for anyone. »
The day before, the elected Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who presided over the House of Representatives on January 6, 2021, called Donald Trump’s calls to demonstrate “dangerous”.
“It will be important for law enforcement to pay attention to these protests and ensure they don’t escalate to the level of violence” of January 6, Arizona Democratic Senator Mark Kelly said Sunday. , who replied in the affirmative to a journalist asking him if he was worried.
According to press reports, prosecutor Alvin Bragg assured his teams that no “attempted intimidation” or threats would be “tolerated”.
Such an unprecedented indictment would undoubtedly be explosive and could mark the campaign for the 2024 presidential election.
Although, according to American journalists, the former tenant of the White House fears the prospect of an arrest, an indictment could also benefit him by galvanizing his base.
“The prosecutor in New York did more to help Donald Trump get elected president than anyone in the United States today,” influential Senator Lindsey Graham said Saturday, calling the New York prosecution a “selective”.
The lawsuits will “create a lot of sympathy for the former president,” said Republican New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, who predicted “a political circus.”
The criminal investigation focuses on a $130,000 payment to actress Stormy Daniels – real name Stephanie Clifford – to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Mr. Trump. This payment took place in 2016, just before the presidential election finally won by the billionaire.
The New York City prosecutor’s office considers it to be influencing the election by preventing embarrassing information from being made public, and thus a concealed donation to the President’s campaign, in violation of campaign finance laws.