How Republicans and Democrats Reacted to Trump DOJ Indictment

How Republicans and Democrats Reacted to Trump DOJ Indictment
(Left) Former President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., on Jan. 31, 2022. (The Epoch Times); (Right) Attorney General Merrick Garland at the Department of Justice in Washington on July 6, 2022. (Bonnie Cash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
Joseph Lord

Congressional lawmakers are reacting to news that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will indict President Donald Trump over alleged mishandling of classified documents.

Trump said on June 8 that his attorneys were informed of the indictment by DOJ special counsel Jack Smith in connection to the investigation into the handling of classified documents. Trump is the first former U.S. president in history to face criminal action at the federal level. The announcement followed a raid by the FBI last year of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate that allegedly discovered several classified documents in the president's possession.

“The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax,” Trump wrote on his social media platform, Truth Social. He went on to point to the parallel investigation of President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents.

Lawmaker reactions to the news are splitting largely along party lines, with Republicans describing it as a "witch hunt" that poses a "profound danger" to American political norms, while Democrats say it shows that "nobody is above the law."

"It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him. Joe Biden kept classified documents for decades," wrote House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Twitter.

"I, and every American who believes in the rule of law, stand with President Trump against this grave injustice. House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable."

"WITCH HUNT," the House Judiciary Committee, which has been investigating allegations of political weaponization under President Joe Biden's administration, wrote on Twitter.
Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) called it a "sad day for America. God Bless President Trump."

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) connected the development to Republicans' broader concerns about the ways the DOJ and FBI have used their power under Biden.

"Joe Biden has used his Justice Department to go after parents as 'domestic terrorists,' to spy on Catholic parishes, to terrorize & harass prolife Christians—and tonight to indict his top political opponent, Trump. He has trampled the rule of law to benefit himself. He has led the country into profound danger," Hawley said on Twitter, referencing whistleblower allegations that the FBI had planted informants in traditionalist Catholic communities and targeted pro-life individuals with a "threat tag."
"If the people in power can jail their political opponents at will, we don’t have a republic," Hawley said in another tweet.

Other Republicans raised the prospect of abolishing the FBI and DOJ altogether.

"This year, I’ve cosponsored legislation to abolish [the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives] and [the U.S. Department of Education]," Rep. Mike Collins (R-Ga.) said in a post. "Abolishing the corrupt [FBI] and [DOJ] sounds even better."

"#BananaRepublic," Collins added.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) agreed in a lengthy Twitter post, citing Biden's own mishandling of classified documents, for which he has faced no criminal action. She called the indictment "the biggest hypocrisy in modern day history.
"It’s shameful. Pathetic really," Greene said. "A stain on our nation that the FBI and DOJ are so corrupt and they don’t even hide it anymore."

'Nobody Is Above the Law': Democrats React

Democrats, on the other hand, suggested that the indictment shows that the American justice system is working.

Reps. Gerry Connelly (D-Va.), Dwight Evans (D-Pa.), and Adriana Espaillat (D-N.Y.) repeated a common Democrat refrain on matters related to Trump, saying that "no one is above the law."

"No one should be above the law in the United States of America," Evans wrote.
"A friendly reminder… no one is above the law. Not even a former President," Espaillat echoed.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) called the indictment an "affirmation of the rule of law."

"Trump’s apparent indictment on multiple charges arising from his retention of classified materials is another affirmation of the rule of law," Schiff wrote.

"For four years, he acted like he was above the law. But he should be treated like any other lawbreaker. And today, he has been."

Rep. Greg Landsman (D-Ohio) said the indictment was the latest instance of what he called "the chaos of Trump."

"The chaos of Trump continues," Landsman said in a statement. "What he's doing to this country—the extremism and danger he and his allies present—has to end. Only when those who support and enable him decide to be done with this toxic behavior will this all be behind us."
Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) wrote, "No President in American history is better at getting indicted than Donald Trump."
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), a member of the progressive "Squad" in the House, wrote, "The former twice-impeached president is now twice-indicted."

Others compared Trump unflatteringly to President Richard Nixon, who did not face federal indictment over the Watergate scandal in part due to a blanket pardon from his successor, President Gerald Ford. However Nixon, a lifelong politician, was forced to resign and retreat from public life over the allegations.

"At least Nixon went quietly into the night," Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) said on Twitter.

Timing Raises Eyebrows

Many Republicans raised questions about the timing of the indictment.

It came the same day that FBI Director Christopher Wray acceded to a GOP demand to share a document alleging that Biden took a foreign bribe while vice president. Specifically, Biden is accused of taking $5 million to help get Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin—who was investigating the energy firm Burisma, to which the president's son Hunter Biden has connections—fired.

Greene said on Twitter that the document, which she observed on June 8 as part of Wray's deal with Republicans, comes from "the FBI’s most trusted credible informant." If the charges prove true, they could be a precursor to further legal action by House Republicans.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said that he believes the two are connected.

"Imagine being naive enough to believe that the Biden Bribe evidence and Trump indictment happening the same day was a coincidence," Gaetz wrote on Twitter.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who has worked closely with his House analog about the bribery allegations against Biden, echoed the sentiment.

"DOJ indicts former President/candidate Trump [the] SAME DAY DOJ/FBI restricts access to unnecessarily redacted Biden allegations," Grassley said in a tweet. "And they wonder why ppl think there [are] two standards for justice."
Janice Hisle contributed to this report.