Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy expressed his concerns on Thursday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is applying a different standard of justice in their investigations into the handling of classified documents by former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.
Trump revealed on Thursday night that he has been summoned to appear at the federal courthouse in Miami on June 13. Special counsel Jack Smith will indict him after conducting a months-long investigation into classified documents that were removed from Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in August 2022.
Trump, maintaining his innocence, took to Truth Social to voice his disbelief that an incumbent president would utilize the justice system against a former president of the United States who also happens to be his leading challenger.
The news drew condemnation from Ramaswamy and other Republicans who view the indictment as evidence of a two-tiered justice system in America—one that goes hard on Trump and soft on Biden.
Ramaswamy, a contender for the GOP nomination against Trump, echoed the former president's sentiments toward the actions of the Biden administration. He cautioned against the United States descending into a state resembling a banana republic, where the Democratic Party utilizes law enforcement to suppress its political opponents.
"I never thought we’d see the day when the U.S. President deputizes the DOJ to arrest his lead rival in the middle of an election. Obama shamefully tried to deputize the FBI to infiltrate Trump’s 2016 campaign, but they’re leaving nothing to chance this time around: the federal police state is outright arresting Trump," Ramaswamy said.
"This is an affront to every citizen: we cannot devolve into a banana republic where the party in power uses police force to arrest its political opponents. It’s hypocritical for the DOJ to selectively prosecute Trump but not Biden," he continued.
Days prior to the news of the indictment, Trump's legal team spent approximately two hours at the DOJ on June 5, discussing their concerns regarding the handling of the case.
'Dark Day' for AmericaTrump consistently maintains that the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago were declassified prior to his departure from office.
Ramaswamy said the "serious legal questions" about the president's power to declassify documents lie with the courts. However, he stressed that "we the people" have the power to determine who governs the nation.
"It would be much easier for me to win this election if Trump weren’t in the race, but I stand for principles over politics," he added, saying that he would pardon Trump if elected and "restore the rule of law in our country."
Trump expressed skepticism about the DOJ's impartiality, highlighting what he and other Republicans say is a discrepancy in treatment he has received compared to Biden with regard to classified documents.
"The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax, even though Joe Biden has 1850 Boxes at the University of Delaware, additional Boxes in Chinatown, D.C., with even more Boxes at the University of Pennsylvania, and documents strewn all over his garage floor where he parks his Corvette, and which is 'secured' by only a garage door that is paper thin, and open much of the time," Trump wrote.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) echoed similar sentiments, noting that Biden "kept classified documents for decades."
"Today is indeed a dark day for the United States of America. It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him," he wrote 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," he added.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) drew attention to the timing of the indictment, coinciding with the FBI's concession to grant access to an unclassified document to members of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability. The document allegedly contains information related to a criminal bribery scheme involving a foreign national and then-Vice President Biden.
"And they wonder why [people] think there [are] two standards for justice," Grassley wrote on Twitter.
The Oversight panel had threatened contempt of Congress proceedings against FBI Director Christopher Wray for withholding the document.
Democrats celebrated the indictment as a demonstration that no individual, regardless of their position, is exempt from the law.
“The former twice-impeached president is now twice-indicted,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) wrote.