Top Republicans Slam Plans to Prosecute Trump
NEW YORK - Prosecuting Donald Trump would be a politically motivated move by his opponents, senior Republicans say.
The former US president said his arrest could happen this week, based on media reports.
The case focuses on alleged hush money paid on Trump's behalf by his lawyer to porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Trump has pledged to continue his campaign to become the Republican nominee in the 2024 presidential election, even if he is indicted. It is not yet known if he is going to be criminally charged or even, beyond the most basic details, what any indictment might contain.
Former US vice-president Mike Pence and the most senior Republican in the US Congress, Kevin McCarthy, have both spoken out against any criminal prosecution.
Pence said Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, who is a Democrat, is carrying out a "politically charged prosecution" against Trump. "I'm taken aback at the idea of indicting a former president of the United States, at a time when there's a crime wave in New York City," Pence said. "The fact that the Manhattan DA [district attorney] thinks that indicting President Trump is his top priority, I think is, just tells you everything you need to know about the radical left in this country," he added.
Trump has called for mass protests from supporters and accused Bragg's office of "illegal leaks" to journalists.
Asked about the call for protests, Pence said that US citizens have a "constitutional right to peaceably assemble" - but also said any action must take place "peacefully and in a lawful manner".
Speaker of the US House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy called the investigation "an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA". In a tweet, he also promised to investigate whether federal money is being used to interfere in elections "with politically motivated prosecutions".
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