Multiple media sources reported Thursday night that former President Donald Trump had been indicted on several counts as part of the Biden Department of Justice’s special counsel probe into his handling of classified documents. According to his attorney Jim Trusty, at least one charge is that Trump violated the Espionage Act.
“The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax,” Trump said in a statement, “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.”
“I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!” (emphasis original), he added.
Trump is already awaiting trial by the Manhattan District Attorney on charges related to the handling of business records. Most legal observers say the case is weak at best, feeding the belief among Trump supporters that progressive District Attorney Alvin Bragg is politically motivated.
Republicans, including many who do not support Trump in the 2024 primary, say they are troubled by the treatment of the former president. They fear the indictment, particularly with the treatment of Hillary Clinton and Biden as a backdrop, will undermine trust in the justice system.
“The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society,” Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) said via Twitter. We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending on political affiliation. Why so zealous in pursuing Trump yet so passive about Hillary or Hunter (Biden)?”
Vivek Ramaswamy, who was in New Hampshire campaigning when the news broke, released a statement condemning the indictments.
“I never thought we would see the day when the U.S. President deputizes the DOJ to arrest his lead rival in the middle of an election,” Ramaswamy said, adding: “The federal police state is outright arresting Trump.”
And former Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that an indictment “would send a terrible message to the world.”
How will Granite State Republicans respond to the news?
Longtime Trump supporter and 2024 campaign co-chair Bruce Breton reflected the mood of many in the NHGOP MAGA base: “This is strike three for the deep state And they will not stop another Trump presidency,” Breton told NHJournal.
“These indictments constitute the most serious legal challenge Trump has ever faced, and they will galvanize his most ardent supporters as well as his increasingly bold primary challengers,” said GOP strategist Jim Merrill. “They also serve as a reminder that nothing has changed since the golden escalator ride in 2015. The GOP is seen, shaped, steered, and seared by and through the ever-present prism of Trump.”
Republican communications professional Alicia Xanthopoulos was less kind.
“Cultists will cult. The rest of us will see the time of the Trump era must end for the good of this nation.”
“It’s too soon to evaluate. But it ain’t good,” said longtime New Hampshire political professional Tom Rath. “Those who have been with him forever will still be there and view this as evidence of the conspiracy against him. Those who haven’t been fans will use this as further validation to look elsewhere.
“If I were on the Trump defense team, I would be very concerned, and their client’s biggest challenge is keeping his mouth shut. This case will not be decided in the newspapers but in the courtroom. He better understand that.
“The wheels of justice grind very slowly, but they do grind. This is real. They and he better understand that. This is not reality TV. This is reality,” Rath added.
House Majority Leader Jason Osborne (R-Auburn) is supporting DeSantis, but he sees bias in the Biden Justice Department’s actions.
“It is sad that six years of the Trump and Biden administrations have delivered such an inequitable application of law enforcement,” Osborne said. “Hillary and Hunter seem to be ignored while President Trump seems to be under a microscope of scrutiny, even after we have endured such hoaxes as the ‘Russia conspiracy.’
“I have great confidence that the forthcoming DeSantis administration will clean house and restore Constitutional order to the law enforcement bureaucracy and the entire administrative state.”