Some Trump rivals are rallying on his side as possible indictments loom

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (AP) — Top Republicans, including some Donald Trump’s potential rivals for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination rushed to his defense the following Saturday Trump said he was braced for a possible arrest.

The reaction underscores the political risks faced by potential adversaries bent on convincing voters it’s time to ditch the former president. But they also acknowledge the numerous investigations – Trump’s post on social media around the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation that have led to the public statements of support – remain deeply unpopular with his supporters, who fear alienating his loyal base.

Among those who came to Trump’s side was House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who said a possible indictment would be “an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who allows violent criminals to run free while seeking political revenge” against Trump.

McCarthy, R-Calif., said he will direct relevant GOP-led House of Representatives committees to “immediately investigate whether federal funds are being used to undermine our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated law enforcement activities.” McCarthy didn’t support Trump’s campaign in the White House, but he did Trump helped McCarthy secure the speakership after a controversial, multiple round of voting.

The comments came hours after Trump claimed in a social media post that he expects to be arrested in the coming week New York City Attorney Alvin Bragg is considering charges in an investigation into hush money payments to women who allegedly had sexual encounters with Trump. A lawyer and spokesman for Trump said Saturday that Trump, who has long denied the allegations, responded to media reports in the post and has no independent knowledge of pending court cases.

Trump nonetheless declared in a message on his Truth Social network, “THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES WILL BE ARRESTED TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK.” Then he called out to his supporters, “PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST!!!” on. recalling the requests he made before Uprising in the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Any potential violence sparked by Trump’s comments could change the tenor of the reaction. But on Saturday, some of Trump’s stated and potential rivals were quick to blast the prosecutor’s investigation.

“Well, like many Americans, I’m just amazed,” said former Vice President Mike Pence, who is widely expected to join the race in the coming weeks, and has escalated his criticism of Trump.

In an interview with SiriusXM’s Breitbart News, he said the investigation “smacks of the kind of political persecution we endured in the days of the Russia hoax and the whole phone-call impeachment. And the only thing I know is that I know that former President Trump can take care of himself.”

Pence was noncommittal when asked on Thursday whether Trump should step out if he is impeached. “I think it’s a free country. Everyone can make their own decisions,” he said.

Trump has said he would continue his presidential campaign even if impeached.

Vivek Ramaswamythe conservative tech investor, who’s already a declared candidate, urged Bragg to reconsider.

“Impeaching Trump would be a national disaster,” Ramaswamy tweeted. “It is un-American for the ruling party to use police power to arrest its political rivals.”

“Let the American people decide who governs,” he added. “This will mark a dark moment in American history and erode public confidence in our electoral system itself.”

Representatives for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, another potential candidate believed to be Trump’s most serious rival, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives and an early Trump supporter, said an action by the district attorney was “un-American.”

“Knowing that they cannot beat President Trump at the ballot box, the radial left will now follow the example of socialist dictators and reportedly arrest President Trump, the leading Republican nominee for President of the United States,” she said in one Statement in which she repeated Trump’s language.

Ohio Senator JD Vance, who won his 2022 race with Trump’s endorsement, said he was asked by several reporters if an impeachment would cause him to quash support for Trump.

“The answer is, Hell no. A politically motivated indictment reinforces the case for Trump,” he tweeted. “We just don’t have a real country when justice depends on politics.”

Prosecutors are investigating hush money payments made to two women who alleged sexual encounters with Trump decades ago. A grand jury heard witnesses including Ex-Trump attorney Michael Cohenwho says he orchestrated payments to the women in 2016 in exchange for their silence.

Trump denies the encounters and has called the investigation a “witch hunt” by a Democratic prosecutor intent on sabotaging Trump’s recent presidential campaign. Trump has said he believes an indictment would help him in the 2024 race.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., a longtime ally, agreed.

“The New York City Attorney did more to help get Donald Trump elected,” Graham said Saturday at the Vision ’24 conference in North Charleston, South Carolina. “They are doing this because they are afraid of Donald Trump.


Colvin reported from New York. Associated Press writers Holly Ramer of Keene, New Hampshire and Michelle R. Smith of Providence, Rhode Island contributed to this report.

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