Trump reportedly faces seven charges stemming from his removal of top-secret documents from the White House and his refusal to give them back, even after being served with a subpoena. The charges include conspiracy to obstruct and willfully retaining national secrets in violation of the Espionage Act. The former president, set to be arraigned in Miami on Tuesday, has denied wrongdoing and maintained he will “of course” plead not guilty.
“For four years, he acted like he was above the law,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said of Trump. “But he should be treated like any other lawbreaker. And today, he has been.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said the indictment signals the former president “put our national security in grave danger as he pursued yet another lawless personal agenda by pilfering and hoarding government documents,” according to NBC News.
But Democratic Rep. Greg Landsman (Ohio) warned that the chaos Trump inspires is unlikely to end with this indictment.
“What he’s doing to this country, the extremism and danger he and his allies present, has to end,” Landsman said. “Only when those who support and enable him decide to be done with this toxic behavior will this all be behind us.”
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), echoed concerns over how Trump’s supporters will react and whether they will threaten the safety of lawmakers, law enforcement and everyday Americans.
“It’s the right thing to do, but there’s danger involved,” Quigley, who sat on the Intelligence Committee during Trump’s first impeachment trial, told Axios.
Quigley appears wary of violence akin to the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, when a mob of Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol.
The former president, who thrives on controversy, is already fundraising off of his indictment and remains the front-runner in the 2024 GOP presidential nomination contest.
Polls show his supporters continue to back him, even as he faces a trial next year on New York charges of falsifying business records in relation to a hush money payment scheme prior to the 2016 presidential election.
He is also under scrutiny in the separate Justice Department investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, and in Georgia for his efforts to undo his 2020 election defeat in the state.
Despite the mounting criminal charges, Republicans rushed to Trump’s defense Thursday, with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) calling out President Joe Biden for the indictment. The White House declined to weigh in on the news.
“I, and every American who believes in the rule of law, stand with President Trump against this grave injustice,” McCarthy wrote on Twitter. “House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable.”
Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) said that while Trump “has long-standing constitutional rights to a trial by jury, to confront his accusers, and to legal counsel,” congressional lawmakers shouldn’t be the ones to fight his case.
“But this case should be litigated in the court of law, not the court of public opinion and most definitely not the halls of Congress,” Goldman said.