Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Friday broke with his party by praising the Department of Justice for excercising “due care” in its investigation and indictment of former President Donald Trump over his alleged mishandling of classified documents.
“By all appearances, the Justice Department and special counsel have exercised due care, affording Mr. Trump the time and opportunity to avoid charges that would not generally have been afforded to others,” Romney said in a statement.
“Mr. Trump brought these charges upon himself by not only taking classified documents, but by refusing to simply return them when given numerous opportunities to do so,” he added.
Romney called the allegations “serious” and said that if proven, they “would be consistent with his other actions offensive to the national interest, such as withholding defensive weapons from Ukraine for political reasons and failing to defend the Capitol from violent attack and insurrection.”
The indictment is still under seal, but Trump announced the news on his social media website Truth Social, proclaiming himself innocent and divulging that he is to report to a federal courthouse in Miami next week. There are reportedly multiple federal counts against him, ranging from willful retention of national defense information to conspiracy.
Romney, a vocal Trump critic, previously criticized Trump’s first indictment, which included charges that he falsified records regarding a $130,000 hush money payment to a porn star. He called that case “political” and the prosecutor’s case an “overreach.”
Top Republican lawmakers and even some 2024 presidential candidates rushed to the defense of Trump on Thursday, even though the Department of Justice has yet to unveil the charges and lay out the evidence against the former president, who is seeking the GOP nomination again.
“It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him. Joe Biden kept classified documents for decades. I, and every American who believes in the rule of law, stand with President Trump,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in a statement, alleging that Biden had been involved in the decision, even though the charges were brought by an independent special counsel.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.