Legislators are responding to the additional charges leveled against ex-President Donald Trump by Special Counsel Jack Smith on Thursday night, as part of his probe into the alleged mishandling of classified documents during Trump’s presidency.
Smith, appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland, expanded the indictment by including two counts of obstruction and a count of intentional retention of national defense information.
Republicans are expressing growing opposition to these legal developments, which Trump has argued constitutes a case of “election interference.”
In addition to three fresh charges against Trump, Carlos De Oliveira, the chief maintenance officer at Mar-a-Lago, was included in the original indictment’s obstruction conspiracy charge.
De Oliveira is reported to have helped Walt Nauta, a Trump aide, relocate boxes of classified documents within Mar-a-Lago following the Department of Justice’s initial subpoena last May. According to court documents, De Oliveira informed an IT employee that Trump had requested the deletion of the estate’s surveillance footage. Fresh charges were also leveled against Nauta.
Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) suggested that the addition of these charges was not coincidental, occurring after the collapse of Hunter Biden’s plea agreement with the Department of Justice on Wednesday. He emphasized that the Republican lawmakers “cannot allow this to stand.”
“Now we’re down to charging like random people just throwing those into the indictments,” Hawley said.
“Is it any coincidence that the DOJ rushes to add these new indictments today after the Hunter debacle, after their own self-dealing and two-timing is exposed after they tried to hide from us the true extent of this plea deal that gets blown up, and then it’s like, ‘Oh, we got to go indict Trump on something else,’” Hawley said on Fox News.
“It’s so brazen right now, what they’re doing,” Hawley said. “It is really a subversion of the rule of law. I mean, they’re taking the rule of law, turning it on its head, and we cannot allow this to stand.”
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) slammed what she called a ‘two-tiered justice system.’
“The DOJ’s decision to pursue additional charges against President Trump is further evidence of the politicization of our nation’s top prosecutorial agency,” Blackburn wrote. “Amid AG Garland’s dismissal of wrongdoing by Hunter Biden & Hillary Clinton, Tennesseans are tired of two tiers of justice.”
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) discussed the most recent charges while addressing the audience at the Voters Tomorrow summit in Washington, D.C., transcending party divisions.
@SpeakerPelosi, speaking at @VotersTomorrow summit, re latest Trump charges: “The very idea that we’re talking about such things … the very idea that his supporters think he is above the law.” pic.twitter.com/rXhwgmWTjg
— Erin Doherty (@erinpdoherty) July 27, 2023
“The very idea that we’re talking about such things … the very idea that his supporters think he is above the law,” Pelosi said.
“Some thug has now turned the Republican Party into a cult to him,” Pelosi said about Trump. “I used to call him a pig, but I thought at least a pig has bacon.”
Donald Trump faces at least 40 charges stemming from the alleged “classified documents” scandal. Meanwhile, Robert Hur has not brought any charges against