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Trump’s GOP allies rally to his defense, blasting indictment as a ‘catastrophic escalation’ and a ‘politically motivated prosecution’

Donald TrumpFormer U.S. President Donald Trump.

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

  • A Manhattan grand jury voted to indict Trump on Thursday.
  • Trump’s allies in Congress defended him as he faces criminal charges.
  • He is the first former president in history to be indicted. 

Former President Donald Trump’s Republican allies in Congress are rallying to his defense after a Manhattan grand jury on Thursday voted to indict him — the first former president in American history to face criminal charges. 

The indictment, which has not been made public yet, is likely over Trump’s role in a hush-money payment made during his 2016 presidential campaign to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. 

“President Donald Trump always fought for us. He puts the American people above corrupt interests. For that reason alone, the powerful will never stop coming for him,” Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida said shortly after the indictment news broke.

“A majority of Americans know Alvin Bragg’s witch hunt is a politically motivated prosecution,” Gaetz continued, referring to the Manhattan district attorney. “I continue to stand with President Trump as he has always stood with us.”

“This is completely unprecedented and is a catastrophic escalation in the weaponization of the justice system,” Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said. 

The Manhattan grand jury has been investigating Trump’s connection to a $130,000 payment made to Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. 

Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen testified that, with Trump’s approval, he facilitated the payment to Daniels in exchange for her silence about an affair she claimed she had with Trump in 2006. Prosecutors say the payment was an illegal campaign contribution.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and rejects that the payment was unlawful. He decried the indictment in a lengthy statement on Thursday, calling it a political witch hunt.  

“Never before in our Nation’s history has this been done. The Democrats have cheated countless times over the decades, including spying on my campaign, but weaponizing our justice system to punish a political opponent, who just so happens to be a President of the United States and by far the leading Republican candidate for President, has never happened before. Ever,” Trump said.

The criminal charges come as Trump pursues a 2024 presidential campaign and is widely considered the GOP frontrunner.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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