OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A prominent former Democrat governor who has had his share of controversies has said that the indictment of former President Donald Trump was the greatest threat to the nation since the start of the Civil War.
“This is probably, I would say, the most threatening thing to our republic since South Carolina fired shots at Fort Sumter at the start of the Civil War,” former Democrat Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said to Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Thursday.
Blagojevich was impeached, prosecuted, and convicted on federal corruption charges in 2009 when he and was incarcerated for eight years.
Rod Blagojevich: "This is probably…the most threatening thing to our republic since South Carolina fired shots at Fort Sumter at the start of the Civil War." pic.twitter.com/YNG5PQS4PH
— Republican Accountability (@AccountableGOP) March 31, 2023
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy declared that Congress will take action after former President Trump was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury, calling it “election interference” given Trump is running for president in 2024.
The case involves Trump’s alleged role in hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election, allegedly to keep Daniels quiet about an affair the two of them had in 2006.
“Alvin Bragg has irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our Presidential election,” McCarthy tweeted. “The American people will not tolerate this injustice, and the House of Representatives will hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account.”
Many other Republicans issued strong statements in support of Trump.
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Thursday night that the state will not cooperate with any request to extradite Trump.
“The weaponization of the legal system to advance a political agenda turns the rule of law on its head. It is un-American. The Soros-backed Manhattan District Attorney has consistently bent the law to downgrade felonies and to excuse criminal misconduct. Yet, now he is stretching the law to target a political opponent. Florida will not assist in an extradition request given the questionable circumstances at issue with this Soros-backed Manhattan prosecutor and his political agenda,” DeSantis said.
Extradition would only be required if Trump refused to leave his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida to attend an arraignment hearing in New York.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise tweeted: “The sham New York indictment of President Donald Trump is one of the clearest examples of extremist Democrats weaponizing government to attack their political opponents. Outrageous.”
Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley said: “Tonight’s indictment of Donald Trump isn’t about the law. It’s about power. Raw power. It’s the Democrat Party telling the nation they will stop at nothing to control the outcome of the next presidential election. It is an assault on our democracy, pure and simple.”
Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and 2024 GOP presidential candidate, tweeted: “From everything I have seen from this New York district attorney is that this would be something he’d be doing for political points. I think what we know is, when you get into political prosecutions like this, it’s more about revenge than it is about justice.”
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz responded: “The Democrat Party’s hatred for Donald Trump knows no bounds. The ‘substance’ of this political persecution is utter garbage. This is completely unprecedented and is a catastrophic escalation in the weaponization of the justice system.”
The Democrat Party’s hatred for Donald Trump knows no bounds. The “substance” of this political persecution is utter garbage.
This is completely unprecedented and is a catastrophic escalation in the weaponization of the justice system.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 30, 2023
Manhattan District Attorney Bragg responded last week to a potential indictment and arrest of former President Donald Trump. Bragg issued a vague statement that did not provide any information about what might happen next.
Bragg sent a letter to members of the House Judiciary Committee after they sent their own letter “demanding communications, documents, and testimony relating to Bragg’s unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority and the potential indictment of former President Donald Trump.”
In his letter, the Manhattan DA said his office will “publicly state the conclusion of our investigation—whether we conduct our work without bringing charges, or move forward with an indictment.”
Bragg also addressed the letter the House Judiciary Committee previously sent to his office and said, “Your letter dated March 20, 2023, (the ‘Letter’), in contrast, is an unprecedented inquiry into a pending local prosecution. The letter only came after Donald Trump created a false expectation that he would be arrested the next day and his lawyers reportedly urged you to intervene. Neither fact is a legitimate basis for a congressional inquiry.”