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Anti-Trump Republicans rally against ex-US president as Mike Pence says charges are ‘very serious’ – live | Donald Trump

Pence worries Trump charges politicized, but calls indictment ‘very serious’

Former vice-president Mike Pence was Donald Trump’s deputy for four years, and fell out with him only when the then president pushed him to stop Joe Biden from taking office. When Pence announced his presidential campaign last week, he drew a stark contrast between himself and Trump, but that doesn’t mean he’s completely on board with the federal charges against the former president.

“Having read the indictment, these are very serious allegations. And I can’t defend what is alleged. But the President is entitled to his day in court, he’s entitled to bring a defense, and I want to reserve judgment until he has the opportunity to respond,” Pence told the conservative editorial board of the Wall Street Journal in an interview yesterday.

But he also was wary of the fact that the indictment was brought under the Biden administration. “After years of politicization, it’s hard for me to believe that politics didn’t play some role in this decision,” Pence said. He called on attorney general Merrick Garland to explain “what if any role he played, or his judgment played, in the decision to move forward with an unprecedented indictment of a former President of the United States”.

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Top Donald Trump ally Taylor Budowich does not think much of Mike Pence’s stance on the former president’s indictment:

Mike Pence sounds a lot like a less charismatic Asa Hutchinson. No wonder he will soon be joining Asa in the Zero Percent club. https://t.co/aY6BAkUMMv

— Taylor Budowich (@TayFromCA) June 14, 2023

Last week, Budowich, who heads the Maga Inc super Pac, was called to testify before a federal grand jury investigating Trump.

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As the Guardian’s Royce Kurmelovs reports, Fox News was particularly strident in defending Donald Trump following yesterday’s arraignment:

Fox News labelled US president Joe Biden a “wannabe dictator” who attempted to have “his political rival arrested” during a live broadcast of Donald Trump’s post-arraignment speech.

The network was the only major cable news network to carry Trump’s Tuesday evening speech live, with CNN and MSNBC choosing not to air the address.

Towards the end of the speech, viewers were presented with a split screen carrying a separate speech from Biden at the White House. Below the image, the news chyron read: “wannabe dictator speaks at the White House after having his political rival arrested”.

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Donald Trump may have put an end to Mike Huckabee’s White House ambitions by hoovering up his evangelical Christian support base in the 2016 primaries, but the former Arkansas governor and Baptist minister is nonetheless a fan of the ex-president.

In an appearance on Fox Business today, Huckabee reached for the Old Testament to describe Trump’s current legal peril:

“Here’s what I predict: Donald Trump is like the third monkey on the ramp to Noah’s Ark, and brother it’s starting to rain, and this is one monkey that’s going to fight harder than you’ve ever seen a monkey fight.”

— Former AR Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) pic.twitter.com/NxUoyYY8lf

— The Recount (@therecount) June 14, 2023

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Mike Pence went on CNBC this morning to simultaneously express dismay at what Donald Trump is alleged to have done, while insinuating bias in the justice department.

It was pretty much the same thing as what he said to the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, and seems to be indicative of how he’ll handle the investigation of his former boss in his ongoing presidential campaign:

“No one is above the law,” says @Mike_Pence. “I cannot defend what is alleged. The very prospect that highly classified material could have fallen into the wrong hands even inadvertently, jeopardizes our national security. The former president has a right to his day in court.” pic.twitter.com/tHi3cMe1PB

— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) June 14, 2023

As big of a deal as Donald Trump’s arraignment yesterday was, the Guardian’s David Smith reports that court rules denied the public the ability to view key elements of the proceedings:

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With a presidential-style plane and motorcade, a bunch of flag-waving fans and a lawyer shouting alternative facts, the latest season of The Trump Show – let’s call this one The Defendant – again filled every TV screen on Tuesday.

But the most important scene of all was missing. And no one was happier about that than Donald Trump himself.

Americans were denied the chance to see and hear the former US president, the first to face federal criminal charges in America’s 247-year history, sitting in court and taking his medicine.

It was like To Kill a Mockingbird without Atticus Finch’s closing argument or A Few Good Men without Colonel Jessup erupting: “You can’t handle the truth!” Instead of Twelve Angry Men, it was Twelve Angry Maga Men waving flags outside court.

House Republicans announce hearing with special counsel that disproved deep-state plot against Trump

The Republican-led House judiciary committee announced it would on 21 June hold a hearing with former justice department special counsel John Durham, author of a much-hyped report which found that though the FBI bungled parts of its investigation into Donald Trump’s ties with Russia, there was no proof of a deep-state conspiracy against the then president.

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The committee is chaired by Jim Jordan, a prominent defender of Trump among House Republicans, who has this year been leading a subcommittee aimed at proving to voters that “weaponization of the federal government” is to blame for the criminal cases against the former president.

If you are wondering what Donald Trump did after his history-making indictment in Florida yesterday, the Guardian’s Maanvi Singh has the answer:

Hours after facing criminal charges for the alleged mishandling of classified documents, Donald Trump told a crowd of supporters at his golf resort in New Jersey that his indictments were a “corrupt” and “political pursuit” designed to destroy him.

Donors and supporters chanted Trump’s name, cheered him on and sang “happy birthday”. “I just got charged,” joked the former president, who turns 77 on Wednesday. “A wonderful birthday.”

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The former president was in Miami earlier in the day for his arraignment in the classified documents case. Federal prosecutors have accused him of wilfully withholding classified documents and obstructing justice, charging him with 37 federal counts including 31 violations of the Espionage Act.

Pence worries Trump charges politicized, but calls indictment ‘very serious’

Former vice-president Mike Pence was Donald Trump’s deputy for four years, and fell out with him only when the then president pushed him to stop Joe Biden from taking office. When Pence announced his presidential campaign last week, he drew a stark contrast between himself and Trump, but that doesn’t mean he’s completely on board with the federal charges against the former president.

“Having read the indictment, these are very serious allegations. And I can’t defend what is alleged. But the President is entitled to his day in court, he’s entitled to bring a defense, and I want to reserve judgment until he has the opportunity to respond,” Pence told the conservative editorial board of the Wall Street Journal in an interview yesterday.

But he also was wary of the fact that the indictment was brought under the Biden administration. “After years of politicization, it’s hard for me to believe that politics didn’t play some role in this decision,” Pence said. He called on attorney general Merrick Garland to explain “what if any role he played, or his judgment played, in the decision to move forward with an unprecedented indictment of a former President of the United States”.

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Anti-Trump Republicans rally as Pence says ‘can’t defend’ former boss over charges

Good morning, US politics blog readers. What a day yesterday was. After becoming the first former president ever to be federally indicted, Donald Trump appeared in court in Miami and pleaded not guilty to dozens of federal charges related to the classified government documents found at Mar-a-Lago. The hearing was merely the start of what is expected to be a long legal road for Trump, which could lead to him doing jail time, or simply being pardoned if he or a fellow Republican wins the White House in 2024.

Polls continue to show a solid majority of GOP voters back him and view the charges as politically motivated, but anti-Trump Republicans pointed to the unprecedented indictment as evidence that the former president cannot be allowed his job back.

The latest counterargument came from Mike Pence, who reversed his earlier wariness towards the prosecution by telling the Wall Street Journal “I can’t defend what is alleged”. We’ll keep an eye out today if the political calculus changes further.

Here’s what else is going on today:

  • The state department just announced secretary Antony Blinken will travel to Beijing later this month, likely in a bid to cool tensions with China that have climbed for various reasons lately, including over the country’s affinity for spy balloons.

  • White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre briefs the press at 1.45pm ET. Will she finally offer the Biden administration’s official view on Trump’s indictment to the reporters that are sure to inquire? Almost certainly not, but you can expect them to try.

  • House Republicans have long mulled impeaching homeland security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and while they haven’t decided whether or not to go through with that yet, the homeland security committee is at 10am holding a hearing on “Secretary Mayorkas’s Dereliction of Duty”.

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Chris Stein

Published: 2023-06-14 16:00:57

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