House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and his fellow Republicans made a show of outrage over the possible upcoming indictment of former President Donald Trump in the Stormy Daniels hush money case.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office has been investigating the $130,000 hush money payment made to Daniels during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign to keep her quiet about an affair they had years before. Now, a grand jury convened in the case appears to be close to deciding whether it will indict Trump.
Over the weekend, Trump announced that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday and called on his supporters to protest.
“THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK,” Trump said on Truth Social Saturday morning. “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”
Why Trump thinks he will be arrested on Tuesday, specifically, remains unclear.
In response to the possible upcoming arrest, McCarthy said he would direct relevant House committees to investigate the Manhattan DA’s office.
“Here we go again — an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump,” McCarthy tweeted over the weekend. “I’m directing relevant committees to immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.”
But McCarthy also sought to distance himself from Trump’s call for protest, which had echoes of his rhetoric in the run-up to Jan. 6.
“I don’t think people should protest this, no,” McCarthy told reporters from the House GOP retreat. “No one should harm one another on this.”
On Sunday when asked about what he meant when he said that GOP committees should investigate the Manhattan DA’s office, McCarthy indicated the answer to that could come as early as Monday.
But despite the staunch criticism of a possible arrest, McCarthy repeatedly called for calm over the weekend, disagreeing with Trump’s push for his supporters to protest if he is indicted.
MAGA-infused House Republicans joined McCarthy in denouncing the possible indictment and insisted the former president is innocent.
“God Bless President Trump. Real America knows this is all a sham,” House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) tweeted.
He later told Politico that “this is a [George] Soros-backed, crazy, left-wing prosecutor… and he is doing this purely political sham.”
Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) also chimed in, saying the case is based on a “strained, convoluted legal theory.”
“If the Manhattan DA indicts President Trump, he will ultimately win even bigger than he is already going to win,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said on Twitter. “President Trump did nothing wrong…Weaponized Government and Political Persecution are new chapters in their playbook and they will use those methods against anyone who stands in their way.”
But unlike McCarthy, Greene leaned into Trump’s calls for protest.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with calling for protests. Americans have the right to assemble, the right to protest. And that’s an important constitutional right. And he doesn’t have to say peaceful for it to mean peaceful. Of course, he means peaceful,” Greene told reporters, according to Politico. “Of course, President Trump means peaceful protests.”
If he is indicted, Trump would become the first former president ever to face criminal charges.