The Manhattan grand jury is considering charges related to a $130,000 hush money payment to a porn star, and Trump could become the first former president to be criminally charged. However, Schmitt, who is one of five senators to have already pledged support for Trump’s reelection, dismissed any imminent indictment as a political attack with little merit.
“This is a political prosecution in search of a crime that won’t affect my support of President Trump,” Schmitt stated in an interview with the Washington Examiner on Wednesday. “I think this is a very, very dangerous road to go down.”
Trump’s situation poses a threat to Republican Party unity and sidetracks their messaging plans. Schmitt, who was endorsed by Trump during his Senate race, defended the former president and condemned Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is leading the investigation. Schmitt sought to discredit Bragg by linking him to Democratic donor and businessman George Soros, who had offered financial support to Bragg during his 2021 campaign.
Other Republicans refuse to weigh in ahead of a possible indictment. Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, sidestepped a question on whether or not he’d be comfortable with Trump as the GOP nominee if he were to face criminal charges.
“That’s a hypothetical question that’s a long way off. We have a number of candidates who are looking at and have already joined the race,” Thune said during a press conference on Wednesday. “I don’t think it would be in any Republican’s best interest to speculate about what might happen in a Republican primary.”
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