(CNN) Key House Republican leaders lined up to defend former President Donald Trump on Thursday following news that Trump Indicted by a Manhattan grand jury — a sign of the powerful grip Trump still has on his party on Capitol Hill.
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy He tweeted that “The American people will not tolerate this injustice,” he criticized Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. “The House of Representatives will hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account,” he said.
The number two House Republican — Majority Leader Steve Scalise — called it “atrocious.” In a tweet, Scalise That the charge sheet “One of the clearest examples of radical Democrats weaponizing the government to attack their political opponents.”
House GOP conference chairman Rep. Elise Stefanik released a statement calling the accusation a “political witch hunt” and “a dark day for America.”
The response came from key Republicans in Congress, who said the indictment against Trump would be filed under seal and announced in the coming days. The allegations are not publicly known at this time, a source told CNN.
However, it is notable that the top two Senate Republicans have so far remained silent in the wake of news of the indictment.
The silence of Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Whip John Thune underscores the divide within the Republican Party over the former president. McConnell and Thune have made no secret of their desire to cross Trump, while McCarthy has credited Trump with helping him win the speakership.
A member of the Senate GOP leadership, Sen. John Cornyn gave CNN a brief comment on the news of Trump’s impeachment.
“It looks to me like an opportunity to make these DA headlines and get publicity,” he said.
Trump is in touch with key allies
Trump called on key allies on Capitol Hill Thursday night to rally support in the wake of his impeachment, including members of the House GOP leadership and lawmakers who serve on committees trying to investigate the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Well versed in dialogues.
In the phone calls, which the source described as a “check-in,” Trump told associates he planned to fight the charges and proceed against the indictment and Bragg.
Stefanik has been in contact with Trump since his impeachment, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.
Stefanik, a 4th House Republican, has backed Trump in the 2024 presidential race and has been a key ally of the former president. At a House GOP retreat in Florida, Stefanik — who serves on a subcommittee called Disarmament of the Federal Government — revealed that she had spoken with Trump and informed him of the House GOP’s plans to aggressively investigate the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
After the indictment, Sen. Trump also spoke with Lindsey Graham, a person familiar with the matter said.
GOP lawmakers are quick to respond to the accusation
News of the indictment came hours after lawmakers on Capitol Hill left for a two-week Easter break. The halls of the Capitol were silent. On social media, Republicans were very vocal.
It was only minutes after news of the accusation broke that some of his fiercest defenders on Capitol Hill rushed to his defense.
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan tweeted.
“BREAKING: Trump has been impeached! Another political witch hunt against the people’s president,” tweeted Republican Rep. Lauren Bobert.
“President Donald Trump has always fought for us. He puts the American people above corrupt interests. Only because of that, the powerful will never stop coming for him,” Florida Rep. Matt Gates tweeted.
A key Trump ally close to the House GOP leadership, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green tweeted that she plans to travel to New York City on Tuesday to protest Trump’s impeachment.
While McCarthy had previously said he didn’t think people should resist an impeachment, Green — who had become an ally of McCarthy — struck a different tone, arguing that it was people’s right to peacefully organize.
Green serves on the House Oversight Committee, one of the main groups trying to investigate the Manhattan district attorney’s office, and told CNN that he keeps Trump updated on their investigative priorities.
A handful of senators quickly jumped in to criticize the Manhattan district attorney.
“This allegation doesn’t pass the smell test,” Sen said. Thom Tillis said in a statement. “The Justice Department has already examined the facts and decided there is no case against President Trump. This is the same district attorney known for hooking violent criminals in Manhattan, but with a laser focus on a politicized case against the former president.”
Graham used inflammatory rhetoric to suggest that the former president could avoid prosecution by committing a violent crime in New York.
“He will be released immediately!,” Graham He tweeted that.
A moderate Republican refrained from immediately attacking Brock or the impeachment.
“I trust the system,” Rep. Don Bacon told CNN. “We have a judge. We have judges. There are appeals. So I think eventually justice will be served. If he’s guilty it will show. But if he’s not I think it will show as well.”
Before the indictment, three Republican leaders, including Jordan, Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer and House Administration Committee Chairman Brian Steele, sent a letter. Demanding testimony Information relating to Prague and his trial. Bragg’s office pushed back, but Republican leaders did has doubled.
This story has been updated with additional information.
CNN’s Manu Raju, Annie Grayer, Nikki Robertson, Christine Wilson and Ali Zaslau contributed to this report.
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