Republicans join Trump’s attacks on justice system and campaign of vengeance after guilty verdict

Published 6:51 am Sunday, June 2, 2024

Embracing Donald Trump’s strategy of blaming the U.S. justice system after his historic guilty verdict, Republicans in Congress are fervently enlisting themselves in his campaign of vengeance and political retribution as the GOP runs to reclaim the White House.

Almost no Republican official has stood up to suggest Trump should not be the partys presidential candidate for the November election — in fact, some have sought to hasten his nomination. Few others dared to defend the legitimacy of the New York state court that heard the hush money case or the 12 jurors who unanimously rendered their verdict.

And those Republicans who expressed doubts about Trumps innocence or political viability, including his former hawkish national security adviser John Bolton or toptier Senate candidate Larry Hogan of Maryland, were instantly bullied by the former president’s enforcers and told to “leave the party.”

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Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, RGa., said shes voting for Trump “whether he is a free man or a prisoner of the Biden regime.”

She also posted the upsidedown American flagthat has come to symbolize the “Stop the Steal” movement Trump started with allies before the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The swift, strident and deepening commitment to Trump despite his felony conviction shows how fully Republican leaders and lawmakers have been infused with his unfounded grievances of a “rigged” system and dangerous conspiracies of “weaponizedgovernment, using them in their own attacks on President Joe Biden and the Democrats.

Rather than shunning Trumps escalating authoritarian language or ensuring they will provide checks and balances for a second Trump term, the Republican senators and representatives are upturning longstanding faith in U.S. governance, and setting the stage for what they plan to do if Trump regains power.

On Friday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, ROhio, demanded the prosecutors Alvin Bragg and Matthew Colangelo appear for a June hearing on the “weaponization of the federal government” and “the unprecedented political prosecution” of Trump — despite the fact that Biden, as president, has no authority over the state courts in New York.

“What we’re gearing up for is if Trump wins, he’s going to use the apparatus of the state to target his political opponents,” said Jason Stanley, a professor at Yale and the author of “How Fascism Works.”

Stanley said history is full of examples of people not believing the rhetoric of authoritarians. “Believe what they say,” he said. “Hes literally telling you he’s going to use the apparatus of the state to target his political opponents.

At his Trump Tower on Friday in New York, the former president returned to the kinds of attacks he has repeatedly lodged in campaign speeches, portraying Biden as the one who is “corrupt” and the U.S. as a “fascist” nation.

Trump called the members of the bipartisan House committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol “thugs” and said Biden was a “Manchurian candidate,” a phrase inspired by the 1960s movie portraying a puppet of a U.S. political enemy.

A Trump campaign memo contained talking points for Republican lawmakers, suggesting they call the case a “sham,” “hoax,” “witch hunt,” “election interference and “lawfare” designed by Biden, whom it called “crooked.