Republicans say impeachment against Donald Trump would be politically motivated
March 19, 2023 at 2:53 p.m. GMT
Updated 37 minutes ago
The impeachment of Donald Trump would be a politically motivated move by his opponents, say senior Republicans.
On Saturday, the former US President said his arrest could take place next week based on media reports.
But Democrats have said no one is above the law and accused Mr Trump of recklessly fomenting political divisions.
The case centers on alleged hush money his attorney paid to porn star Stormy Daniels on Mr Trump’s behalf ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
The 76-year-old is also the subject of several other separate investigations, although he has not yet been faced with any charges and denies any wrongdoing.
Mr Trump has vowed to continue his campaign to become the Republican nominee in the 2024 presidential election even if he is impeached.
It’s not yet known if he will face criminal charges or, beyond the most basic details, what any charges might entail.
Former US Vice President Mike Pence and senior Republican in Congress Kevin McCarthy have both spoken out against criminal prosecution.
Speaking to US broadcaster ABC News, Mr Pence said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is a Democrat, conducted a “politically charged prosecution” against Mr Trump.
“I’m stunned by the idea of indicting a former President of the United States during a crime spree in New York City,” Pence said.
“The fact that the Manhattan Attorney’s Office [district attorney] believes indicting President Trump is his top priority, I think he’s just telling you everything you need to know about the radical left in this country,” he told the broadcaster.
In his statement on Saturday, Mr Trump called for mass protests from supporters and accused Mr Bragg’s office of “illegal leaks” to journalists.
Asked about the call for protests, Mr Pence said US citizens have a “constitutional right to peaceful assembly” – but said any action must be “peaceful and lawful”.
US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called the investigation “an outrageous abuse of power by a radical prosecutor.”
In a tweet, he also promised to investigate whether federal funds were being used to “interfere with politically motivated law enforcement” in elections.
Democrats have accused Mr Trump of fueling political divisions with his claims.
Speaking to ABC News, Democratic Sen. Elizbeth Warren said “no one is above the law,” even if they happened to be president, and any investigation “must be allowed to proceed appropriately.”
“There is no reason to protest against it. This is the law, working as it should, with no fear or favoritism for anyone,” she said.
Mr. McCarthy’s predecessor as Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, echoed Ms. Warren’s views, adding that Mr. Trump’s remarks were “reckless” and aimed at “kept in the news and causing unrest among his supporters.” stoke”.
“He cannot hide from his breaking the law, disregarding our elections and calls for violence. Rightly so, our legal system will decide how to hold him accountable,” she wrote on Twitter.
The Stormy Daniels case centers on how Mr Trump compensated his attorney Michael Cohen after he paid Ms Daniels $130,000 ahead of the 2016 US election.
The record for the payment refunding Mr. Cohen says it was for “legal fees.” Prosecutors could conclude that Mr. Trump falsified business records, which is a misdemeanor in New York.