Indictment of former President Donald Trump in NY angers Kansas, Missouri Republicans

·4 min read
Andrew Harnik/Associated Press file photo

Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a possible Republican presidential candidate, slammed the indictment of former President Donald Trump — leading off a wave of anger among Kansas and Missouri Republicans.

A New York grand jury voted to indict Trump on Thursday. The exact nature of the allegations weren’t immediately public, but the former president was under investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, over allegations of falsifying business records related to a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. CNN reported Trump faces more than 30 counts related to business fraud, suggesting an expansive case.

“The Manhattan DA is undermining America’s confidence in our legal system. Bragg is the same Soros-funded prosecutor who refuses to prosecute violent crimes and who has downgraded more than half of all felonies to misdemeanors,” Pompeo, a former Wichita congressman who served in Trump’s Cabinet, said on Twitter.

Pompeo’s reference to billionaire George Soros, a favorite target of conservatives, has been a common talking point from Trump’s allies in recent days. Soros did not directly donate to Bragg’s campaign, but he contributed $1 million in 201 to Color of Change, a progressive group, which spent $500,000 in support of Bragg’s candidacy, according a fact check from The New York Times.

“Prosecuting serious crimes keeps Americans safe, but political prosecutions put the American legal system at risk of being viewed as a tool for abuse. DA Bragg - spend taxpayers’ money and your energy protecting law-abiding citizens,” Pompeo said. “Not playing politics.”

Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican and a former state attorney general, called the indictment “an assault on our democracy, pure and simple.”

“Tonight’s indictment of Donald Trump isn’t about the law. It’s about power. Raw power. It’s the Democrat Party telling the nation they will stop at nothing to control the outcome of the next presidential election,” Hawley said on Twitter.

Hawley and Sen. Eric Schmitt, a Missouri Republican, both played a role in supporting attempts to overturn the 2020 election in Trump’s favor. Hawley was the first senator to say he would object to certifying Biden’s victory and raised his fist in solidarity with crowd of Trump supporters outside the Capitol ahead of the riot.

Schmitt, as Missouri state attorney general, supported litigation to overturn the presidential election results in four swing states that went for Democratic President Joe Biden.

“This is purely a partisan case against President Trump,” Schmitt said on Twitter Thursday evening.

Schmitt also invoked Soros and said Bragg campaigned on prosecuting Trump “while violent crime in NYC rages on & violent criminals walk free.” New York City has a significantly lower crime rate than Missouri’s two largest cities, St. Louis and Kansas City, which have struggled with two of the highest murder rates in the country in recent years, including during Schmitt’s tenure as attorney general.

U.S. Rep. Mark Alford, a Republican who represents an area east and south of Kansas City, called the indictment “nothing short of political persecution.” Alford, who was endorsed by Trump, said Bragg had decided to follow through on an illegitimate charge.

“Were President Trump not be running for re-election, this would not be an issue. This DA will clearly dig up old parking tickets if that means Donald Trump cannot run for President,” the Missouri congressman said.

Democrats from the Kansas City region struck a cautious note in the immediate wake of the New York indictment.

Zac Donley, a spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, who represents most of the Kansas side of the Kansas City metro, said Davids has faith in the American justice system and will learn more, along with the public, as details are released.

“Rep. Davids has said many times before that no one is above the law, including elected officials,” Donley said in a statement.

Davids twice voted to impeach Trump during his presidency.

A spokesperson for Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly declined to comment, saying the governor is focused on Kansas.

Trump released a statement Thursday calling the indictment “Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history.”

In addition to the New York case, Trump remains under criminal investigation in Georgia over whether he interfered with the state’s presidential election. An Atlanta-area prosecutor overseeing the case hasn’t announced whether she will seek a grand jury indictment.

In Missouri, top GOP officials had sharply criticized the looming indictment against Trump in recent days as it became the grand jury was nearing a final decision.

“The reported upcoming arrest of President Trump by hyper partisan Soros prosecutor Alvin Bragg is some Third World Banana Republic lunacy and a very, very dangerous road to go down,” Schmitt said on Twitter earlier this month, referencing the businessman and philanthropist George Soros, a frequent target of Republican attacks.

Trump last week questioned, without naming him, how Bragg could charge him knowing “that potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our Country?” The former president’s critics saw that as a threat as the country still grapples with the fallout of the attack on the capitol in January of 2021 by a mob of Trump’s supporters.

Neither Schmitt, nor Hawley commented in the wake of that post.