Prominent figures with histories of criticizing former President Donald Trump spoke negatively about Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s indictment against him, according to Axios.
Trump pleaded not guilty at his Tuesday arraignment to the indictment’s 34 counts of first-degree records falsification, related to allegations of reimbursing his former lawyer Michael Cohen for hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election over an alleged affair she had with Trump. The indictment accuses Trump of falsifying business records “with intent to defraud and intent to commit another crime and aid and conceal the commission thereof,” but FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former Attorney General William Barr and Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney each expressed dissatisfaction with it, Axios reported.
McCabe was fired from the FBI in 2018 two days before he was due to officially retire after investigators determined that he lacked candor about disclosing sensitive information to the media. Trump accused McCabe and former FBI Director James Comey of treason in 2019, with McCabe later blaming Trump for his firing, but McCabe labeled the indictment “an unimpressive document” Thursday, arguing it “landed like a dud,” according to Axios.
“Commentators across the spectrum are saying: ‘Boy, there’s really not much in here. Raises all kinds of questions about the legal theory behind this case. They’re gonna have a tough time, facing motions to dismiss,'” McCabe said, the outlet reported. (RELATED: McCarthy Vows Congress Will Hold Bragg ‘Accountable’ For Trump Indictment)
Barr said in September that the Justice Department was “getting very close” to amassing enough evidence to indict Trump, but argued Tuesday on Fox News that Bragg’s case appeared to be “a pathetically weak case that is, I think demonstrably wrong on the law, which explains why the DOJ, even after I left office, has never pursued this idea of a campaign finance problem.” Barr resigned as attorney general in December 2020 after disagreeing with Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud, and Trump attacked his handling of Hunter Biden probes.
“He is a candidate in the current election,” Barr said of Trump. “So this a charging decision that affects our current national politics, and judgement there, it seems to me, and prosecutorial discretion should commend caution in this circumstance.”
Romney considers Trump “unfit for office” but feels Bragg is engaging in overreach that ” sets dangerous precedent for criminalizing political opponents and damages the public’s faith in our justice system,” the senator said in a Thursday statement. Trump and Romney have repeatedly attacked each other, and Romney was the only Republican senator who voted to convict Trump in both his 2020 and 2021 impeachment trials.
“I believe the New York prosecutor has stretched to reach felony criminal charges in order to fit a political agenda,” Romney said Thursday. Republican Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, who voted to convict Trump in the 2021 impeachment trial, said on Fox News Sunday that the indictment “seems to be more about person than about the crime” and would result in “political theater, theatre that is gonna distract from the issues that are incredibly important to our country right now.”
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