Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Tuesday said former President Trump’s 2016 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels included “personal money,” an apparent attempt to minimize the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation into the matter after Trump said he expects to be arrested this week.
McCarthy’s comments came during a press conference on legislative priorities at the annual GOP rally in Orlando. New York Attorney’s Office is investigating Trump’s role in channeling silence payments ahead of the 2016 election.
“It was personal money,” McCarthy told reporters when asked if he was concerned about the accusation Trump faces in Manhattan.
“That was seven years ago, the statute of limitations. And I think deep down you also know that you think it’s purely political. And I think that’s what the rest of the country thinks. And we’re a little tired of it,” he added.
Trump caused a political storm over the weekend when he proposed True social postthat he will be arrested Tuesday in connection with the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation. Trump also urged his followers to “PROTEST” and “RETURN OUR NATION BACK”.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) signaled earlier this month that Trump could face criminal charges as part of his investigation when the office offered the former president the opportunity to testify before a grand jury.
Bragg has yet to make a formal decision when it comes to indicting Trump in this case. The New York statute of limitations is five years for most felonies or two years for misdemeanors, but that period can be extended if the defendant lived out of state, as Trump did when he was in the White House.
McCarthy on Tuesday tried to draw an analogy between the Trump case and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) investigation into Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). In March 2022, the Clinton campaign and the DNC agreed to pay thousands of dollars in fines after they failed to properly report funds used for research for the Steele dossier.
The Clinton campaign reported that $175,000 was spent on researching the dossier as “legal fees”. The campaign hired the law firm Perkins Coie, who then hired the Fusion GPS research team, which brought in retired British spy Christopher Steele.
“They went through and were investigated,” McCarthy said of the Clinton and DNC campaign, adding, “and you know, in the end, they weren’t held accountable, they were fined.”
“They deliberately hid the fact of what they were doing to try to hide. They were investigated. So I look [at] This is from this point of view: we live in America, and justice should be equal, ”he added.
At another point in the press conference, McCarthy told reporters, “I’m really worried when I look over there and see that justice is not equal to others, especially in the history of where we are.”
“The local district attorney is playing presidential politics. If it starts right here, don’t you think it will happen all over the country? he added.
House Republicans are gathering in Orlando this week for their annual caucus, which was supposed to be an event to celebrate the conference’s recent successes but was instead overshadowed by Trump’s potential indictment in Manhattan. GOP lawmakers have mostly defended Trump, focusing on Bragg.
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On Tuesday, however, McCarthy dismissed the notion that Trump had silenced the conference, telling reporters: “We’re not going to defend President Trump here; what we’re going to stand for is equal justice in America, and I think every American believes in that.”
“What we see before us is not equal justice,” he later added. “What we see before us is a political game being played.”
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