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On Tuesday, Donald Trump became the first former president in U.S. history to be arrested and arraigned. On Wednesday, he called for Republicans in Congress to defund federal law enforcement.
“REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS SHOULD DEFUND THE DOJ AND FBI UNTIL THEY COME TO THEIR SENSES,” he wrote on Truth Social. “THE DEMOCRATS HAVE TOTALLY WEAPONIZED LAW ENFORCEMENT IN OUR COUNTRY AND ARE VICIOUSLY USING THIS ABUSE OF POWER TO INTERFERE WITH OUR ALREADY UNDER SIEGE ELECTIONS!”
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Donald Trump pressures Republicans to defund the (federal) police. pic.twitter.com/yJoLbYYwgI
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) April 5, 2023
Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to the scheme to pay off porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election so she would keep quiet about their alleged affair. The former president did so in a Manhattan courtroom before flying back to Mar-a-Lago to address the nation. The address was short, with Trump mostly laboring through flimsy, lie-filled defenses against the multiple ongoing investigations into his conduct.
The Justice Department is conducting two of those investigations, one into Trump’s efforts to overthrow the results of the 2020 election and another into his handling of sensitive materials after he left the White House in 2021. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel, Jack Smith, to oversee both probes. Trump called Smith a “lunatic” during his address on Tuesday.
Republicans have long railed against social justice activists who have called to “defund the police,” but they’ve made similar calls as Trump’s legal woes have worsened. GOP lawmakers called for the defunding or even the dissolution of the Justice Department after the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago searching for classified material last year. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, did so again Sunday.
“We control the power of the purse,” he told Maria Bartiromo on Fox News. “We’re gonna have to look at the appropriations process and limit funds going to some of these agencies, particularly the ones engaging in the most egregious behavior.”
Bartiromo asked if he meant the DOJ and the FBI.
“Yeah,” Jordan replied.
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