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    'Shameful': Republicans quickly come to Trump's defense after his conviction

    By Alexandra HutzlerAllison Pecorin,


    It didn’t take long after a jury found Donald Trump guilty on all 34 felony counts in his New York hush money trial for Republicans to quickly jump to their presumptive presidential nominee’s defense.

    Speaker Mike Johnson, second in line to the presidency and the top Republican on Capitol Hill, called it a “shameful day in American history.”

    “This was a purely political exercise, not a legal one,” Johnson claimed.

    MORE: Donald Trump calls hush money trial 'rigged' after being found guilty on all counts

    The House leader, who also traveled to Manhattan to show his support for Trump at the courthouse earlier this month, went on to try to paint the proceeding as biased -- parroting unfounded claims from the former president himself that the justice system has been politically weaponized against him.

    "The American people see this as lawfare, and they know it is wrong -- and dangerous,” Johnson said. “President Trump will rightfully appeal this absurd verdict -- and he WILL WIN!"
    Curtis Means/AP - PHOTO: Doug Burgum, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson and Vivek Ramaswamy look on as former President Donald Trump talks to the media outside Manhattan criminal court in New York, May 14, 2024.

    Many congressional Republicans echoed that response.

    New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, the No. 3 Republican in the House, also made the unfounded claim that the trial outcome is a sign of a "corrupt and rigged" justice system.

    "I fully support President Trump appealing this decision and look forward to the New York Court of Appeals delivering justice and overturning this verdict," she said.

    Stefanik claimed, without evidence, that the case was "brought forward by Joe Biden's allies in a desperate attempt to save Biden's failing campaign and the verdict hinged on the testimony of a convicted felon who was disbarred for lying."

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a brief statement on X on former President Trump's conviction which says that the charges shouldn't have been brought against him.

    "These charges never should have been brought in the first place," McConnell said in the post. "I expect the conviction to be overturned on appeal."

    Among the first to react in Congress was Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s staunchest allies in Washington and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who called the trial and verdict a “travesty of justice.”

    Jordan argued Trump was subjected to a “kangaroo court” and the process was purposefully designed to keep him off the 2024 campaign trail -- though Trump held several rallies and campaign stops during the six-week trial and frequently sent fundraising emails off of its developments.
    Kent Nishimura/Getty Images - PHOTO: Rep. Jim Jordan arrives for a House Republican conference meeting on Capitol Hill, on May 22, 2024, in Washington, D.C.
    MORE: How Trump’s guilty verdict will impact the 2024 presidential election

    Meanwhile, Democrats asserted Trump had his day in court just like every other defendant.

    “Everyone is entitled to due process, and Donald Trump had his. This guilty verdict and the many ongoing criminal cases against Trump make it clear to the world: in the United States, no one is above the law,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat.

    “In America, no one is above the law: not the rich, not the powerful, and certainly not any former presidents,” Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., said in a statement.

    Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, commended the jurors and urged “all Americans, no matter their party affiliation, to accept and respect the outcome of this trial.”

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