Trump Allies Go on Defensive After Trump Says He May Be Charged in Jan. 6 Investigation 

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling

Republicans immediately went on the defensive after Donald Trump revealed Tuesday that he had received a target letter from special counsel Jack Smith in the Jan. 6 probe. 

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., claimed the potential charges are intended to damage Trump’s image. 

“I think the American public is tired of this,” McCarthy said, Huffington Post reports. “They want to have equal justice, and the idea that they utilize this to go after those who politically disagree with them is wrong.” 

McCarthy has changed his tone since his initial remarks in the immediate aftermath of the Jan. 6 riots. 

“The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” McCarthy said in a speech on the House floor in which he recommended Trump be censured but not impeached for his conduct.

Former Vice President Mike Pence, who has severed ties with the former president, said the Justice Department should not charge Trump. While saying Trump’s actions on Jan. 6 were “reckless” and he was wrong about having the election stolen, Pence said criminal charges go too far, The Hill reports

“But with regard to the prospect of an indictment, I hope it doesn’t come to that,” said Pence, who is running against Trump for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. “I’m not convinced that the president acting on the bad advice of a group of crank lawyers that came into the White House in the days before Jan. 6 is actually criminal.”

“And secondly, the truth is that the Department of Justice has lost the confidence of the American people. And there’s so many Americans that are deeply concerned about unequal treatment under the law,” Pence continued.

“I don’t know what the letter today means, the notification means, but my hope is that the judgment about the president’s actions on Jan. 6 would be left to the American people,” the former vice president added.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., responded by saying he plans to soon introduce legislation to defund the special counsel. 

“In the coming hours, the coming days, I will be introducing legislation under my name in the House of Representatives as a freestanding bill to defund the Jack Smith investigation,” Gaetz said on his podcast. 

U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., called Smith “out of control.”

“What we’re looking at while we’re dealing with appropriations is some of the dollars that are going to the relevant agencies, because if the Department of Justice is going to have a two-tier system about how they choose to investigate and prosecute, and maybe they don’t need that much money,” he said, according to CNN

Trump said on Truth Social that Smith’s office sent him a letter over the weekend formally notifying him that he was the target for criminal prosecution for his role in the Jan. 6 riots. 

Since then, he has reached out to key allies on Capitol Hill to strategize how to defend him against criminal charges, CNN reports

Among those were McCarthy and House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik. 

Leave a Reply