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House Speaker Mike Johnson defends Trump in New York trial in show of GOP support

House Speaker Mike Johnson defends Trump in New York trial in show of GOP support


Washington — House Speaker Mike Johnson joined Donald Trump on Tuesday at a Manhattan courthouse to voice support for the former president's criminal trial, which the president called a “sham.” ” and part of a broader “partisan witch hunt” against Trump.

“President Trump is innocent of these charges,” Johnson said, speaking outside the courthouse as proceedings began inside.

The Louisiana Republican was the latest of a number of Republican congressmen to show support for the former president during his trial in New York in recent days. He said he came on his own to support Trump, whom he considered a friend. Several other lawmakers were also present.

The speaker underscored his closeness to Trump in recent weeks as he faced a challenge to his presidency from a handful of conservatives within his conference. And the former president came to his aid when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene called an early vote to oust Johnson, offering her support for the speaker in a social media post.

Johnson claimed Tuesday that the lawsuit was intended to “keep him [Trump] of the campaign trial. » He said that as a former litigator, he was “disgusted” by what is happening to Trump.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson and former presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy listen as former President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on May 14, 2024. MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

“People are losing faith in this country right now, in our institutions,” he said. “They're losing faith in our justice system. And the reason is because they're seeing abuses, as is the case here in New York.”

Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records related to reimbursing a “hush money” payment to an adult film star before the 2016 election. He has pleaded not guilty.

The speaker argued that the charges were intentionally made before Trump's campaign to return to office, calling the effort “a ridiculous persecution that is not a matter of justice” but “a matter of politics.”

“It is impossible for anyone to objectively deny that our nation's justice system has been used as a weapon against President Trump,” Johnson said.

The remarks marked a stunning moment when the Speaker of the House, who is second only to the presidency, questioned the integrity of the judiciary.

Along with Johnson, Gov. Doug Burgum, Vivek Ramaswamy and Reps. Byron Donalds and Cory Mills of Florida were also in attendance Tuesday.

“I have a lot of surrogates and they are very well spoken,” Trump said Tuesday morning before entering the courtroom. “They're from all over Washington, they're well respected, and they think this is the biggest scam they've ever seen.”

Fin Gómez, Olivia Rinaldi and Kelsey Walsh contributed reporting.

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