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Trump charges: South Dakota's Thune, Johnson join list of skeptics
Critics of former president question merit of 34 felonies brought by New York prosecutor
The nation’s second highest ranking GOP senator is no fan of Donald Trump.
But even Sen. John Thune thinks the felony charges the former president was arraigned on this week appear to be politically motivated.
That’s what the Murdo native said late Tuesday night, breaking his week-long silence on the historic indictment of a U.S. president.
“I understand that this is the beginning of a legal process, not the end of one, but after an initial review of the details, this indictment looks like a political agenda run amok, and it’s becoming increasingly clear why previous district attorneys opted against prosecution,” Thune said in a statement sent to The Dakota Scout.
Thune joins a growing list of Republicans, including known adversaries of Trump, to voice skepticism about the 34 charges of falsifying business documents that the 45th president pled innocent to Tuesday in a New York courtroom.
Sen. Mitt Romney, for instance, said this week that though he believes Trump is unfit for office, “the New York prosecutor has stretched to reach felony criminal charges in order to fit a political agenda.”
The South Dakota senator, who’s been acting as GOP leader since Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sustained injuries in a fall last month, has also gotten crossed with Trump in the past.
After Thune refused to join calls to stop President Joe Biden from being seated into office in 2020, Trump called Thune a RINO and made what turned out to be empty threats to get him challenged by a serious contender in the June 2022 primary election.
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Congressman Dusty Johnson, also not considered a strong ally of Trump, weighed in as well Wednesday for the first time since New York County prosecutor Alvin Bragg announced the indictment last week.
“Over the last week, I’ve refrained from commenting on the charges against former President Trump because I wanted to review the indictment first,” Johnson said in a statement. “Reviewing the indictments only elevated my fears that they are politically motivated, since two other prosecutors reviewed the same facts and declined to prosecute. Like all of us, former President Trump deserves his day in court, and a jury of citizens will hear his case, weigh the evidence, and render judgment.”