US House Republicans rally around Trump

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives sought to defend Donald Trump against his latest criminal indictment on Wednesday, by casting the former president as the victim of what they called a politically motivated prosecution.

A day after Trump was indicted for his attempts to overturn the 2020 election, some of Trump’s fiercest allies in Congress urged their Republican colleagues to impeach Democratic President Joe Biden, haul Special Counsel Jack Smith before a congressional committee and defund his office.

Republicans, who have recently intensified their investigations of Biden’s family, claimed that Trump’s latest indictment showed the United States lapsing into the condition of a “banana republic.” Some clamored for Biden’s immediate impeachment.

“DO THE RIGHT THING. Impeach the CRIMINAL IN CHEIF!!!” firebrand Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene said on X, formerly known as Twitter, citing unproven claims that Biden, his son Hunter and other family members have engaged in financial misconduct, allegations fiercely denied by the White House.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other Republican leaders have said that an impeachment inquiry is possible but have stopped short of announcing one.

Republican hardliner Matt Gaetz took direct aim at Smith, tweeting that the special counsel “shouldn’t be in any position to charge Trump with anything. We should be hauling his ass before the Judiciary Committee every damn day over this. It is ELECTION INTERFERENCE!!!”

Trump is the front-runner in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Greene also stepped up her call to defund Smith’s office in pending appropriations legislation. Gaetz has already introduced a bill to cut off money to the special prosecutor.

Trump was impeached in 2019 over his alleged efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and aid his ultimately unsuccessful bid for re-election.

He was also impeached in 2021 for allegedly inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. That deadly assault was also part of this week’s indictment.

The Senate acquitted Trump of wrongdoing after both impeachments.

Greene and House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik have recently introduced measures to expunge both impeachments.

(Reporting by David Morgan; editing by Jonathan Oatis)