After Georgia indictment, Republicans pick sides

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks in the Fulton County Government Center during
Fulton County Dist. Atty. Fani Willis announced charges Monday against Donald Trump and several of his allies over efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in Georgia.
(John Bazemore / Associated Press)
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Late Monday night, a grand jury in Fulton County, Ga. indicted former President Trump over his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The sprawling 98-page indictment ties 18 of Trump’s allies, including his former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and his personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani, to the effort to pressure Georgia election officials to “find” enough votes to flip the election results.

Fulton County Dist. Atty. Fani Willis, who launched her investigation into the former president’s actions two years ago, will now attempt to prosecute the alleged offenders.

Republicans running for president are already picking sides.

Hello, I’m Erin B. Logan. I cover national politics for the Los Angeles Times. This week, we are going to discuss top Republicans’ loyalty to the former president.

Where they fall

After the indictments, most Republicans rallied behind the former president.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield accused Willis of weaponizing the legal system against Trump and “using it to fundraise her political career.”

He added: “Americans see through this desperate sham.”

Many Republicans with aspirations for the Oval Office sided with Trump. That group included South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who told reporters that seeing the “legal system weaponized against political opponents ... is un-American and unacceptable.”

Kari Lake, an apparent vice presidential hopeful who has also made evidence-free claims about the results of the Arizona gubernatorial race she lost last year, tied the indictment to the race for the White House, writing that either Trump would be reelected “or the corrupt deep state sends him to jail for the ‘crime’ of returning the government back to We the People.”


But not all Republicans came to Trump’s defense.

Presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who has long chided Trump for his unfounded efforts to overturn the election, wrote that he still contends that “Trump’s actions disqualified him from ever serving as President again.”

He added: “Those words are more true today than ever before.”

The morning after the charges were announced, Trump took to TruthSocial to criticize the indictment, claiming that next week he would reveal a “large, complex, detailed but irrefutable report” that would clear his name.

Incumbent Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp shared Trump’s post but rebutted his claims, writing on X that the “2020 election in Georgia was not stolen.”

“For nearly three years now, anyone with evidence of fraud has failed to come forward — under oath — and prove anything in a court of law,” he wrote. “Our elections in Georgia are secure, accessible, and fair and will continue to be as long as I am governor.”

He added: “The future of our country is at stake in 2024 and that must be our focus.”

The latest from the campaign trail

— After years of Republican attacks on voter integrity, GOP leaders on Monday emphasized the importance of early voting and how such efforts are critical to their party’s efforts to hold on to Congress and win the White House next year, Times writer Seema Mehta reported.

— A panel of federal judges on Monday began a review of Alabama’s redrawn congressional map, which opponents argued defies the court’s mandate to create a second district where Black voters have an opportunity to influence the outcome of an election, the Associated Press reported.

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The view from Washington

— U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said Friday that Trump’s right to free speech is “not absolute” ahead of the trial over efforts to overturn the 2020 election and stay in power, Times writer Sarah D. Wire reported. Chutkan approved restrictions on what evidence he and his legal team can publicly discuss before the trial.

Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland announced Friday that he has appointed a special counsel in the Hunter Biden probe, deepening the investigation of the president’s son ahead of the 2024 election, the Associated Press reported.

— The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked a nationwide settlement with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma that would shield members of the Sackler family who own the company from civil lawsuits over the toll of opioids, the Associated Press reported.

The view from California

— As red states have moved to restrict the rights of LGBTQ+ people, some Democratic statehouses have rushed to legislate — and message — in the opposite direction, often with enthusiastic endorsements like the above from their governors, Times writer Arit John reported. Trans rights activists have praised the new safe haven laws but, they say, can only do so much if they aren’t well-implemented and -funded, or if they aren’t designed to help the community’s most vulnerable members.

— A Republican bill requiring school districts to inform parents if their children use a different gender identity at school from the sex on their birth certificate was such a nonstarter in the Democratic- controlled California Legislature that it was not even taken up for discussion when introduced earlier this year, Times writers Laurel Rosenhall, Hannah Wiley and Mackenzie Mays reported.

— Even as hip-hop turns 50, the music is still provoking discussions about high-stakes political issues from police brutality to gun violence, Times writer Queenie Wong reported.


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