Rep. Andy Harris, a supporter of former President Donald Trump and the only Republican in Maryland’s congressional delegation, said Friday that Trump’s indictment shows “we live in a third world banana republic where the justice system is weaponized against political opponents.”
Harris, who represents the 1st Congressional District of Harford County, the Eastern Shore and part of Baltimore County, was among a number of Trump loyalists in the U.S. House rallying to the former president’s defense by alleging the indictment was politically motivated.
Maryland Democrats countered that the case was about upholding the rule of law.
Three Republican committee chairs have asked the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for grand jury testimony and other documents related to the indictment. One of them, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, called the indictment “outrageous.” Bragg has not turned over any documents.
Harris made his remarks on Twitter. He also said Russian President Vladimir Putin “has nothing on Alvin Bragg.”
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But Rep. Glenn Ivey, a Democrat who represents the 4th Congressional District in the Washington suburbs and is the former state’s attorney in Prince George’s County, tweeted that it “looks like Jim Jordan’s illegal attempt to intimidate @ManhattanDA and the grand jury fell flat.”
The indictment of Trump by a Manhattan grand jury has yet to be unsealed, so it’s not yet known what charges are being brought. It’s related to hush money payments by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to porn actor Stormy Daniels, according to multiple reports. Trump is the first former president to be indicted.
“Our democracy rests upon the idea of ‘liberty and justice for all,’” said Rep. Steny Hoyer, a Southern Maryland Democrat and former House majority leader. “That promise must extend to every American — even to the former president. The justice system is working as it should to preserve the sanctity of the rule of law.”
Rep. David Trone, a third-term Western Maryland Democrat, urged “everyone — regardless of party — to remain peaceful and allow our legal system to operate as intended, without the threat of violence. We are a nation of laws, and as this case unfolds I urge Americans to trust the process rather than undermine it.”
Harris, who is in his seventh term, is a longtime Trump backer. His office did not return messages seeking comment.
The congressional Jan. 6 committee said last year that Harris was among a group of Republican members who gathered with then-President Trump in December 2020 and discussed having Vice President Mike Pence reject the results of the 2020 presidential election won by Democrat Joe Biden.
Harris has not denied participating in the meeting, but has said the discussion was not about “planning an insurrection.”