Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) criticized Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s (D) move to indict former President Trump as a politically-motivated decision that does not pass the smell test legally.
Thune labeled the indictment as a “political agenda run amok.” His comments came on Tuesday evening, hours after Trump was formally arraigned in New York on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. The former president pleaded not guilty.
“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,” Thune, the No. 2-ranking Senate Republican, told South Dakota Public Broadcasting.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear why previous district attorneys opted against prosecution,” he added.
The South Dakota Republican is the highest-ranking Senate GOP member to comment on Trump’s indictment, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has remained silent on the situation. Thune had stayed mum in the immediate aftermath of last week’s indictment.
Trump slammed the indictment throughout the day on Tuesday and spoke to a crowd of supporters at Mar-a-Lago as part of an “arraignment party,” as one of his backers put it during the event.
“I never thought anything like this could happen in America. Never thought it could happen,” Trump said in his speech. “The only crime that I have committed is to fearlessly defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it.”
He is expected to appear for his next hearing in New York in December, with his trial potentially set to start in January.