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US House speaker, at court, says justice system ‘weaponized’ against Trump

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US House Speaker Mike Johnson on Tuesday ramped up the politicization of Donald Trump’s criminal trial, appearing at the New York court and assailing the justice system for being “weaponized” against the former president.

In a provocative move, Johnson and other Republican lawmakers — including a potential Trump vice presidential pick — stood behind Trump in the court house as he spoke to reporters ahead of entering his trial.

Later, the speaker of the House of Representatives — second in line to the US presidency and wielding substantial constitutional power — insisted Trump is “innocent” of the charges he falsified business documents in order to cover up a hush money payment to a porn star during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“It’s impossible for anybody to deny, that looks at this objectively, that the judicial system in our country has been weaponized against president Trump,” Johnson said.

“The system is using all the tools at its disposal right now to punish one president and provide cover for another,” he added, referring to the incumbent President Joe Biden, who squares off against Trump in the November election.

“I called president Trump and told him I wanted to be here myself to call out what is a travesty of justice — and I think everybody around the country can see that.”

Johnson also attacked the prosecution’s star witness, former Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, as a liar “on a mission for personal revenge” — even as Trump’s once-loyal fixer was on the stand Tuesday.

The US Constitution vests specific powers to three distinct branches of government — legislative, executive, and judicial — and a congressional leader showing up on the doorstep of a criminal trial, standing behind the defendant before he enters court, marked a jarring moment in American politics.

As Trump spoke to reporters he praised Johnson and others, including House Republican Byron Donalds, who came to offer support.

“I do have a lot of surrogates, and they are speaking very beautifully,” Trump said.

House Democrat Bill Pascrell offered a contrasting view, saying on X that Republicans were “flocking like groupies to stand behind their boss Donald Trump.”

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AFP

Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.







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