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Kansas and Missouri Republicans take aim at Justice Department over Trump’s indictment

Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in New York earlier this year.
Bryan Woolston
Donald Trump greets supporters while leaving Trump Tower after his first indictment in New York on falsifying business records regarding hush money payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

Former President Trump announced his indictment Thursday evening and is due in federal court in Miami on Tuesday to be arraigned. While many Democrats are celebrating the indictment, GOP politicians in Missouri and Kansas are supporting Trump.

A grand jury has indicted Former President Donald Trump on more than two dozen counts in the Justice Department’s classified documents probe. This is the second time Trump has been indicted, but the first time he or any other former president has faced federal charges.

Trump is facing charges under the Espionage Act and others relating to obstruction of justice and destruction or falsification of records, conspiracy and false statements.

Republican politicians in both Kansas and Missouri have expressed resentment towards the indictment and questioned the integrity of the Department of Justice.

U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas backed Trump and said the indictment is an attack on his campaign for president.

Meanwhile, Missouri U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley said on Fox News that the indictment is “not about Donald Trump — ultimately this is about the United States of America. This is about whether the constitution is still real in this country.” He also said Biden “has trampled the rule of law to benefit himself.”

U.S. Sen. Eric Schmitt, who was elected in 2022 after longtime Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt retired, said the indictment is a distraction from President Joe Biden as “the most compromised President in modern American history.”

U.S. Rep. Mark Alford, who represents Missouri’s 4th District, including the southern and eastern suburbs of Kansas City, echoed the "witch hunt" narrative that Trump put forth during his time as president.

Republican Missouri Governor Mike Parson said the indictment is “only taking place because President Trump dares to challenge Joe Biden’s disastrous presidency.”

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey said the indictment was a tool to take out Trump as Biden’s 2024 political opponent.

And Missouri Treasurer Vivek Malek, also a Republican, said Biden should focus on other issues facing the U.S.

“This president is not concerned about China, failing schools, inflation, Fentanyl, our cities becoming lawless, or our border being overrun,” Malek said in a statement. “But his DOJ has been seemingly laser-focused on his most likely political opponent. This is a sad day for America.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Cori Bush, a Democrat representing St. Louis, celebrated the indictment.

Biden has not officially commented on the indictment. At a joint press conference Thursday with visiting British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, he talked about how he would convince the American people to trust the impartiality of the DOJ.

“You notice I have never once, not one single time, suggested to the Justice Department what they should do or not do relative to bringing any charge or not bringing any charge,” Biden said. “I'm honest.”

U.S. Reps. Tracey Mann, Jake LaTurner, Ron Estes and Sharice Davids from Kansas so far haven’t commented publicly on the indictment. Kris Kobach, the Kansas attorney general, has not commented but has expressed support for Trump throughout earlier indictments. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has not weighed in.

U.S. Reps. Ann Wagner, Jason Smith, Sam Graves, Blaine Luetkemeyer and Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri have so far remained quiet about the indictment. Rep. Eric Burlison did not comment directly on the indictment, but retweeted statements calling it a “witch hunt” and a “sad day for America.”

Updated: June 9, 2023 at 3:52 PM CDT
This story was updated after the federal indictment was unsealed to reflect that Trump faces 37 federal counts. An earlier version of this story misspelled Blaine Luetkemeyer's name. It has since been corrected.
When news breaks, it can be easy to rely on officials and people in power to get information fast. As KCUR’s general assignment and breaking news reporter, I want to bring you the human faces of the day’s biggest stories. Whether it’s a local shop owner or a worker on the picket line, I want to give you the stories of the real people who are driving change in the Kansas City area. Email me at savannahhawley@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @savannahhawley.