DeSantis says Manhattan DA ‘weaponized’ the law for ‘political purposes’

DeSantis says Bragg ‘weaponized’ the law for ‘political purposes’Dasha Burns, Abigail Brooks and Jillian GaierFlorida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate, on Saturday took aim at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg at the Pennsylvania GOP Leadership Conference.”His whole platform when he got elected was that he was going to downgrade as many felonies as possible to misdemeanors,” DeSantis told a crowd gathered in Camp Hill. “Now he turns around, purely for political purposes, and indicts a former president on misdemeanor offenses that they’re straining to convert into felonies. “That’s when you know that the law has been weaponized for political purposes.”Bragg, a Democrat who succeeded Cyrus Vance Jr., was elected Manhattan district attorney in 2021 following a campaign that promised to revamp the culture of the office, as well as boost trust in law enforcement and the criminal justice system. In a memo released after he took office, Bragg said he would no longer prosecute certain misdemeanor crimes because “over-incarceration has not made Manhattan safer.”DeSantis has yet to launch a bid for the 2024 GOP nomination, but he is widely seen as the likeliest alternative to Trump. Many of the former president’s declared or potential rivals have jumped to his defense since he was indicted.Stormy Daniels says Trump is ‘no longer untouchable’Jillian Gaier and Sean NevinAdult film star Stormy Daniels, in a recent interview with a U.K. newspaper, called Trump’s indictment “vindication” and said the former president is “no longer untouchable.”“A person in power is not exempt from the law. And no matter what your job is, or what your bank account says, you’re held accountable for the things you’ve said and done, and justice is served,” Daniels told The Times of London. She gave the interview at an undisclosed location because of safety concerns.“Whatever the outcome is, it’s going to cause violence, and there’s going to be injuries and death,” she said. “There’s the potential for a lot of good to come from this. But either way, a lot of bad is going to come from it, too.”Supporters gather outside Trump International Golf ClubMore than two dozen Trump supporters have gathered outside Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, waving flags and playing music from speakers.A Trump-Pence lawn sign is fixed to a vehicle nearby, with Pence’s name crossed out. And one woman is selling honey in the shape of the former president’s head. She says the money will go toward a Jan. 6 legal defense fund. Jeb Bush on Trump’s indictment: ‘This is very political’Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the son of former President George H.W. Bush, on Saturday criticized the grand jury indictment, calling it “very political.””[Manhattan District Attorney Alvin] Bragg’s predecessor didn’t take up the case,” Bush wrote in a tweet. “The Justice Department didn’t take up the case. Bragg first said he would not take up the case. This is very political, not a matter of justice. In this case, let the jury be the voters.”Bush and Trump were rivals in the 2016 GOP presidential primary, during which Trump had often mocked the former governor as being “low energy.” Bush said he did not vote for Trump in the 2016 and 2020 general election.New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu says Trump indictment will help him in 2024Jillian Gaier and Julia JesterNew Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said he believes that Trump’s indictment will boost his chances of winning the GOP nomination in 2024.”It only helps him,” Sununu, a Republican, said in an interview on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher,” which aired Friday night. “He shouldn’t be the nominee. He can’t win in ‘24, but this builds a lot of empathy, sympathy, if you will. It solidifies his base.”Sununu, who is weighing his own potential White House bid, predicted last month, before Trump’s indictment, that the former president would lose the Republican nomination next year.He has, however, committed to supporting the eventual GOP nominee. “Look, I’m a lifelong Republican,” he said.Democratic lawmaker slams Greene’s call for protestRep. Jim McGovern has condemned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s call for protest in New York.Greene, a Georgia Republican and one of Trump’s staunchest congressional allies, said Friday that she would travel to the state next week to protest Trump’s indictment and called on supporters to join her. “Protest the tyrants,” she tweeted.”This is sick and wrong. We haven’t even seen the grand jury’s indictment — so those rushing to Trump’s defense think the law shouldn’t apply to him, no matter what he did,” McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat, tweeted in response to Greene’s remarks. “Their delusional deference to a career conman is pathetic.”Michael Cohen would be key witness in Trump trial, his attorney saysMichael Cohen is expected to be a “principal witness” should Trump stand trial after being indicted, according to Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis.Cohen is the former Trump “fixer” and lawyer who pleaded guilty to and served prison time for crimes that included criminal tax evasion and campaign finance violations for his role in hush money schemes to pay two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump. Payments to former adult film star Stormy Daniels are at the center of Trump’s indictment, although the exact charges are not yet known. It’s also not known if payments to a second woman, Karen McDougal, are also part of the indictment.Davis told “Meet the Press NOW” on Friday that Cohen would be a key witness in a trial against Trump following the indictment. Cohen has said that Trump directed him to pay Daniels during the 2016 campaign.Read the full story here.Online threats of violence but few signs of far-right organizing around Trump indictmentMinutes after news broke of former President Donald Trump’s indictment, a comment on the pro-Trump internet forum, also known as TheDonald, skyrocketed to the top of the message board.“****ACCELERATE,” the comment, written by a user named TheSpeakerfortheDead, reads in its entirety.Below that user, others quickly piled on, saying the grand jury that indicted Trump is “guilty of treason” and that their personal information should be made public.The word “accelerate” is a reference to the far-right term accelerationism, the idea that the state must be abolished, usually violently, and replaced with a new one.Read the full story here.

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