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After Trump announced on Tuesday that he received a “target letter” in the 2020 election portion of the inquiry, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said that he was planning to introduce legislation to defund the endeavor.
“I will be introducing legislation to DEFUND Jack Smith’s witch hunt against President Trump,” Gaetz said in a tweet. “They are attacking our democracy and engaging in election interference right now. The United States Congress has the capability to stop this election interference, and we must act immediately!”
In a video he shared in the tweet, Gaetz said he would introduce the legislation as a “free-standing bill” that would not have to wait for the appropriations process.
BREAKING: I will be introducing legislation to DEFUND Jack Smith’s witch hunt against President Trump.
They are attacking our democracy and engaging in election interference right now.
The United States Congress has the capability to stop this election interference, and we must… pic.twitter.com/g8ZAc4PAyb
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) July 18, 2023
Such legislation might gain steam in the GOP-led House, where Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) raised concerns about the prospect of unequal justice at a time when Trump is running for another term in the White House.
“If you notice recently, President Trump went up in the polls and was actually surpassing President [Joe] Biden for re-election, so what do they do now? Weaponize government to go after their No. 1 opponent,” McCarthy said.
Still, the bill would face long odds in the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, and opposition from the White House. Gaetz himself acknowledged this challenge in his video, saying he was “under no illusions about Joe Biden signing such a legislative device into law. I know that [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer would never bring such a thing up [for a vote], but you deserve to know where your members of Congress are counted. Will they co-sponsor my legislation? I certainly hope they will.”
The Department of Justice disclosed earlier this month over $9 million in taxpayer money spent on Smith’s investigation from when he was appointed special counsel in November through March, an amount that rose above reported expenditures on John Durham’s years-long special counsel investigation into the Russia matter and Robert Hur’s special counsel inquiry into Biden’s handling of classified documents.
Smith was tasked with spearheading inquiries into Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results through the January 6, 2021, certification of the Electoral College vote, as well as his handling of sensitive documents after leaving office. Trump, who has already pleaded not guilty to 37 charges in the documents case, signaled on Tuesday that another indictment and arrest may soon follow.
“Deranged Jack Smith, the prosecutor with Joe Biden’s DOJ, sent a letter (again, it was Sunday night!) stating that I am a TARGET of the January 6th Grand Jury investigation, and giving me a very short 4 days to report to the Grand Jury, which almost always means an Arrest and Indictment,” Trump said in a statement posted to his Truth Social account.
Trump has also pleaded not guilty to charges in Manhattan tied to an alleged “hush money” scheme, and may yet be indicted in a 2020 election inquiry being conducted in Fulton County, Georgia. Trump altogether denies any wronging and claims he is the target of a “witch hunt.”