Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick issued a 183-word statement following the federal indictment of former President Donald Trump on allegations he mishandled classified and government-owned material after leaving office.
The Republican congressman, a former FBI special agent and federal prosecutor, said that “no one is above the law” and called for political leaders to “lower the temperature of the rhetoric.”
Below is Fitzpatrick’s full statement that was issued via social media:
“We must always remember the basic precepts of our U.S. justice system:
• No one is above the law or beyond prosecution, regardless of their status, position or affiliation.
• No one is beneath the law and no one should be targeted for prosecution merely because of their status, position or affiliation.
• Both in perception and in reality, the law must always be applied equally and enforced equally to all citizens, regardless of their status, position or affiliation. ‘Rules for thee but not for me’ is antithetical to the precepts of the U.S. justice system.
In the matters involving both the indictment of Former President Trump and the ongoing Special Counsel investigation into President Biden, both involving the handling of classified documents, we will quickly learn whether these precepts have been honored, or whether they have been violated.
As both legal processes run their course, it is my hope that political and community leaders in our nation lower the temperature of the rhetoric, refrain from intentionally inflaming societal divisions, and remain committed to preserving trust in the core values of our shared American justice system.”
Fitzpatrick was previously endorsed by Trump in 2020, but his office didn’t comment Friday on whether he has talked to the former president since leaving office.
The congressman has walked a tight rope since first being elected in 2016 to keep some distance from Trump in moderate Bucks County, a place where Trump lost twice. Fitzpatrick criticized Trump at times during his administration and also backed some of his policies. Additionally, the GOP politician voted against impeaching Trump both times, including following the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Ashley Ehasz, a Democrat running in Fitzpatrick’s First Congressional District, issued a tweet following the former president’s indictment.
Fitzpatrick is close to U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, who called the Trump indictment a “grave injustice” and said the indictment a “weaponization of power.”
Trump, like others who are indicted, will come before a federal judge Tuesday in Miami.
Special Counsel Jack Smith, who noted Trump is presumed innocent until proven guilty, said in a brief Friday afternoon statement to reporters that his office is aiming for a speedy trial.
“We have one set of laws in this country, and they apply to everybody,” Smith said.
“I’m an innocent man, I’m an innocent person,” Trump said in a video on his Truth Social website. “We can’t let this continue to go on because it’s ripping our country to shreds.”
After an investigation by the special counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, Trump was indicted this week on 37 charges related to the alleged mishandling of classified documents.
The indictment said Trump stored the documents unsecured, ignored demands by the government to return the documents they owned, and had aide Walt Nauta help him hide the records. Nauta is also indicted in the case.
The indictment said Trump stored classified documents in several rooms of his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. Records were said to be stored in the bathroom, ballroom, storeroom, office, and a bedroom.
Trump has become the first former president to be federally indicted. He is already charged with state crimes in New York on an unrelated case.
Legal observers on the left and right have noted what appears to be a strong case Trump violated federal laws related to government records and sensitive classified material.
Jonathan Turley, a legal scholar and conservative commentator, said on Fox News Channel that the indictment against Trump was “extremely damning” and said the document laid out a strong case Trump violated the law.
Following the indictment Trump announced he would be changing lawyers.
The indictment will have an impact on the 2024 Republican presidential race. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and South Carolina U.S. Sen. Tim Scott have already said federal prosecutors are being unfair to the former president.
President Joe Biden has not commented on the indictment, according to the New York Times.