Former U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has been highly critical of former President Donald Trump, but he isn’t thrilled by the prospect of seeing Trump indicted by Manhattan’s Democratic District Attorney, either.
In a podcast interview with DVJournal, Toomey acknowledged he is “no particular fan of the former president.” But, he said, the publicly available information about prosecutor Alvin Bragg’s case against Trump shows it’s “seldom treated as a serious offense. It’s usually treated as a minor matter.”
As a result, “If he makes the choice to bring criminal charges and pursue a trial against a former president and current candidate for the office, that’s deeply concerning to me. It’s going to look political,” Toomey said.
According to multiple reports, Bragg is ready to indict Trump for failing to properly report hush money paid by his lawyer to his alleged mistress, Stormy Daniels. Though the crime is a misdemeanor, Bragg is reportedly planning to bump it up to a felony by alleging the payoff was actually a campaign donation.
Experts say that novel legal theory is fraught with risk. And, Toomey said, it points to a Democratic prosecutor playing politics. Though not perhaps in the way many assume.
And because the indictment is such a stretch, and would smack of partisan politics, the net result “could very well be that it helps President Trump in a Republican primary,” Toomey said. “It will underscore views that many people have about the political nature of prosecutions, and prosecuting Donald Trump in particular. If that were the case, it would actually help Donald Trump get across the finish line first in the Republican primary.
“Interestingly,” Toomey added, “that would presumably serve President Biden’s interest very well because I do think Donald Trump is the most beatable Republican in the general election.”
Toomey isn’t alone. A Republican strategist working for a potential 2024 candidate told DVJournal on background, “It’s the 2022 primaries all over again. Democrats spent millions to pick our candidates for us. Now, knowing how the base is going to react to Trump’s arrest, they’re doing it again.”
Democrats spent some $50 million nationwide boosting far-right, Trump-linked candidates in GOP primaries for Congress. In Pennsylvania, the Josh Shapiro gubernatorial campaign ran TV ads boosting state Sen. Doug Mastriano in the Republican contest. It helped lift the underfunded MAGA candidate to a primary win — and a massive loss in November.
“This is why it’s all so disturbing and why, in my view, a prosecutor should only bring a charge against a former president, especially a current candidate for president, if there’s a very solid case. And it’s not obvious to me that this is one,” Toomey said.
Former Biden White House spokesperson Jen Psaki, now an MSNBC host, admitted Bragg could be giving Trump a boost. “It’s safe to bet that Trump will try to weaponize this for political gain. We have watched him do that plenty of times before.
“Are there scenarios where Trump runs away with the Republican nomination? Of course,” she added. But she said it is possible that his actual indictment could have a more negative impact than previous scandals.
“Don’t freak out quite yet,” Psaki said.