Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (R) took aim at Republicans who accuse the Justice Department (DOJ) of being biased, warning them to not use former President Trump’s indictments as “political fodder.”
“While Trump has a right to defend himself, his language and actions since 2016 have fueled a growing sense among many Americans that our justice system is rigged and biased against him and his supporters,” Gonzales wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.
“Sadly, this has led on the right to a growing distrust of and rage against the Justice Department,” he added.
“Pundits across the political spectrum have a duty to be honest with Americans and to demonstrate that Trump is not being singled out and treated unfairly unless there is clear evidence to believe otherwise,” Gonzales wrote. “The American people should withhold their judgment, consider the facts as the case moves forward, and be wary of words designed to fan the flames of partisanship.”
Gonzales, who served in former President George W. Bush’s administration, pushed back against arguments that the DOJ is targeting free speech in its latest charges brought against Trump: “Speech that leads to crime has never been protected from prosecution,” he wrote.
“Lying to masses of Americans that their right to vote was taken away and encouraging them to take it back by any means — as Trump is accused of doing — can, based on evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, constitute a crime.”
Trump pleaded not guilty last week to four federal charges in connection with his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The former president and many of his allies have used the indictment to accuse the Biden administration of “weaponizing” the DOJ, with many labeling it as a “two-tier system of justice.“
Gonzales argued that the rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, should not be held to a higher standard than Trump. He warned that if the country decides that presidents should not be charged with crimes related to actions they took while in office, the U.S. is “no longer a democracy.”
He also reiterated the “burden of proof” is on the government, adding that it is the duty of officials to “act at all times with integrity.” He also called on political pundits to be “honest” with Americans in the wake of Trump’s latest indictment.
“The rule of law is the glue that holds our country together. If we are to survive as a democracy, we must continue to respect and protect it,” he concluded.