With the end of the federal fiscal year looming, former President Donald Trump wants House Republicans to defund Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office and cut off funding for the prosecutions against him.
Republicans are hampered by the divided nature of their conference. Their four-seat majority gives them little room for error. Trump hopes to lean on members of the pro-Trump Freedom Caucus to shut down the government and end the prosecution against him.
“A very important deadline is approaching at the end of the month. Republicans in Congress can and must defund all aspects of Crooked Joe Biden’s weaponized Government that refuses to close the Border, and treats half the Country as Enemies of the State. This is also the last chance to defund these political prosecutions against me and other Patriots. They failed on the debt limit, but they must not fail now. Use the power of the purse and defend the Country!” Trump said in a Truth Social post.
Trump called it the “last chance” to deny funding for the effort to take him down by using the power of the purse as a weapon.
Trump Allies on Record Wanting to Shut Down the Government
Last month, Georgia Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde proposed two amendments seeking to defund the prosecutions. His legislation aimed to “prohibit the use of federal funding for the prosecution of any major presidential candidate prior to the upcoming presidential election on November 5th, 2024.”
“The American people get to decide who wins the White House — not Deep State actors who have shamelessly attacked Donald Trump since he announced his first bid in 2015. It is imperative that Congress use its power of the purse to protect the integrity of our elections, restore Americans’ faith in our government, and dismantle our nation’s two-tiered system of justice. I’m fully committed to helping lead this effort, and I call on my House Appropriations colleagues to join me in this righteous fight,” Clyde said in a statement.
Trump allies Reps. Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Matt Gaetz similarly said they would support legislation defunding the prosecutions. Tennessee Republican Rep. Andy Ogles introduced legislation to defund Special Counsel Jack Smith’s federal salary.
Cutting the funding would be unlikely to stop the prosecutions.
“Criminal litigation will continue without interruption as an activity essential to the safety of human life and the protection of property,” a 2021 Justice Department memo published amid a government shutdown threat that year said.
Special Counsels, however, are funded through “the permanent, indefinite appropriation for independent counsels,” according to Smith’s latest filing.
Republicans Divided a Shutdown Looms
Speaker Kevin McCarthy has grown frustrated.
“I don’t understand why anybody votes against bringing the idea and having the debate,” McCarthy told reporters about the Freedom Caucus’s effort. “This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down. That doesn’t work.”
Democrats are making hay out of the Republican divisions.
“House Republicans continue to be held captive by the most extreme element of their conference, and it’s hurting the American people,” Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said at a press conference. “Why are the American people facing down another manufactured GOP crisis? They need to end their civil war.”
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting. He writes opinion columns from a conservative perspective.