GOP House appropriations committee member seeks to 'defund' Trump probes

Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., blasted what called the 'sham indictments' of former President Donald Trump Monday in announcing he will seek to block funding for the prosecutions against him. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI

Aug. 28 (UPI) -- A Republican member of the House Appropriations Committee and staunch backer of Donald Trump said Monday he will seek to withhold federal funding for legal cases against the former president.

Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia blasted what he called the "sham indictments" brought against Trump by Special Counsel Jack Smith, Fulton County, Ga., District Attorney Fani Willis and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, calling them part of "the radical Left's nefarious election interference efforts."

"These bogus charges are undoubtedly intended to smear and take down President Trump, as well as hinder his ability to campaign effectively," he said in a statement. "This overt election interference continues to undermine both our republic and our fair system of justice."

Clyde said he is seeking to "defund" state investigations by Bragg, who has charged Trump with falsifying business records in the "Stormy Daniels" case, and Willis, who is prosecuting him in relation to his effort to overturn the 2020 election results in the state of Georgia.

Smith, meanwhile, is heading a pair federal cases against the former president, including one for attempting to subvert the 2020 election results and another for seeking to conceal classified documents.

Clyde said he will propose a pair of amendments to one of the 12 government appropriations bills the committee will consider when Congress returns next month under which the use of federal funding "for the prosecution of any major presidential candidate prior to the upcoming presidential election on November 5th, 2024" would be prohibited.

One of the proposed amendments to the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill would affect the federal prosecutions of Trump under Smith, while the other is aimed state prosecutions, such as Willis' case against in Georgia against the former president, he said.

The bill is one of 12 appropriations measures that are set to be marked up in the appropriations committee beginning next month, which need to be approved to avoid a government shutdown in which many basic government functions would come to a halt.

All of the appropriations bills, totaling more than $1 trillion in funding, were passed by bipartisan majorities in the Senate last month, but their path through the House appears more rocky as several House conservatives and members of the GOP's Freedom Caucus have targeted funding for the probes of Trump via the appropriations process.