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Republican lawmakers react with fury to Trump verdict and rally to his defense

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican lawmakers reacted with immediate fury on Thursday as a New York jury convicted former President Donald Trump on 34 counts of falsifying business records to influence the 2016 election, speaking out with near unanimity in questioning the legitimacy of the trial and how it was conducted.

House Speaker Mike Johnson said it was a “shameful day in American history” and the charges were “purely political.” Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance said the verdict was a “disgrace to the judicial system.” And Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican, said that the decision was “a defeat for Americans who believe in the critical legal tenet that justice is blind.”

Within minutes of the verdict being read, Republicans who have in the past been divided over support for their presumptive GOP presidential nominee found common ground in attacking — with few specifics — the judge, the jury and President Joe Biden, even though the conviction came on state charges in a Manhattan court. As the nation’s top federal official, Biden has no say in what happens in the New York City courtroom.