In public, Congressional Republicans have remained firm in their support of Donald Trump, even after last week’s allegations that Trump was personally involved in illegal payments to silence women with whom he had affairs, in order to influence the 2016 presidential election — and the possibility, as the Inquisitr reported, that he may face indictment and even jail time.
As CNN reported, Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch — when asked for his reaction to Trump’s involvement in felonies as alleged by federal prosecutors — replied, “I don’t care.” Another leading Republican, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, dismissed the claims against Trump made in a sentencing memo for Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Grassley called Cohen “a liar.” Maine Senator Susan Collins and South Dakota Senator John Thune also “shrugged,” as CNN put it, saying that it was “premature” to form an opinion on Trump’s involvement in the alleged crimes.
But behind closed doors, Republicans on Capitol Hill are singing a very different tune, according to Los Angeles Times White House correspondent Eli Stokols. Stokols has previously reported for Politico and the Wall Street Journal, for whom he covered the 2016 presidential campaign.
According to Stokols, quoted by Newsweek from an MSNBC interview on Monday, Congressional Republicans “are starting to tell me privately — some of them — if there’s obvious evidence, the bottom’s going to fall out.”
Watch Stokols give his report and analysis in the video below, courtesy of MSNBC.
“There is some understanding, I think, inside the White House of just how dark it may be getting,” Stokols told MSNBC host Nicole Wallace, citing “private conversations people there are having with Republicans on the Hill who are starting to be concerned.”
Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, have echoed Republican claims that the allegations made by the Southern District of New York in its sentencing memo for Cohen are based solely on Cohen’s statements, which they characterize as lies fabricated by Cohen. Cohen’s claims, as Giuliani said according to a Daily Beast report, are motivated by the supposed fact that Cohen “can’t handle jail.”
But even some prominent supporters of Trump who have legal backgrounds disagree. Former New Jersey Governor and prosecutor Chris Christie — reported to be among candidates to serve as Trump’s next chief of staff, according to the North Jersey Record — said on Sunday that prosecutors appear to have evidence beyond Cohen’s own statements.
“The language in the sentencing memo is different from what we’ve heard before,” Christie said, according to the Hill. “When prosecutors sound that definitive they’ve got more usually than just one witness.”
Even Fox News legal commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano said in a Monday appearance on the network that prosecutors appear to have additional evidence against Trump.
“This is the Southern District of New York. This is the oldest and most prestigious federal prosecutor’s office in the country,” Napolitano told Fox host Bill Hemmer. “They would not make an allegation like that if they did not have corroborating evidence to support it.”