Speaker Mike Johnson assails Trump’s felony trial in remarkable visit outside courthouse

U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson assailed the hush money case against Donald Trump Tuesday as an illegitimate “sham,” becoming the highest-ranking Republican to show up at court, embrace the former president’s claims of political persecution and attack the U.S. system of justice.

It was a remarkable moment in modern American politics: The House speaker amplifying Trump’s defense and turning the Republican Party against the federal and state legal systems that are foundational to the U.S. government and a cornerstone of democracy.

Johnson, who is second in line for the presidency, called the court system “corrupt.”

Outside the New York courthouse, he decried “this ridiculous prosecution that is not about justice.” He said, “It’s all about politics.”

The speaker is leading a growing list of Republican lawmakers who are criticizing the American judicial system as they rally to Trump’s side, appearing at the courthouse to defend the party’s presumptive presidential nominee. Trump is accused of having arranged secret payments to a porn actress to hide negative stories during his successful 2016 campaign for president.

With Trump stuck in court and barred by a judge’s gag order from criticizing witnesses or certain elements of the case, Johnson and the lawmakers are taking it upon themselves to attack

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