Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) on Saturday expressed concern over executive branch handling of classified information in the wake of the Trump indictment while calling prosecution of the former president “inherently political.”
“Regardless of your political position, the news of another indictment against the former president should concern all of us,” Rounds wrote in a statement. “American citizens look to our leaders and our justice system to have integrity – and that integrity is once again being called into question.”
Rounds, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, refrained from naming anyone — including Donald Trump — in his statement, although he said it was “unacceptable” that classified documents have been “treated so carelessly by current and former members of the executive branch,” likely also referencing the retrieval of classified documents from President Joe Biden’s Delaware home and a similar controversy involving former Vice President Mike Pence.
Later in the same statement, Rounds wrote that he was “concerned” that the DOJ had decided to “pursue this case against the former president at a time when our current president has also admitted to the possession of classified documents while out of office.”
Both Pence and Biden cooperated with the respective Justice Department investigations. Prosecutors this week charged Trump with 37 felonies, including 31 counts under the Espionage Act of “willful retention” of classified records.
Rounds also noted the “lasting impact” he believes the case will have politically and on the rule of law.
“The unprecedented action of indicting in federal court a former president, who is also a current candidate for president, cannot be taken lightly as it is inherently political and will have a lasting impact on our nation,” Rounds warned. “The burden of proof is on the Department of Justice to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. The former president should be considered innocent unless proven guilty.”