Ramaswamy rips Trump’s ‘un-American’ Espionage Act charges, says he’d pardon to ‘reunite’ country

Vivek Ramaswamy took a swipe at federal overreach as he slammed one particular legal case against his political opponent as “the most un-American statute in our history.”

(Video: ABC News)

A focus on former President Donald Trump is never far for any of his GOP primary contenders, and Sunday on ABC News’s “This Week” the businessman-turned-presidential hopeful found himself questioned on Trump’s alleged wrongdoing.

Touting a familiar line about “no evidence,” host George Stephanopoulos challenged Ramaswamy over his take on the case of the documents the candidate had referred to as an “illegal prosecution.”

Rather than question the legalities, Stephanopoulos, the one-time communications director for then-President Bill Clinton, wondered at his guest’s opinion on whether Trump’s behavior could be considered right or wrong.

“There’s a difference between a bad judgment and a crime,” Ramaswamy replied. “The Presidential Records Act was nowhere mentioned in that 49-page indictment in the documents case. I think the Espionage Act under which Trump was charged is the most un-American statute in our history.”

As detailed by Intel.gov, the Espionage Act of 1917 was passed as an effort to “crack down on wartime activities considered dangerous or disloyal” before it was later amended by the Sedition Act of 1918 to include the stifling of criticism of the government. The Sedition Act was later repealed in 1920 after more than 2,000 individuals had faced charges.

“So, no, would I have done the same thing and held onto those documents? No, I would not have,” continued the candidate. “Do I think it’s an illegal behavior under the Presidential Records Act and other statutes? No, I do not.”

Ramaswamy’s position on pardoning a potentially convicted Trump was also a topic of discussion to which the businessman insisted the unity of the nation was at stake.

Seeming to petition directly to the president’s supporters, the guest contended, “I’ve offered unprecedented clarity on how I would go further than Trump in advancing that America First agenda in a way that brings all Americans together.”

“And unlike many in the media, I’m not rooting for division by using a trial or four trials about one man to make that the basis for a referendum on an election. Now, what I have said is clear. If Donald Trump is the nominee, yes, I will support him,” he reminded. “And if I’m president, yes, I will pardon him, because that will help reunite the country. But it’s not the most important thing I’m gonna do as the next president.”

Instead, he insisted, “It is the table stakes for moving this country forward.”

His support of the president on this point was offered as a matter of pride from the candidate who highlighted some polls had him performing better than rival Florida Gov. Ron Desantis and noted, “It would be easier for me if Donald Trump were eliminated from competition. That is why it’s particularly important for me to state with clarity that on principle, I’m still against seeing him eliminated that way, and that’s why I have been so vocal about this.”

While Stephanopoulos also made a point of bringing up the issue of Jan. 6, a matter for which Ramaswamy challenged his “categorization” of Trump’s call for peaceful protests as “encourag[ing] the mob to storm the Capitol,” the candidate pushed back on the corporate media focus.

“We spend a lot of time talking about the Trump family. I want to talk about American families — where do we lead this country? What are we actually running to?” he asked. “How do we shut down the administrative state that is the source of that illegal prosecution against Trump? That’s what I’m focused on — how do we get rid of that unconstitutional fourth branch of government.”

Kevin Haggerty

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