Congressional Reps. Clyde, Greene, Ogles file bills to block use of federal dollars to prosecute Trump

FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks with reporters before departure from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023, in Atlanta. Trump has pleaded not guilty and waived arraignment in the case accusing him and others of illegally trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

NASHVILLE — A trio of Georgia and Tennessee Republican congressional members are mounting three separate efforts to defund ongoing criminal prosecutions of Donald Trump as the former president and 2024 candidate faces state-level election racketeering charges in Georgia related to the 2022 election, a New York County indictment on alleged hush-money payments to an adult film star and federal charges of election conspiracy in the 2022 election as well as the obstruction and mishandling of classified records.

The latest entrant into blocking Trump prosecutions is U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Georgia, a member of the House Appropriations Committee who has introduced legislation to deep-six actions in Georgia, Florida and Washington, D.C.

Clyde, who serves on the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, announced last week he is introducing amendments to an appropriations bill to defund not only federal prosecutions of Trump until after the 2024 election but state prosecutions in Georgia and New York City as well.

Among those that could be affected is Fulton County District Attorney General Fani Willis' prosecution of Trump and others on racketeering charges as they sought to reverse the 2022 election in Georgia, which showed Democrat Joe Biden won.

Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Tennessee, introduced a bill to defund the salary of federal special prosecutor Jack Smith, who is pressing the election conspiracy charges and obstruction case involving documents Trump took as he departed the White House in early 2021 after losing the 2022 election.

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, said earlier this summer in a social media post she plans to add amendatory language to defund Smith's prosecution using must-pass spending bills.

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Clyde, a gun-store owner from Athens, could be in a prime position.

One of his amendments would prevent federal taxpayer dollars from funding federal prosecutions against Trump. The second would prohibit funding for state prosecutions against the former president.

"Americans' hard-earned tax dollars have no place funding the radical Left's nefarious election interference efforts," Clyde stated in a Tuesday news release. "Together, Jack Smith, Alvin Bragg, and Fani Willis intentionally brought four sham indictments against the sitting president's top political opponent, President Donald J. Trump, as the upcoming 2024 presidential election ramps up.

"These bogus charges are undoubtedly intended to smear and take down President Trump, as well as hinder his ability to campaign effectively. This overt election interference continues to undermine both our Republic and our fair system of justice," continued Clyde who went on to characterize all the charge as part of a "witch hunt."

Efforts by text to reach U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, an Ooltewah Republican who serves on the Appropriations Committee, were unsuccessful.

Greene weighed in earlier this month on social media. She called federal special prosecutor Jack Smith a "terrible attorney with a lot of failures in his career.

"Now, he's abusing his power, the power of the special counsel, and the power of the Department of Injustice," Greene added. "I will not fund Jack Smith's special counsel and I will use the Holman Rule to defund his office. President Trump is innocent and we must end the witch hunts!"

The Holman Rule allows amendments to appropriations legislation that would reduce the salary of or fire specific federal employees, or cut a specific program. Republicans reinstated the rule after winning control of the lower chamber in 2022 elections.

Efforts to reach spokespersons for U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, D-Ga., who is also chair of the Georgia Democratic Party, were unsuccessful as were efforts to reach party officials.

Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Hendrell Remus was critical of Ogles, calling his actions a "dereliction of duty.

"Congressman Ogles has a responsibility to stand up for and protect the Constitution to make sure people are confident in the laws of the land in this nation," Remus said. "And by putting forth such a bill is in complete disregard to how I think the founding fathers of this nation intended our Constitution to work and the separation of the three branches of government.

"You know, obviously, no one is above the law," Remus added. "The president, like any other citizens, will have his day in court to make his case. Further interference in the case, I think, is unwarranted, especially from members who have sworn an oath to protect the Constitution."

Contact Andy Sher at [email protected] or 615-285-9480.