Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy criticized the Espionage Act as the “most un-American” law in U.S. history, when commenting on the Department of Justice’s classified documents case against former President Donald Trump.
“There’s a difference between a bad judgment and a crime. 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,” Mr. Ramaswamy told ABC’s “This Week” on Sept. 3.
The former president is charged with 40 counts, including 32 counts of willful retention of national defense information under the Espionage Act, over his alleged mishandling of classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago resort. The trial for the case is scheduled to start on May 20, 2024.
President Trump has previously called the classified case against him “one of the most outrageous and vicious legal theories ever put forward in an American court of law.”
Mr. Ramaswamy, who announced his 2024 bid for the White House in February, said in June that he would ask Congress to repeal the Espionage Act if elected president. He argued the law has a history of being used to “stifle political opposition.”
“The Presidential Records Act of 1978 gives the president the sole authority to decide what records to take with him when he leaves office. The indictment of Mr. Trump, which doesn’t even mention the Presidential Records Act, suggests the Espionage Act is again a weapon against dissent, as it was in 1917,” he explained in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
During the ABC interview, Mr. Ramaswamy said he would have done differently compared to President Trump.
“Would I have done the same thing and held onto those documents? No, I would not have,” he said. “Do I think it’s an illegal behavior under the Presidential Records Act and other statutes? No, I do not.”
‘Dark Direction for This Country’
Mr. Ramaswamy expressed concerns about the direction the country is headed.
“I think we continue to set a dangerous precedent. I do not want to see us march to some kind of national divorce, and I am worried,” he said.
He continued, “Day by day, we’re inching in a dark direction for this country. I don’t want to see another day like January 6th in this country. But I think the way we’re going to get there is by moving this nation forward—not by engaging in vengeance-driven prosecution to eliminate one man from running, becoming some sort of banana republic.”
Mr. Ramaswamy added that he didn’t want his path to becoming the next U.S. president to be marked by President Trump being eliminated owing to his legal troubles.
“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,” he explained.
In late August, President Trump indicated that he was open to the idea of having Mr. Ramaswamy as his running mate for the 2024 race.
‘Reunite the Country’
Mr. Ramaswamy reiterated his plan to pardon the former president, adding that doing so would be good for the nation.
“If Donald Trump’s the nominee, yes, I will support him, and if I’m the president, yes, I will pardon him because that will help reunite the country,” he said.
However, pardoning the former president wouldn’t be “the most important thing” for him to do if elected, Mr. Ramaswamy said. Rather, it would be “the table stakes for moving this country forward,” he added.
He continued, “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.”
Mr. Ramaswamy is running on an “America First 2.0” platform, which includes promises such as ending the weaponization of the government and achieving U.S. independence from China.
One policy commitment under the platform is holding the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for COVID-19, and another is stopping CCP affiliates from buying American land.
Mr. Ramaswamy is currently in third place in FiveThirtyEight’s GOP presidential primary poll average. As of Sept. 2, the average shows President Trump with 51.4 percent support nationally, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with 14.5 percent, and Mr. Ramaswamy with 8.7 percent.
From The Epoch Times