“This is going to disrupt this nation because it goes to the core of equal justice for all which is not being seen today,” the Republican House Speaker told Fox News on Friday.
“And we're not going to stand for it.”
Mr McCarthy’s comments came after the Department of Justice unsealed a 49-page indictment which laid out in extraordinary detail Special Counsel Jack Smith’s 15-month investigation into Mr Trump’s “willful defiance” of efforts to retrieve the materials.
The indictment painted a damning picture of Mr Trump’s reckless storage of top secret material he took to Mar-a-Lago after leaving the White House, and his efforts to obstruct investigators.
The classified material included nuclear secrets, war plans, and vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies.
Mr Trump told lawyers tasked with complying with a DOJ subpoena that he didn’t want “anyone going through my boxes”, according to the indictment.
Mr McCarthy, who is struggling to hold on to the House leadership, called the indictment a “dark day for America”.
“You've got a sitting president right now in the exact same situation. You have a former first lady, senator, secretary of state, that had the same situation that nothing was done to,” he told Fox News.
Republicans also rushed to defend Mr Trump despite the seemingly overwhelming evidence presented in the 49-page indictment.
“We have now reached a war phase. Eye for an eye,” Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs wrote on Twitter.
Elise Stefanik, the number three House Republican, tweeted that she was committed to “holding government officials accountable for their endless illegal witch hunt against President Trump”.
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley wrote: “If the people in power can jail their political opponents at will, we don’t have a republic.”
And Marco Rubio, the Florida senator, said: “There is no limit to what these people will do to protect their power & destroy those who threaten it, even if it means ripping our country apart & shredding public faith in the institutions that hold our republic together.”
However, the indictment comes not from political rivals or even from prosecutors but from a grand jury.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was investigated by the FBI in 2016 for her handling of classified material, who opted not to charge her after saying she had been “extremely careless”.
President Joe Biden and Trump’s vice president Mike Pence were found to have retained classified materials, but complied with efforts by the National Archive to return them.
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