Conservatives and supporters of former President Donald Trump erupted over the weekend after Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a tweet condemning Russia’s prosecution of opposition leader Aleksey Navalny.
A Russian court convicted Navalny on charges of extremism and sentenced him to 19 years in prison on Friday, one day after Trump was arraigned in federal court on charges related to the 2020 presidential election and the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
“The United States strongly condemns Russia’s conviction of opposition leader Aleksey Navalny on politically motivated charges,” Blinken tweeted Friday. “The Kremlin cannot silence the truth. Navalny should be released.”
The secretary of state’s tweet came one day after Trump, the current front-runner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, was arraigned on federal charges alleging that he had orchestrated a plan to overturn the results of the 2020 election against President Biden.
The former president has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights.
Trump could face another indictment for alleged election meddling in Georgia as soon as Monday.
Critics who argue Trump is being politically prosecuted called Blinken’s tweet condemning Russian state prosecutors “ironic,” “tone-deaf” and “tyrannical.”
The Twitter account for the pro-Trump super PAC, MAGA Inc, hit the Biden administration for not being able to “get its story straight.”
“Exactly ZERO self awareness!!!” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted. “You really ceded the moral high ground here… Wonder where they got the idea that it’s acceptable to jail your political opposition?”
“The lack of self-awareness is astounding,” GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy tweeted.
“Incredible. You can’t even make this up. Now do Trump,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted.
The White House and DOJ did not respond to requests for a rebuttal to the criticism. When reached by Fox News Digital Sunday morning, the State Department pointed to a statement Friday by its spokesman further condemning Russia.
“By conducting this latest trial in secret and limiting his lawyers’ access to purported evidence, Russian authorities illustrated yet again both the baselessness of their case and the lack of due process afforded to those who dare to criticize the regime,” the statement read, in part. “We once again join Mr. Navalny’s family, colleagues, and supporters around the world in calling for his immediate release, and an end to the continued repression of independent voices in Russia.”
The statement came the same day that Trump posted an alleged threat following his arraignment.
“IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!” the former president declared on his Truth Social website.
The Justice Department responded to Trump’s post by urging a federal judge overseeing his case to issue a protective order against him, which would limit the information he and his legal team would be allowed to share publicly about the case.
U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan gave Trump’s lawyers until the end of the day on Monday to respond to the proposed order, but Trump’s legal team has filed a document requesting an extension until Aug. 10.