The first two members of Congress to publicly support Donald Trump for president have been indicted, and the three men who were next in line to back him have weathered significant scandals.
Reps. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) threw their support behind Trump in February 2016, back when much of the GOP establishment was staying far away from the real estate mogul and long before it was clear that Trump was going to win the nomination.
But this month the scandals plaguing the two Trump backers caught up with them. On Aug. 8, the FBI arrested Collins, who was accused of insider trading, and on Tuesday, a grand jury indicted Hunter and his wife on charges of improperly using campaign funds.
Collins initially planned to fight the charges as he ran for re-election, but he eventually decided to suspend his campaign as he and his son face charges of securities fraud in connection with a pharmaceutical company. The Republican congressman is accused of sharing private information with son Cameron Collins in order to sell shares before the public announcement of a drug trial failure that led the company’s stock to fall 92 percent.
Hunter and his wife were indicted by a grand jury in San Diego on Tuesday on charges of filing false campaign finance records. The couple is accused of using more than $250,000 in campaign funds to pay for personal expenses, such as their children’s school tuition, restaurant outings and shopping mall purchases.
The five-term congressman repaid $60,000 to his campaign earlier this year for inappropriate expenses in 2015, but an FBI investigation looked at expenditures dating back as far as 2009.
The next three members of Congress to back Trump have had issues of their own.
Jeff Sessions gave a significant boost of establishment credibility to Trump’s campaign when, as a U.S. senator from Alabama, he endorsed him in the GOP primary. Sessions, who is now attorney general, had to recuse himself from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election after questions emerged about his interactions with Russian officials during the Trump presidential campaign.
Reps. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) and Tom Marino (R-Pa.) were the fourth and fifth members of Congress to publicly back Trump. HuffPost broke the story in 2012 that, although DesJarlais, a physician, presented himself as anti-abortion and pro-family, he pressured his mistress ― who was also his patient ― to get an abortion.
In 2017, Marino withdrew from consideration as Trump’s drug czar after an investigation found that he sponsored legislation that made it harder for the Drug Enforcement Agency to battle the opioid epidemic.
On Tuesday, the same day that the indictment against Hunter came down, Trump’s former campaign chairman was found guilty on eight counts that included tax fraud, while the president’s longtime fixer and personal attorney pleaded guilty to illegally interfering in the presidential election. He made clear that he did so at the direction of Trump.