Ramaswamy Dismisses Trump’s Alleged Obstruction as Just a ‘Process Crime’

GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy on Sunday reacted to the new charges brought against Donald Trump by Special Counsel Jack Smith in the Mar-a-Lago documents case by insisting that the “process crimes” Trump is accused of aren’t serious enough to warrant a conviction.

On CNN State of the Union, Ramaswamy first reiterated that he would pardon Trump if he were to become president. The special counsel’s investigation, he claimed, was “politicized.”

The new charges that Smith brought Thursday are for one count of willful retention of national defense information and two counts of obstruction. The former relates to Trump, at his Bedminster golf club in July 2021, allegedly possessing and showing to others a secret military document outlining attack plans on Iran while acknowledging on tape that he never declassified it. The latter alleges that Trump, aide Walt Nauta, and Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira tried to delete security footage relating to Trump’s storage of classified materials after federal investigators requested it.

But Ramaswamy downplayed the seriousness of charges relating to the former president’s alleged attempt to keep security footage from the hands of authorities.

“I think that our general norm in our Justice Department is you should not convict somebody of a process crime when there was no actual underlying crime. I think that’s a major problem,” he said before anchor Kasie Hunt jumped in to press him on the issue.

“So, you think destroying evidence is a process crime?” she asked.

(The indictment, which lists seven counts of obstruction, does not say that Trump was successful in his effort to have security footage deleted.)

“I think it is, by definition, a process crime,” Ramaswamy replied. “Any legal scholar will agree with me on that statement. That is by definition a process crime: a crime that would not have existed but for the existence of an investigation.”

As evidence of how the FBI has made a “bad habit” of “intervening and creating crimes that would not have existed but for their action,” Ramaswamy pointed to how a federal jury last year acquitted two men of conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer after their lawyers argued that FBI agents entrapped them. (The GOP candidate didn’t mention that two other men were later convicted.)


Ramaswamy concluded the interview by suggesting that if Trump were convicted and not pardoned, it would do irreversible harm to the nation.

“I think as it relates to moving forward as a country, I absolutely think the right answer for the country is to put the grievances of the past behind us—to pardon President Trump—so we can move forward as one nation rather than marching to a national divorce,” he said.