A Manhattan grand jury indicted Donald Trump on Thursday, the first time in U.S. history that a former president has faced criminal charges.
The charges against Trump revolve around supposed hush-money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 presidential election. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, led the investigation, and The New York Times reported that his office filed the charges Thursday under seal.
Trump, who has announced a new campaign for the presidency, was expected to be asked to surrender to authorities in coming days. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, however, quickly promised that his state, where Trump has a home, will “not assist” in any extradition of the former president.
The details of the charges remained unknown Thursday night.
Trump responded to the indictment on his social media platform Truth Social, writing:
These Thugs and Radical Left Monsters have just INDICATED the 45th President of the United States of America, and the leading Republican Candidate, by far, for the 2024 Nomination for President. THIS IS AN ATTACK ON OUR COUNTRY THE LIKES OF WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN SEEN BEFORE. IT IS LIKEWISE A CONTINUING ATTACK ON OUR ONCE FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS. THE USA IS NOW A THIRD WORLD NATION, A NATION IN SERIOUS DECLINE. SO SAD!
Republican and Democrat lawmakers quickly took to Twitter to respond to the news.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, tweeted that the indictment of Trump was “completely unprecedented and is a catastrophic escalation in the weaponization of the justice system.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., accused Bragg of “irreparably” damaging the United States and attempting to “interfere in our presidential election.”
McCarthy pledged that “the House of Representatives will hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account.”
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., tweeted: “President Donald J. Trump has just been indicted by an extremist NY District Attorney. No president of the United States has ever been criminally indicted. Trump Derangement Syndrome has infiltrated our judicial system and if they can come from him, they can come for anyone.”
President Donald J. Trump has just been indicted by an extremist NY District Attorney.— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) March 30, 2023
No president of the United States has ever been criminally indicted.
Trump Derangement Syndrome has infiltrated our judicial system and if they can come for him, they can come for anyone.
“This isn’t just an indictment of President Trump,” Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., wrote on Twitter, “it’s an attempt to intimidate anyone who goes against the Left’s radical regime!”
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., one of Trump’s most vocal political opponents, responded to the news by tweeting: “The indictment of a former president is unprecedented. But so too is the unlawful conduct in which Trump has been engaged. A nation of laws must hold the rich and powerful accountable, even when they hold high office. Especially when they do. To do otherwise is not democracy.”
“President Donald Trump always fought for us,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., wrote on Twitter. “He puts the American people above corrupt interests. For that reason alone, the powerful will never stop coming for him. A majority of Americans know Alvin Bragg’s witch hunt is a politically motivated prosecution.”
“No one is above the law—not even a current or former president,” Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., tweeted. “It is important that in our society, the legal system holds people accountable for crimes committed. No exception should be given for a twice-impeached former president.”
“There is no crime here,” Kari Lake, the unsuccessful Republican nominee in Arizona’s close gubernatorial election in November, said in a written statement, adding: “This political prosecution should receive bipartisan condemnation. The precedent this sets threatens to further divide a country that already seems to be on the verge of tearing itself apart.”
DeSantis, a fellow Republican believed to be planning a race for president, called the indictment of Trump “un-American,” and said: “Florida will not assist in an extradition request given the questionable circumstances at issue with this Soros-backed Manhattan prosecutor and his political agenda.”
“Tonight’s indictment of Donald Trump isn’t about the law. It’s about power. Raw power,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., tweeted. “It’s the Democrat Party telling the nation they will stop at nothing to control the outcome of the next presidential election. It is an assault on our democracy, pure and simple.”
“I think what we know is that when you get into political prosecutions like this, it’s more about revenge than it is about justice,” former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and 2024 Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said on Fox News. “And, you know, I think the country would be better off talking about things that the American public cares about than to sit there and have to deal with some revenge by some political people in New York.”
This is a developing story and will be updated as more details are available.
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