Southland Democratic political leaders reacted as expected Thursday to news of former President Donald Trump's indictment on charges tied to hush money paid to adult film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign, echoing a chorus that "no one is above the law."
"Indicting a former president is a horrible precedent," Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, wrote on his Twitter page. "The only precedent worse than that is to not indict Donald Trump if there is evidence that he committed crimes. This is a somber moment for America. We should let the judicial system do its job without interference."
Rep. Katie Porter, D-Irvine, tweeted simply "No one is above the law," a phrase repeated by other local Democrats, including Reps. Tony Cardenas and Nanette Barragán.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, called the indictment a "sobering and unprecedented development."
"If we are to be a nation of laws, then we must apply the law equally and to everyone, regardless of their station," Schiff said in a statement. "Few nations have lived up to this ideal, and our own country has often fallen far too short. But if we are to have justice, if we are to have a rule of law that is meaningful and protective of our democracy, we must hold the rich and powerful to account, even when those persons hold high office -- perhaps most importantly, when they hold high office. To do otherwise, because holding a president accountable is controversial or provocative, will not bring order, but breed disorder, and disrespect of the law."
The indictment stems from a $130,000 payment made by Trump attorney Michael Cohen to Daniels, allegedly paid to prevent her from going public with claims that she had an affair with Trump. Cohen pleaded guilty to federal charges in 2018 tied to the payment.
Trump issued a statement calling the indictment a "political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history." Trump has declared his candidacy for the upcoming presidential race.
"The Democrats have lied, cheated and stolen in their obsession with trying to `Get Trump,' but now they've done the unthinkable -- indicting a completely innocent person in an act of blatant election interference," Trump said.
"... I believe this witch-hunt will backfire massively on Joe Biden. The American people realize exactly what the radical left Democrats are doing here. Everyone can see it. So our movement, and our party -- united and strong - will first defeat (Manhattan District Attorney) Alvin Bragg, and then we will defeat Joe Biden, and we are going to throw every last one of these crooked Democrats out of office so we can make America great again."
Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, said he will "always believe that this twice-impeached former president is a threat to our democracy. This is one of many steps to ensure that we are a country for and by the people, and that no one is above the law."
Rep. Mike Levin, D-Dana Point, urged Americans to let the criminal process unfold.
"Like any American who is indicted, Donald Trump deserves every protection provided by the Constitution, and due process under the law," Levin said. "As that process unfolds, let us neither celebrate nor divide. and let us remember that justice benefits us all. No one is above the law."
While Republican elected officials from around the Southland did not immediately react to news of Trump's indictment, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, tweeted, "Here we go again -- an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump."
"I'm directing relevant committees to immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions," McCarthy said.
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