President Joe Biden and the White House have declined to comment on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s Thursday indictment of former President Donald Trump.
As he traveled from the White House to Mississippi to survey tornado-ravaged portions of the state on Friday, Biden was asked by reporters about Trump being charged. He declined to answer.
“I have no comment on Trump,” Biden said. He did not elaborate more and instead pivoted to Russia having detained a Wall Street Journal reporter, saying: “Let him go.”
Earlier this month, Trump wrote on Truth Social that he might be indicted, prompting a flurry of reports and questions to White House officials about the DA’s case. White House officials, in response, have repeatedly declined to comment on the matter over the past several weeks.
“We do not comment on any ongoing investigations from here. We’ve been very consistent on that,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on March 20, days after Trump’s Truth Social announcement and statement that supporters should protest his indictment. “The president has been very clear when it comes to Americans who want to protest: They should do it peacefully.”
Meanwhile, some top Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have remained relatively reserved about the case against Trump. On Thursday, Schumer posted to Twitter that Trump is “is subject to the same laws as every American” and “will be able to avail himself of the legal system and a jury, not politics, to determine his fate according to the facts and the law.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered a similar refrain on her Twitter account. But she drew controversy for suggesting that Trump has to “prove” his “innocence,” with critics suggesting that she is flouting longstanding Anglo-American jurisprudence that one should be assumed innocent until proven guilty.
Neither the Department of Justice (DOJ) nor Attorney General Merrick Garland have commented on the indictment. The DOJ, which reportedly declined to investigate Trump in connection to the alleged Stormy Daniels payments, last year named a special counsel to investigate Trump about whether he mishandled classified documents and his activity following the 2020 election.
A New York grand jury voted Thursday to indict Trump, a 2024 presidential candidate, although details about the charges are not clear. It has been reported that the case is in relation to alleged hush-money payments Trump paid to adult actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 campaign and whether he misclassified those funds.
Joe Tacopina, a lawyer for Trump, told The Epoch Times that the former president was told about the Manhattan grand jury’s vote to indict him. The indictment, however, remains sealed—and it likely will remain so until Trump arrives in court for his arraignment.
While Trump claimed in a social media post on March 18 that he would be arrested in days, Trump’s first reaction at the news was “shock,” said one of his attorneys, Joe Tacopina, in a Friday interview on ABC News.
“We’ll go in there and we’ll proceed to see a judge at some point, plead not guilty, start talking about filing motions, which we will do immediately and very aggressively,” Tacopina said.
Trump, 76, said he was “completely innocent” and accused Bragg, a Democrat, of trying to hurt his electoral chances. “This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history,” Trump said in a statement.
The Manhattan charges will likely be unsealed by a judge in the coming days and Trump will have to travel there to be photographed, fingerprinted, and appear in court, which a court official said was expected on Tuesday. Trump lawyer Susan Necheles confirmed the Tuesday surrender date and said she did not expect charges to be unsealed until that day.
Reuters contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times