Donald Trump indictment on 37 federal felony charges draws response from local politicians

Craig Wall Image
Friday, June 9, 2023
Local politicians react to Trump indictment on 37 felonies
Donald Trump's indictment on 37 federal felony charges, including violations of the Espionage Act, drew responses across the political spectrum.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The revelations in the unsealed federal indictment against former president Donald Trump have drawn quick response from all corners of the political world, including in Illinois.

Illinois Democrats are taking a measured approach in their response, while the head of the Illinois Republican Party suggested the Department of Justice has been weaponized for political purposes.

READ MORE: Trump faces 37 felony charges; read indictment details here

Thursday Trump became the first former present to ever be indicted on federal charges. Friday he was out golfing in New Jersey.

The 37 felony counts stem from the removal and retention of classified documents when Trump left office. Reaction poured in from both sides of the political aisle, including from former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who had previously served as a federal prosecutor herself. She said Trump is in trouble.

"The strongest indictments, strongest cases, are the ones where you take the defendants documented actions, words, deeds that are memorialized contemporaneously and you use that to build your criminal case and as precisely, what this indictment does," she said.

"First, whether your president of the United States or the man on the street, you're entitled to the presumption of innocence. Any person called into question or criminal liability has the right in America to assert their innocence and to contest the charges by the government in a court of law," said Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois).

"I'd like to see the President be treated fairly. And given the presumption of innocence that's afforded to all Americans," said U.S. Rep. Jonathan Jackson (D-Chicago).

Republicans raised concerns about political motivations behind the decision to charge Trump, and also about the impact on next year's elections. Trump is the current front runner for the GOP nomination, and is already fundraising using the charges.

"It certainly complicates everything about the 2024 election, and that's why I say these charges need to better not be political. You know, they better be rock solid or the Justice Department has really done a terrible thing," said Don Tracy, chair of the Illinois Republican Party.

Republican Indiana Senator Mike Braum had an even stronger condemnation, saying, "The Biden administration is arresting their top political adversary for something Biden himself admitted to doing just this year. President Biden's weaponization of our justice system against his enemies will do lasting damage to the rule of law."

Lightfoot also said the judge handling the case could play a major role in the outcome.

"I think if the judge plays it straight, and doesn't try to put her thumb on the scale, I think the likelihood of a conviction is very, very high," she said.

Trump is set to make his first court appearance in a Miami courtroom on Tuesday. He released a video saying he is innocent and intends to prove that, hopefully very quickly.