Local lawmakers react to indictment of former President Donald Trump

PITTSBURGH — Former President Donald Trump will technically be the first former president indicted, but Trump will also be the first presidential candidate fighting a legal battle leading up to the 2024 election.

Some Republicans argue this is an abuse of power by New York’s District Attorney. Sweet-Cushman said the closest precedent to Trump’s indictment is what happened under the Clinton administration.

“There was a special counsel that was assigned to be investigating some things under the administration,” Sweet-Cushman said.  “Clinton actually brokered a deal to suspend his law license for a while, rather than face an indictment.”

For the past two weeks, as former President Trump predicted his imminent indictment, we’ve been in touch with lawmakers on both sides with polar opposite perspectives.

“The president went through two impeachments,” Rep. Joe McAndrew (D, Allegheny County) said.  “That’s the first time in the history of the U.S. - he’s morally corrupt.”

Some republicans argue this is an abuse of power by New York’s District Attorney.

“It’s very disappointing,” Rep. Aaron Bernstein (R, Butler, Lawrence Counties) said.  “It is completely weaponizing the judicial system. This is something liberals have started to do over the last couple of years and this is now taking it to an extreme level.”

Sweet-Cushman said we must remember that while the DA pursued the charges, a grand jury made the ultimate decision to indict.

“This is a jury of our peers that had to be convinced there was substantial enough evidence to bring charges,” Sweet-Cushman added.

If the former president is convicted, he can still run for president in 2024. Being convicted of a crime, even a felony, does not disqualify him from running or winning an election.

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