Legal experts on Thursday responded to the indictment of former President Donald Trump over his mishandling of classified documents after leaving the White House, declaring it a “good day for the rule of law,” historic and “a sad moment.”
Trump, who faces seven counts, said he’s to appear in court in Miami on Tuesday. “I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!” he wrote in a Truth Social screed reacting to the latest big development in just one of his multiple legal woes.
“It’s absolutely historic,” conservative attorney George Conway, a fierce Trump critic who is divorcing former top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, told CNN. “It is stunning to see. It is breathtaking to see. But it’s not surprising at all.”
Trump will “argue that he was mistreated and he is being singled out and he’s being abused, but he’s gotten the benefit of the doubt,” Conway said. If “any of us” had taken “this volume of documents home, and we jerked around the National Archives and Records Administration for a year and a half-plus, and then forced the government to get a search warrant, it wouldn’t have taken a year and a half for them to get that search warrant ... These charges could have been brought long ago.”
Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who earlier this week predicted an indictment of the former president was just days away, told MSNBC the development was “a defining moment for this country in understanding the rule of law.”
Obama White House acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal called it “a sad moment” — not because Trump was “being targeted or treated unfairly,” but because “it underscores extreme damage he has done to the institution of the presidency & country as a whole.”
Katyal said he expected Trump to “spew a whole lot of lies about prosecutors and these charges in the days and weeks to come” and noted the judicial process will be “extremely long and complex.”
“Trump will cry foul and claim” the courts and the government “are rigged against him,” he added in a Twitter thread. “But make no mistake, he will be afforded ... the very same presumption of innocence as any other defendant in this country.”
Civil rights attorney Andrew Laufer simply tweeted: “Someone let Trump know the following: You’re going to prison, traitor.”
Former Defence Department special counsel Ryan Goodman said the reported charges fit the “alleged conduct, a perfect match.”
Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe tweeted: “History is being made.”
Former prosecutor Glenn Kirschner called it: “A good day for the rule of law, a good day for all Americans who respect the rule of law and expect our high government officials to obey the law.”
And Alabama University Law School professor Joyce White Vance called for cameras to be allowed in the courtroom.
“Chief Justice Roberts should immediately amend the rules to permit cameras in federal courts,” she tweeted. “The American public is entitled to watch the proceedings against Trump in their entirety. Anything less would be an injustice.”