WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden (pix) declined on Friday to comment on the indictment a day earlier of his predecessor Donald Trump, who became the first former US leader to face criminal charges.
Biden, who was traveling to Mississippi for the day, deliberately did not answer several questions on the subject from journalists gathered to witness his departure from the White House.
The office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, an elected Democrat, confirmed that it had contacted Trump’s lawyers Thursday to “coordinate his surrender” -- with the felony charges against him to be revealed at that point.
Trump, who is seen to be the Republican frontrunner in the 2024 election, slammed the indictment as “political persecution and election interference,“ raging against prosecutors and his Democratic opponents.
He also vowed that it would backfire on Biden -- who is set to run again to stay in the White House.
The impact of an indictment on Trump's election chances is unpredictable, with critics and adversaries alike voicing concerns about the legal merits of the New York hush-money case.
Detractors worry that if Trump were cleared, it could make it easier to dismiss as a “witch hunt” any future indictment in arguably more serious affairs -- such as Trump’s efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results.
The Manhattan charges will also likely juice turnout among Trump's base, boosting his chances in the party primary. -AFP