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Rep. Zoe Lofgren calls Trump indictment 'the rule of law at work'

 U.S. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California.
Gage Skidmore
Flickr Creative Commons
U.S. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California.

A New York grand jury has indicted former President Donald Trump for his role in covering up hush money paid to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. In light of this historic announcement, KAZU wanted a local perspective. Rep. Zoe Lofgren is an attorney and was a member of the House Select Committee on the January 6 attack. She represents the city of Salinas, the Salinas Valley and parts of San Jose. Rep. Lofgren told KAZU's Jonathan Linden that this is the rule of law at work. Still, she's disappointed in some of her Republican colleagues' reaction to this news.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (ZL): They don't know what the evidence is any more than I do. So, I think it's important. Obviously, this is a first for the United States of America, but it's also a reminder that no person, no matter how important or prominent, is above the law. And it's not a day for celebration for sure, but we need to watch as the rule of law unfolds.

Jonathan Linden (JL): A recent Quinnipiac poll found that more than 60% of respondents think the Manhattan district attorney's investigation of former President Trump is politically motivated. How important do you think public opinion is surrounding this case?

(ZL): I don't think public opinion should play a role in whether a grand jury indicts somebody or not. That should be based only on the facts and the law.

(JL): Do you believe this indictment will affect other investigations of the former president that are currently underway?

(ZL): I would hope not. Each matter should be based on the law and the facts that are before the grand juries. Public opinion (should not impact) other cases.

(JL): How do you think this will affect former President Trump's campaign for reelection?

(ZL): According to the news reports, he plans and likely will raise a lot of money complaining about it. He has in other cases. So I think this will help him raise money. As to whether it has an impact with voters, it's not possible for me to know that.

(JL): How do you think the rest of the world will look at this indictment of former President Donald Trump?

(ZL): It will probably be welcomed. Political leaders in other democracies have expressed concern about whether the United States democracy is fraying, and the indication that an ex-president is like anybody else when it comes to legal proceedings will be encouraging. Although he is the first ex-president to be indicted in the United States, there are many times that political leaders have been called to account criminally. For example, Mr. Netanyahu in Israel is under criminal proceedings right now for alleged misconduct involving diversions of funds and illegally profiting from his office. That will proceed in an orderly manner, I would hope, as will this.

(JL): Anything else you would like to share, Congresswoman Lofgren?

(ZL): I just think the calls for violence that some have made are completely inappropriate. If people and the ex-president feel that he has been wrongfully charged, obviously, the right approach is to get an acquittal and discredit the grand jury in that way. Under our system of laws, you don't react to a criminal indictment with violence; you react to that by dealing with the proceedings effectively.

Jonathan Linden is a reporter at 90.3 KAZU in Marina, California. He joined KAZU in October 2022 and had previously reported for fellow NPR-affiliate KVCR in San Bernardino, California.