'A serious and somber moment': Political leaders react to Trump indictment

With several noting that no one - not even a former president - is above the law, Illinois political leaders and experts are reacting to the grand jury indictment of Donald Trump with public statements ranging from cautious to angry.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg called the indictment "a serious and somber moment in American history."

Krishnamoorthi went on to urge Trump's supporters and critics to refrain from trying to influence the case through violence or other means.

"Just as a grand jury of his peers found probable cause to indict the former president, a jury of our fellow citizens will ultimately decide upon his guilt," said Krishnamoorthi, who represents Illinois' 8th District.

U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, a Republican and Trump ally from downstate Oakland, blasted the Manhattan investigation as a "political witch hunt."

"Every American should be concerned about this blatant political weaponization of the justice system," said Miller, who serves the 15th District.

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, a Chicago Democrat, said he wasn't surprised Trump will face criminal charges after years of investigations.

"While the indictment of a former president is unprecedented, the historic nature of this moment matches the historic nature of Trump's transgressions," said Quigley, whose 5th District includes much of the Northwest suburbs. "Let us remember that Donald Trump is still under investigation for several other possible crimes, including some that were much more damaging to our national security and our democracy. He must be held accountable for his actions."

Democratic U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston chose the opportunity to take a swipe at Trump's Republican Party.

"It's time for the party of 'law and order' to get with the program," tweeted Schakowsky, who represents the 9th District.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin had a more measured response, tweeting that Trump "should be afforded the due process protections that he is guaranteed by our Constitution, just like any other American."

Not all Republicans are outraged by Trump's indictment.

DuPage County GOP Chair Jim Zay said Trump has been a target since before he was elected president, and the indictment won't affect his efforts to get Republicans elected here.

"(It's) a lot of noise," said Zay, a DuPage County Board member from Carol Stream.

Melissa Mouritsen, a political science professor at College of DuPage, said the thought of a former president possibly being incarcerated will strike a nerve with Americans regardless of their political beliefs.

"Many Americans think this happens only in other countries ... and still buy into the idea of American exceptionalism in certain facets," Mouritsen said. "But we are a nation governed by laws, not men, and we all believe no one is above the law."

Mouritsen expects the charges, which hadn't been disclosed as of Friday morning will energize Trump's supporters.

"Trump is savvy enough to demand, for instance, a perp walk that will be broadcast all over television and the internet to foment the outrage on both sides," she said. "He raised millions of dollars last week off the prospect of being arraigned."

U.S. Rep. Mary Miller
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin
DuPage County GOP Chair Jim Zay
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