Former U.S. President Donald Trump's indictment on four federal charges for working to overturn his 2020 election loss drew reaction from across the political spectrum, including from his vice president at the time, Mike Pence, who said "anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be president of the United States."
The indictment describes a series of events after the November election, culminating in the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters. The indictment says many in the "large and angry crowd" had been deceived by Trump into believing Pence could change the election results.
Among those tasked with defending the Capitol from the mob was U.S. Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn, who said in a statement released by his lawyer, "All I have wanted from day one is accountability and justice for the law enforcement men and women who fought bravely on January 6th."
"I would be lying if I did not acknowledge my numbness with the news of the indictment today of a former president of the United States," Dunn said. "I am confident our legal system will handle this case properly."
'A stark reminder'
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said in a joint statement that Tuesday's indictment "will stand as a stark reminder to generations of Americans that no one, including a president of the United States, is above the law."
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose office was ransacked by the January 6 mob, said in a statement that as the legal process plays out, "justice must be done according to the facts and the law."
"The charges alleged in this indictment are very serious, and they must play out through the legal process, peacefully and without any outside interference. Like every criminal defendant, the former President is innocent until proven guilty," Pelosi said.
Claims of political interference
Republican leaders cast the indictment as a form of political interference ahead of the 2024 presidential election in which Democratic President Joe Biden is seeking reelection and Trump remains the leading candidate for the Republican Party.
They also mentioned Biden's son, Hunter, ongoing congressional probes into Hunter Biden's business dealings and criticism of a plea agreement for tax evasion.
"Everyone in America could see what was going to come next: DOJ's attempt to distract from the news and attack the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, President Trump," Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said in a statement. "House Republicans will continue to uncover the truth about Biden Inc. and the two-tiered system of justice."
Republican House Majority Leader Steve Scalise called Trump's indictment "an outrageous abuse of power" and accused the U.S. Justice Department of giving favorable treatment to Hunter Biden while "trying to persecute" Trump.
Reublican Senator Ted Budd said the Biden administration has repeatedly "weaponized the justice system to target his chief political opponent."
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.