Alaska political figures react to news of Trump indictment

Alaska political figures react to news of Trump indictment
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 5:13 PM AKDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2023 at 7:02 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As word spread that a New York grand jury moved to indict former President Donald Trump on undisclosed charges that remain sealed, political figures representing Alaska in both Juneau and Washington D.C. are reacting.

Ann Brown is chair of the Alaska Republican Party, and called the legal move “politically motivated.”

“Politically motivated prosecutions, as reflected in the New York indictment of former President Trump do a disservice to our system of justice and make Americans further distrustful of their branches of government,” Brown wrote in a statement.

Alaska Democratic Party chair Mike Wenstrup saw it as a reminder that laws apply to all Americans.

“With two other investigations underway regarding election interference and mishandling of classified materials Trump may be facing more serious criminal charges that he should also be held accountable for,” Wenstrup wrote in a statement. “No person is above the law, not even a former President. It’s unfortunate the Republican Party remains firmly in his grip.”

In a statement emailed from her office, Sen. Lisa Murkowski shared Wenstrup’s sentiments.

“I am monitoring Donald Trump’s legal situation as it unfolds. No one is above the law in this country, but everyone deserves a fair legal process. The indictment of a former President is unprecedented and must be handled with the utmost integrity and scrutiny. Instead of rushing to individual judgment, we must also evaluate the evidence as it becomes available and use it to inform our opinions and statements about what is actually happening,” Murkowski said.

Jim Crawford was the state campaign manager during Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

“You know, New York is a very partisan state — just like Alaska is — and I think the net result of this is going to be to unite Alaskans. Frankly, Donald Trump did a great job as a president for Alaska. He didn’t do such a great job when it came to New York, because they’re a tad bit more liberal than most Alaskans are,” Crawford said. “To me, it’s outrageous to indict a former president.”

A representative for Rep. Mary Peltola emailed the congresswoman’s statement.

“I am aware of the indictment that has been issued against former President Trump and will entrust the legal system to adjudicate this matter. As a member of the legislative branch, I will continue to focus on advocating for Alaskans in Congress,” Peltola said.

The office of Sen. Dan Sullivan issued a statement Friday morning, calling it a “sad day for our nation.”

“The indictment of a former president and current candidate for the White House is unprecedented and will almost certainly do lasting damage to our polarized nation,” Sullivan said. “Both local and federal prosecutors have previously declined to bring charges. Any criminal indictment of a former president should involve a serious crime with credible, airtight evidence. From numerous press reports, this sealed indictment fails this test.

“Now, a local partisan prosecutor, well known for being soft on violent crime, has moved our country into banana republic territory – a sad day for our nation. The American people will see through this abuse of the rule of law.”

Trump, who has denied any wrongdoing and has repeatedly assailed the investigation, called the indictment “political persecution” and predicted it would damage Democrats in 2024. In a statement confirming the charges, defense lawyers Susan Necheles and Joseph Tacopina said Trump “did not commit any crime. We will vigorously fight this political prosecution in court.”

A spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office confirmed the indictment and said prosecutors had reached out to Trump’s defense team to coordinate a surrender. A person familiar with the matter, who was not authorized to discuss sealed proceedings, said the surrender was expected to happen next week. District Attorney Alvin Bragg left his office Thursday evening without commenting.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional information.