Gasps at Fox News as Donald Trump indicted for Stormy Daniels hush money payment
Donald Trump was indicted by a New York grand jury on Thursday for charges relating to hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels on the eve of the 2016 election, a source told The Independent.
The indictment, which has not been unsealed, marks the first time a current or former US president has been hit with criminal charges.
The news was met with apparent shock at Fox News, where a crew member appeared to be caught on a hot microphone gasping and saying, “What?” as the indictment was announced on air.
The network played a prominent role in the rise of Mr Trump, and continued to air many of his false 2020 election claims, though emails in a defamation suit against Fox suggest top newsroom leaders knew these claims were false.
In a statement to The New York Times, the former president called the indictment “Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history.”
Audible gasps let out in Fox News' studio as they announce the Trump indictment news pic.twitter.com/FFyx2mvPUp
— Brennan Murphy (@brenonade) March 30, 2023
In recent days, Mr Trump, who previously publicly announced he thought he would soon be arrested, began telling members of the press that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg had dropped what he called the “fake” case.
Many shared with Fox News the apparent surprise that the former president was charged.
“It’s really on,” former US attorney Preet Bharara wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
Others celebrated the indictment.
Congressman Jamaal Bowman, who represents a district near Manhattan, said in a statement that the reported New York indictment is “only the beginning” of Donald Trump “being held accountable for his crimes.”
“Trump attempt to illegally overturn election results in Georgia and worked to incite the insurrection at the Capitol, both in an effort to overthrow our government to advance his fascist cause,” Mr Bowman, a Democrat, continued. “His continued calls for protests following his arrest are just another dog whistle to his folloers: destroy our democracy.”
On the Republican side, Trump ally Jim Jordan of Ohio called the indictment “outrageous.”
Texas congressman Ronny Jackson, the former president’s White House physician, said the charges would inspire revenge.
“This is a dark day in American history,” he wrote on Twitter. “President Trump’s only ‘crime’ was MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! These cowardly Democrats HATE Trump and HATE his voters even more. When Trump wins, THESE PEOPLE WILL PAY!!”
Donald Trump, Jr, wrote on Truth Social that the indictment marked a “weaponisation of our [government] against their political enemies.”
Michael Cohen, the former president’s former attorney and fixer, who facilitated the hush money payments to Ms Daniels and another woman, both of whom claimed affairs with Mr Trump, wrote in a statement on Thursday he takes “solace in validating the adage that no one is above the law; not even a former President.”“Today’s indictment is not the end of this chapter; but rather, just the beginning,” he added.