U.S. Rep. Jared Golden urged restraint after former President Donald Trump was indicted Thursday by a New York grand jury on charges related to hush-money payments during the 2016 presidential campaign connected to an alleged extramarital affair.
The comments from the Democratic congressman from Maine’s 2nd District underlined caution from three members of the state’s delegation in discussing the emerging indictment. While CNN reported Trump is facing 34 charges, they have not been released publicly.
Golden, a centrist Democrat, carried his conservative-leaning district alongside Trump in 2020 and was the only House member to split his votes during the former president’s first impeachment trial the year before on charges linked to pressuring Ukraine’s leader.
“No one is above the law,” Golden said in a Thursday statement after Trump’s indictment was made public. “Our legal system is built upon the principle of innocence until proven guilty, and we should let the process play out without bias or political interference.”
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The episode threatens to upend a 2024 election cycle in which Trump remains the leading Republican candidate to take on President Joe Biden. Support for the former president in Maine has seemed to soften in recent weeks.
Former Gov. Paul LePage blamed a poor 2022 election partially on Trump and criticized his denial of the 2020 election results in a March interview. During the 2016 election, LePage was one of Trump’s earliest supporters among the Republican establishment, running his delegate-counting operation at the state convention and chairing his 2020 Maine campaign.
LePage did not respond to a Thursday email on the indictment. The only Republican in Maine’s congressional delegation, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a centrist who broke often with Trump during her tenure, called the situation unprecedented in a brief Friday statement.
U.S. Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, noted it was only the beginning of the process and that the prosecutor has a heavy burden to prove the charges, adding that no American is above the law.
“The former president, like any other citizen, then has every right to present his defense on the law and the facts,” he said in a statement.
The Maine delegation’s most progressive member, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat from the 1st District, said Trump is entitled to due process but criticized him and other Republicans for “attacking the rule of law.”
“Their provocations demonstrate precisely why this indictment is so important,” she said.