After Joe Biden, Kamala Harris also prefers to remain mum over Donald Trump’s indictment

US Vice President Kamala Harris addresses a news conference following her meetings with Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on March 30, 2023. — AFP

US Vice-President Kamala Harris chose to sidestep a question about the indictment of former president Donald Trump during a joint press conference on Friday with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema.

The question was posed in light of the news that a Manhattan grand jury had indicted Trump a day earlier after a lengthy investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

“I am not going to comment on an ongoing criminal case as it relates to the former president,” Harris told the reporter.

However, Zambian President Hichilema did offer his reaction to the news during the press conference. The two leaders were holding the joint press conference as part of Harris’ trip to Africa.

Earlier, US President Joe Biden had also declined to comment on the indictment of former president Donald Trump.

What did Trump do?

Trump is allegedly involved in the hush money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels, making him the first ex-president to face criminal charges. 

However, the exact charges are not yet known as the indictment is currently under seal. 

According to CNN, the charges against former president Trump could include more than 30 counts related to business fraud.

Trump denied any wrongdoing and insisted that he is “completely innocent” of all charges. He also vowed not to drop out of the 2024 presidential race despite facing criminal charges, accusing Manhattan District Attorney Bragg of engaging in “Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history.”

The former president also appealed to his supporters to donate money for his legal defence, raising over $2 million since making the plea.

The hush money in question was paid to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, to keep silent about an alleged sexual encounter she had with Trump in 2006. 

Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has said that he coordinated the payments to Daniels and another woman, Karen McDougal, who claimed to have had a sexual relationship with Trump. 

The former president initially denied any knowledge of the payment to Daniels but later acknowledged reimbursing Cohen for it.

Daniels’ lawyer, Clark Brewster, emphasised that no one is above the law, and Cohen, who pleaded guilty to a campaign-finance violation in 2018, stood by his testimony and evidence provided to prosecutors.

No former or sitting US president has ever faced criminal charges.

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