The reaction from local officials to Donald Trump's indictment by a Manhattan grand jury on Thursday was swift, with some applauding the justice system and others condemning the prosecution of the former president.
The unprecedented criminal indictment of a former U.S. president is drawing praise and criticism here in Massachusetts.
Democratic Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley said on Twitter, "Twice impeached. Consistently corrupt & moral. And now, indicted in a court of law."
Rep. Lori Trahan, also a Democrat, added, "Like most Americans, I believe no one deserves special treatment or exemption from consequences if they break the law."
Get New England news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NECN newsletters.
GOP reaction to Trump's indictment
The Massachusetts GOP, meanwhile, tweeted this about the New York District Attorney prosecuting Trump: "DA Bragg appears to be abusing his office for political gain with the prosecution of these charges against a presidential candidate" and instead urged the district attorney to focus more on the safety of New Yorkers.
“Democrats are going down a very dangerous path,” former MassGOP Chair Jim Lyons told Politico. “The party in power is politicizing the legal system, trying to hunt down a leading figure of an out-of-power party. It’s amazing. I think it’s a real, grave danger to our republic.”
Democratic Congressman Seth Moulton opted for caution and restraint.
"Nobody, no matter what side of this issue you're on, nobody should be celebrating or getting hysterical," he said. "We should all just let the system of justice that we trust here in America run its course."
Two notable local Republicans who we've yet to hear publicly from are New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and Maine Sen. Susan Collins. Sununu is in Los Angeles on Friday to film "Real Time With Bill Maher," which will air at 10 p.m. on HBO.
It's not just politicians weighing in, either. A group of activists have scheduled a rally on the steps of the Massachusetts State House at noon. They say they're doing this to call for "accountability" for the former president.
'This kind of erodes our democratic institutions'
Boston University political history professor Tom Whelan spoke with NBC10 Boston on Friday morning about Trump's unprecedented indictment.
"It's never happened," he said. "The highest official ever indicted, for example, was Aaron Burr back in 1807 -- a former vice president -- and he was acquitted, though it ended his political career as a result of all the bad publicity associated with it."
If Trump were to be convicted, it could set up an even more unlikely scenario, since he is running for president in 2024.
"We could see a commander in chief running the country from a jail cell," Whelan said. "There's nothing in the Constitution that bars this. But if he is indicted by the Justice Department for the Jan. 6th insurrection for having incited it, under the 14th Amendment of our Constitution he is barred from serving if convicted of that charge of insurrection."
He said the indictment didn't come as a shock to him. "He has been twice impeached, so I can't say I'm necessarily surprised by anything regarding Donald Trump. But I think overall this kind of erodes our democratic institutions, at least our faith in our democratic institutions. And abroad, with authoritarianism on the rise," he said Russia and China "will make the argument that the United States is a corrupt and bankrupt nation as a result of this. That does not look good for democracy internationally as well."
Still, Whelan thinks this could actually help Trump in the Republican presidential primaries.
"I think now you can say he's the clear frontrunner," he said. "The question is whether independents or the nation as a whole will have another four years of Donald Trump come the election. I think the jury's still out on that one."
What's next for Donald Trump?
Trump is expected to surrender to the Manhattan District Attorney's Office on Tuesday. His indictment is a first for a former president, and his former vice president, Mike Pence, is among those pushing back.
"The unprecedented indictment of a former president of the United States on a campaign finance issue is an outrage," he said.
Outside the Manhattan courthouse, security has been ramped up ahead of the president's appearance. The New York Police Department is ordering every member of the department to report in uniform starting on Friday morning. NBC10 Boston has reached out to Massachusetts State Police and Boston police to find out if they plan any increased presence in the days ahead.
NBC10 Boston's Eli Rosenberg is traveling to New York City to cover the fallout from Thursday's announcement.
The indictment is still under seal, so it's not clear exactly what charges he will face. But it stems from the district attorney's probe into a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump is calling this a witch hunt, saying, "The Democrats have lied, cheated and stolen in their obsession with trying to 'Get Trump,' but now they've done the unthinkable -- indicting a completely innocent person in an act of blatant election interference."
The former president is also facing investigations in Georgia about whether he coordinated attempts to change the outcome of the election, and two special counsel investigations into the actions around Jan. 6, 2021 and possible mishandling of classified documents.