Press release

United States: Indictment of Former President Trump Is a Test and Opportunity for US Democracy

WASHINGTON—Following the indictment of former president Donald J. Trump by a federal grand jury, Freedom House president Michael J. Abramowitz issued the following statement:

“Last night’s federal indictment of former president Donald Trump is the first time a former US president has been formally charged with committing serious federal crimes. The unprecedented nature of the charges presents a historic challenge to the country’s democratic system.

“With other investigations underway and the possibility of more charges looming, this will undoubtedly be a trying time for US democracy. Though unprecedented in the United States, many other democracies have successfully navigated similar challenges. The United States should seize the opportunity to strengthen its democratic institutions, processes, and protections. That means demonstrating a sustained commitment to the rule of law, the principle that it applies equally to all, and the integrity and independence of the US judicial system.

“This week’s charges are part of an independent legal process that must be allowed to proceed without interference. Our leaders must rise to meet this challenge with integrity. They should send the message not only to Americans, but also to people watching around the world, that democracy is the system that is best equipped to deal with these challenges in a fair and just manner, and that we can trust democracy to protect individual rights while also holding the powerful to account.”

Freedom House is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to create a world where all are free. We inform the world about threats to freedom, mobilize global action, and support democracy’s defenders.