The White House said Friday that President Biden found out that his political rival, former President Trump, had been indicted through news reports.
“The president, senior staff found out just like everybody else last night. No advance knowledge that this was coming. Found out from news reports just like everybody else across America,” principal deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton told reporters.
Dalton wouldn’t share if the Biden administration has been in touch with local authorities in Miami about preparations to respond to potential demonstrations, but Dalton said, “we’re always prepared.”
Trump and his attorneys said he was summoned to appear in court at 3 p.m. Tuesday in Miami. He is expected to turn himself in and he intends to pleased not guilty.
The indictment is a result of special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents, which led to the former president facing seven counts, including for violations of the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice.
The White House has declined to comment on the case but has stressed the importance of an independent Department of Justice (DOJ).
“This is a president who respects the rule of law and he’s said that since day one — that’s precisely why we’re not commenting here. He believes in respecting the independence of the DOJ and protecting the integrity of their processes,” Dalton said.
“The rule of law is a bedrock principal of our democracy, and we’re going to respect that,” she added.
The indictment Thursday evening, which Trump announced on social media, would set up a second time this year that he appears in court to face charges after pleading not guilty in New York related to 2016 hush money payments to adult film performer Stormy Daniels.
A New York jury also found Trump liable last month for sexual assault and defamation in the case of E. Jean Carroll, who says he raped her at a department store in the 1990s.
Trump is the front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination, which would create a Biden versus Trump rematch next November.