Discuss: Trump’s indictment

March 31, 2023 • 10:01 am

I’m trying to make up for the work time I lost by getting more sleep last night (isn’t that pathetic?), so why don’t we just discuss the Trump situation? By now you probably know the details, which raise a number of questions. Readers can weigh in, though of course none of us know how this mess will unfold.

1.) Will he turn himself in or be arrested? I always thought the former, but now I’m wondering if he thinks it would help his image to be dragged away by the cops—”witch hunt” and all.

2.) Will he be charged with misdemeanors or felonies? (There are over two dozen charges.) The DA, you know, has a choice.

3.) Is this whole mess going to help or hurt his Presidential candidacy for the election next year?

4.) Will this trigger any major unrest in the U.S.? So far it doesn’t look like it.

5.) This is of course the least important of the three other investigations involving him—investigations that could also lead to indictments. These are the interference with the voting process in Georgia, Trump’s possible incitement of the January 6 insurrection, and his possession at Mar A Lago of confidential government documents. Which do you think will lead to indictments.

6.) Do you think he will go to prison?

7.) He cannot pardon himself if he gets re-elected, and Biden can (but won’t) pardon him of federal crimes, though the NY case is a state case.

8.) If he’s found guilty, will Republicans in Congress weaken their ties or fealty to him. (Again, it doesn’t seem likely.)

There are many more questions, but I have a book review to write. Stay tuned. I’ve put a photo of Trump below, which leads to another question: every time I see a picture of Trump in the MSM, he has an expression on his face that’s just like Mussolini’s.  Does he always posture that way, or is the press just picking the bad photos to make him look evil?

[File: Sue Ogrocki/AP Photo]

68 thoughts on “Discuss: Trump’s indictment

  1. I never liked Trump. I voted for Hillary, the first time I ever voted for a Dem for President. I waited to hear what Mueller had to say, and thought it likely that Trump had done something. This was a measure of my distaste and the drum beating of the Press. Then the report was a damp squib, but the Democratic House impeached Trump on a straight partisan basis. Since then it has become apparent that the Russian Collusion was a hoax, It is clear that the Dems are determined to prevent Trump being President AT ANY COST. I am, therefore, extremely dubious of any activity in the “get Trump” sphere.

    I don’t like Trump, but I am now very sympathetic to him. I don’t know if he’s done anything wrong. (I don’t believe he was part of a conspiracy or insurrection related to the Jan. 6 riot.) I doubt he’s done anything more wrong than any other President. People will say that no one should be above the law. The entire Biden administration is above the law: Biden governs by fiat; his cabinet members ignore and lie to Congress; his son peddles influence. The Dems, like the Communists, seem to think that the law is just a tool to use against their enemies.

    1. Did you read the Mueller report? Bill Barr did a wonderful job of burying that. Here is an outline of what the report found:


      There is enough there to justify a lifetime in prison. Now add the recording of Trump trying to steal the election in Georgia, and I don’t see how one sane person could have a gram of sympathy for that pathetic human being.

      1. Yeah, Barr just cut Mueller’s investigation short. The investigation was far from over when it was closed.
        I still think Barr was guilty of “offering value to obtain appointive public office” (a felony). Barr offered to protect Trump (value) if appointed AG (appointive office) in his June 2018 memo. And he was appointed and he did protect Trump. Slam dunk case, methinks.
        So no, Dr Brydon, the Russian Collusion was almost certainly not a hoax. Trump obviously was and still is in Putin’s pocket. And Putin and his henchmen did everything possible to get him elected in 2016. And worst of all: they succeeded.

      2. Yeah, when Bill Barr held his press conference two days after receiving the Mueller report (less time than it would have taken Evelyn Wood to read the report’s two full volumes), claiming that the report completely exonerated Trump (while refusing Mueller’s request to release to the public the report’s executive summaries contradicting that claim), Barr may as well have dropped trou and pinched off a dookie on one of the scales held by the statute of Lady Justice that graces the DoJ lobby.

        Barr was willing to do Trump’s “wet work” right up until late December 2020, abandoning ship only to save what was left of his tattered reputation, just as Trump was leaning on him to do stuff that, as Barr well knew, could have landed him a long stretch in prison.

        1. goddamn this had me laughing silly…I think you did one of your best comments channeling Dr. T. “Pinched off a dookie on one of…the scales?” Wha? I’m heading to the fridge, shaking head in laughter.

    2. I don’t think you know of what you speak. Just because only 2 Republicans joined the Dems in the impeachment trials doesn’t mean they were partisan. The Republicans simply didn’t want to participate (they could have) because they’re a spineless lot of weaklings. And everything you accuse Biden, his family or his administration of doing is a pittance compared to what Trump and his cronies did while in office.

  2. Personally, I think we all need to wait for the actual indictment to be released. Having said that, however, I’m almost certain this will be a felony charge – going after a former president for a misdemeanor is almost unthinkable. I do think he will appear for arraignment, doing so as theatrically as possible. Regarding the politics, while this may harden the minds of some diehard MAGA folk in the short term, in the long term this will hurt him by eroding whatever support he has out of that hard core.

    I do think that the Georgia and DOJ cases are the big kahunas, and I’m looking forward to progress on these soon, but as former prosecutors like Preet Bharara and Joyce Vance have argued, the bribery/campaign finance violations are not trivial, and squelching the Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal stories may have had an affect on the 2016 election.

    Finally – will he go to prison? Doubtful – at his core he’s a coward, and I could see him plea dealing his way out. Too bad.

    1. Regarding the politics, while this may harden the minds of some diehard MAGA folk in the short term, in the long term this will hurt him by eroding whatever support he has out of that hard core.

      Roughly agreed; I think it will hurt him with the general public, and only then will diehards decide that Trump is not the winner they fell in love with. But I hold out much hope that the GOP will be unable to unwrap this big orange anchor from around its neck before November 2024.

      1. Indeed. His core supporters will be there for him no matter what. And while this is the case Republicans will keep themselves tied to that anchor.

  3. A brief response to your questions:

    1.) Will he turn himself in or be arrested? — He’ll turn himself in.

    2.) Will he be charged with misdemeanors or felonies? — Felonies. Or a mix of charges wouldn’t be surprising.

    3.) Is this whole mess going to help or hurt his Presidential candidacy for the election next year? — It will hurt him.

    4.) Will this trigger any major unrest in the U.S.? — Nah.

    5.) The other three major cases—January 6, Georgia, stealing documents—will also lead to indictments.

    6.) Do you think he will go to prison? — Not for the NY case. He could and should for at least one of the other major cases.

    7.) He cannot pardon himself if he gets re-elected, and Biden cannot pardon him of federal crimes, though the NY case is a state case. — Correct.

    8.) If he’s found guilty, will Republicans in Congress weaken their ties or fealty to him. (Again, it doesn’t seem likely.) — They will weaken their ties.

    1. I agree with all your answers except for #8; I have a caveat. If Trump’s base doesn’t show any weakening of support going forward, or if it gains in support (doubtful), there is no way the Republicans will weaken their ties to him. Trump’s base is all the Republicans have at this point, and without his base, the Republicans are done for. So the GOP will do whatever Trump’s base decides; and what a base to be beholden to- the GOP is really screwed.

  4. It seems likely to me that if he was convicted and sentenced to some prison time, his incarceration would have to be home confinement, considering his secret service protection. As far as turn himself in vs. arrest, I think he would turn himself in and have ampole video coverage to demonstrate his bravery in the face of “corrupt prosecution”. I think a lot of people would prefer to see the “raincoat over the head” perp walk, though.

  5. Imagine the following scenario (it is not impossible, although probably unlikely).

    1) Sometime in mid-2023, the District Attorney in Georgia indicts Trump for election tampering. This would be a state, not federal, crime.

    2) Due to Trump’s ability to delay things, the trial is put off until mid-2024.

    3) In the interim, Trump wins the Republican nomination.

    4) In October 2024, Trump is found guilty.

    5) In November 2024, days before the election, the judge sentences Trump to a period of incarceration. He is immediately taken away to prison.

    6) Trump wins the election.

    7) Trump appeals the jury determination of guilty.

    8) In January 2025, days before Inauguration Day, the Supreme Court affirms the guilty verdict. Trump remains in jail.

    Obviously, this scenario would create the gravest of constitutional crises. Several questions arise:

    1) Would the fact that he would be incarcerated in any way prevent him from being inaugurated?

    2) If not, could he serve as president from a jail cell? He could not pardon himself since he would be in jail for a state crime?

    3) Would such a scenario incite an actual civil war with violence erupting everywhere?

    4) How damaged would American democracy be from such a scenario?

    1. I can’t suspend my belief past #6. If the prior 5 things happen and Trump is actually put in the slammer, there is no way in hell he could win a general election.

  6. “Biden governs by fiat” (So far Trump averaged 55 executive orders per year, Biden 50). “Cabinet members ignore and lie to Congress” (https://www.propublica.org/article/five-trump-cabinet-members-made-false-statements-to-congress). “His son peddles influence” (Please do 5 minutes of research into Jared Kushner and Saudi Arabia and other gulf states. Hunter Biden may have enjoyed financial benefits from his relationship to the vice president, but he is small change compared to the grift of Donald Trump and his family).

  7. ” …is the press just picking the bad photos to make him look evil?”

    “An image is not an argument.” — Leonard Peikoff, objectivist philosopher.

    So true, and the obverse conclusion: the selection of of an image in public discourse cannot be neutral; it will unavoidably convey emotional prejudice. AKA propaganda.

    So, yes is the answer. LeftPress picks images that convey their emotional mission. It is part and parcel of TDS. (Trump Derangement Syndrome). RightPress does the same thing, it shall be noted.

    Once upon a time, newspapers did NOT print images on the front page. They attempted to write objective facts. They marked opinion pieces carefully, and placed them on opinion pages. That amounted to objectivity on the one hand, and actual arguments on the other.

    1. I think you have an unrealistic understanding of the past.

      The opposite of printing images on the front page is not writing objective facts. The history of pre-photographs-in-newspapers propaganda in newspapers extends to the dawn of the newspaper.

      1. Please. A matter of perspective.

        NYTimes was famous as the ‘newspaper of record.’ There was such a thing as integrity in writing facts only on the front page.

        Yes, selection and slant in text on objective news pages is unavoidable and historic. Yet … text requires the reader’s cognition and rationality, and he can judge the slant. This is not true with images, which are emotional wallops of propaganda.

        However, things have gone completely crazed at NYTimes and other once-dignified newspapers. They make only dim claims of objectivity, and have no shame for propaganda missions. It is brazen, compared to olden days.

        [also: i laugh when anyone claims “bias” on newspapers now. it usually means the paper did not express an opinion which agreed with them, and instead staid neutral.]

      2. It also demonstrates an ignorance of The Age of Yellow Journalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when the chains owned by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer dominated the newspaper business.

            1. Not at all. Your claim is that newspapers used to be objective and no longer are, and that this somehow is connected with printing pictures on the front page. Newspapers have always been full of lurid stories. The technology to print photos on newsprint, and the gradually diminished costs do to so, did not cause a decline news reporting.

              IMO you’re just providing an example of how people tend to imagine the past as better than the present. It is a very common tendency, especially among conservatively oriented folk.

              I may not see further responses due to the WEIT problem of not sending notifications when comments are made. I wish this would be fixed because it makes participating in discussions here very hard.

              1. “IMO you’re just providing an example of how people tend to imagine the past as better than the present. It is a very common tendency, especially among conservatively oriented folk.”

                Yes, some people have a tendency to view the past as good and the present as bad. Trumpists believe this and is at the heart of their movement. For them, they perceive there was a golden age, often the early 1950s, that was corrupted by the emergence of the civil rights movement, feminism, gay rights, the immigration of people not like them, socialistic and oppressive policies in government, rule by “elites” that don’t respect them and secularism. It doesn’t matter that the golden age (in whatever era they place it in) is a half-truth at best and only applied to them and not many other people. They embrace the myth because it reinforces in people such as them (largely white and religious) their sense of self-esteem and self-worth that current events tend to demean. This need that the Trumpist cult feels under attack is why rational arguments will not win them over. The need to psychologically feel top dog is why Trumpism will not fade away anytime soon.

              2. @GBJames And now you double-down on avoiding the point of my post.

                Additionally, you are wrong about the secondary point, my supposed erroneous belief in a better form of objectivity in NYTimes and other journals in the past. There was a better time, when objectivity was respected as “news” in text on front pages, but things have deteriorated into propaganda, sometimes featuring images. NYTimes made no bones about it. They announced they were deliberately ‘going slant’ on the front page, back in the 60s or 70s. I was there. I remember the bruhaha.

                Additionally, you chose to characterize the motive of my alleged error as a personal failure.

                Additionally, you threw a completely unjustified prejudice about my worldview.


              3. @Historian

                Noted, your screed about Trump. Noted, this has absolutely zero connection with my post here. Noted, no one knows why you chose to disgorge a bucket of Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) in exactly this subthread.

                Cleverly, if indeed there is a hidden imputation connecting myself, my ideas, my original post, and what you wrote under TDS, you have managed to not allow it to peek out to be countered. Can you clarify? Was there an imputation? Or was your TDS spew indeed completely random?

  8. Overall: too little too late.

    1) I expect that he will turn himself in, and the try to get lots of publicity out of it

    2) I assume there will be some felony charges.

    3) It probably won’t help or hurt his campaign.

    4) Perhaps some minor unrest, but I’m not expecting it.

    5) I’m expecting an indictment over Jan 06. I’m at least hoping for one in Georgia. I’m not at all sure about the documents case.

    6) Prison for this — unlikely.

    7) In principle, he cannot pardon himself. But he doesn’t stick to principles.

    8) It will have minimal effect on Republican support.

  9. Anybody familiar with “Law and Order” on TV knows what comes next. Trump will appear in court to be arraigned, before a magistrate notable for dry humor. An attractive young woman Assistant DA will ask for remand. Trump’s attorney (will it be Giuliani?) will respond that the defendant is a respected NYC businessman with ties to the community, but is unfortunately short of funds at this time due to the pressures of public life. The magistrate will rule for Release on Own Recognizance, but require Trump to surrender his frequent-flyer card.

  10. Lies about hush money payments to a porn star are salacious but politically inert, I think. There will be no electoral benefit or cost to Trump because of this indictment.

    I’m doubtful we’ll see any violent protests. The kinds of people who would show up to beat up cops and break stuff are either already in jail for January 6 or smart enough to see what would happen, specifically their incarceration without a shred of help from Trump.

    Possibly the most important ramifications of this case will be as a dry run for more important criminal actions yet to come.

    But don’t discount the power of charging documents here, which typically list the precise details of the alleged crimes, complete with signed statements, emails and texts, copies of checks etc. Right now, all we have to go on is a liberal NY prosecutor going after a conservative ex-pres. Strong evidence of the exact lies the ex-pres told, if it exists, will probably become the focus upon its release, and it may actually hurt Trump, even with his die-hard cultists.

  11. Be sure not to take “Soros-backed” in any drinking game based on the reports of this brouhaha coming from right-wing media, or risk acute alcohol poisoning. For the anti-Semitic Right, “Soros” serves as synecdoche for “Jewish money.”

    1. I agree with your premise, Ken, but I’ve gotta nitpick: it’s metonymy. In order to be synecdoche, it has to be a part that stands for the whole, like ‘nice wheels!’ In your instance, ‘Soros’ is another word for the same idea, ‘like ‘Capitol Hill’ for Congress.
      Forgive me–I had no choice.

      1. Yes, John, you’re correct. At first, I wrote that “Soros” stood for “Jews,” in which case it would have been synecdoche. Then, in the interest of greater accuracy, I changed it to “Jewish money,” but it occurred to me only after I hit the “post comment” button that that change converted the figure of speech from synecdoche to metonymy. And, for quite some time now, I have not had access to an edit function to correct such errors.

        I appreciate your having clarified the matter.

  12. I just wonder: If Trump had won the election, Putin might not have invaded Ukraine, expecting that if he had nibbled a more few bits of Ukraine, Trump would have tolerated it. It is clear that Putin did not prepare for a war, expecting Trump to accept limited annexing of further of parts of Ukraine.

  13. To me it seems a dangerous situation. Simply being accused, arrested, tried, and convicted, will do nothing to dent his following among those who’ve already swallowed so much — it’s just a sign that he’s being persecuted by the “elite”. The only advantage is gained if he’s convicted and physically incarcerated for the necessary time to prevent him participating in the 2024 election. If he’s tried but found not guilty, it makes him stronger, because then he would have that aura of persecution around him without the beneficial result, i.e. incarceration. So it has to be made to stick.

    A state case, like this NY one, is much preferable because if found guilty he can’t be pardoned by a future Republican president (and of course a NY governor is never going to pardon him). A federal case would serve the purpose only if it gets him incarcerated until November 2024, though a federal conviction would also have the benefit of disbarring him from standing.

    Incarceration is key: if he’s just fined or given a suspended sentence he’s still “at large”, and thus able to do damage.

    1. Agree. An unsuitable candidate for the U.S. Presidency that those darn voters might actually elect (again) needs to be kept locked up through the 2024 election campaign even if the case(s) has/have not enough merit to let him be found guilty of anything carrying prison under normal due process. The charge(s) must be made to stick by any means necessary, then, and sentencing must be explicitly political to corrupt the election, not based on deterrence or rehabilitation of paying hush money to illicit sex partners. Day after Election Day, he can be released, no problem. Thanks for making this argument in support of the rule of law so clearly.

      I want to believe that the legal process is politically non-partisan but you are not making it easy for me, Jonathan.

      1. Well, I may be wrong of course, but I’m simply taking it as read that he has, over the past forty years, done many, many things that are criminal and deserve a custodial sentence, and that only his deployment of money (whether to pay off or intimidate witnesses or to pay teams of lawyers to use delaying tactics to divert and delay legal investigations until they run into the sand) has prevented him being tried, convicted and imprisoned long before now. I’m not assuming that those prosecuting him will have to invent anything; I’m just hoping they’ve done their homework and are good enough, and resourceful enough, to see it through this time. The political situation simply adds urgency to their getting it right.

  14. I wonder about the role of the secret service detail assigned to Trump. Is it their responsibility to make sure he shows up for court appearances? (Safely, of course.) Would their responsibility be different if it were a federal court? I do expect him to go to the arraignment, but I also expect other court dates, situations for which he may lose appetite. If he refuses, would his own secret service people put him in cuffs, etc.?

  15. If preliminary media reports are correct and the indictment returned against Trump under seal by the Manhattan grand jury contains over 30 counts, we may all of us — observers and Trump and his lawyers alike — be in for some surprises, both as to the nature of the changes he is facing and, perhaps, as to the witnesses who may be cooperating against him and as to the quantity and strength of the evidence prosecutors have been able to muster.

    In any event, this indictment represents the first time in his 76 years on this planet that Donald Trump is truly being held to the standards of adult responsibility. Trump speaks (and appears to think) with the grammar and syntax of a child (as linguist John McWhorter has noted on a number of occasions). The unedited stream of Tweets he issued while in office demonstrates that he writes at a subliterate level. Trump appears never to have become fully socialized and is incapable of acting other than with an unsocialized child’s self-centeredness. He has, in short, the mentality of a particularly malign juvenile delinquent.

    For reasons that are not entirely clear, his hardcore supporters, Republicans in general, and, increasingly, the nation as a whole (which is plainly suffering from a form of Trump fatigue) appear willing to accept his inane mendacious statements and his rank narcissism as just “Trump being Trump,” treating him as though he is in fact a child and refusing to hold him to the same standards of accountability as any of the other 45 men who have occupied the office of the US presidency.

    Heretofore, Trump has been insolated from the consequences of his bad actions by his money (primarily the nearly half-billion dollars he inherited from his father) and by his one true skill in life — an ability to spew a near unending web of bullshit that keeps his adversaries off-balance and allows him to squirm from one tight spot to another. (As a last resort, he uses his money to buy his way out of trouble, as he did, to give just one example, with the $20 million in fraud penalties he paid out right before his presidency began for the blatant scam that was his fugazi “Trump University.”)

    But now, with this indictment and with others, even more serious, almost certain to follow, the worm has finally turned. Welcome to your Brave New World, Donald.

    1. Very well put, Ken!

      One thing I’d want to add as a point of balance, not to what you just wrote which I agree with, but what I’ve seen from many on the left, including a Prosecutor I just saw interviewed. The Prosecutor spoke of this being a long day coming for Trump (which I think we all feel), but also said this was because Trump has been for decades committing crimes in the harsh light of day without consequences.

      I “bumped” on that because, well, I have seen this often said but the response can be: ok, then were are the convictions?

      The whole “Trump has never faced consequences for his crimes” thing stands on the proposition Trump has never been convicted, and if nothing has held up in court thus far to get him convicted on anything, it seems jumping the gun to say he’s guilty of crimes.

      Because, after all, when loony folks on the Right crow about all the “crimes” committed by Hillary and all the “crimes” committed in “stealing the election from Trump,” the response correctly comes: Sorry, you can say that, but in the end what counts is what you can prove in a court. And NONE of those claims have been proven in court, they’ve been thrown out.”

      So long as such a response is sound, then it seems the left would be on similar ground in calling out Trump as guilty of crimes…because they think he’s committed crimes…even though nothing has survived in a court to convict Trump.

      Unless I’m missing something here (in Trump’s court history, perhaps?)

    2. Excellently stated, Ken. The Trump phenomenon’s strangest feature is the widespread indulgence of this poorly socialized, overage 4-year-old. The indulgence is oddly and discouragingly USA-specific: politicians who ride the populist wave abroad (e.g., France, Sweden, Hungary) at least manage credible imitations of adult behavior, but not here. I have to suspect that this indulgence of narcissism—noticeable as well on the pop-Left, as Robert Hughes pointed out 30 years ago—has roots in some aspect US culture, but it is hard to say what. Does it have to do with child-rearing? TV advertising? Soft drinks?

  16. I dislike Trump and wish he would go (or be sent) away, but isn’t New York the city where they’re downgrading felony charges for serious crimes like armed robbery and carjacking to mere misdemeanors, and then promising to sentence misdemeanants to only “restorative justice” and “diversionary programs”? You could rob somebody with an illegal firearm and, as long as you don’t actually shoot anyone, be let off with no punishment, but apparently misclassifying a financial transaction seven years ago is where they draw the line.

    How are we supposed to believe claims that this isn’t a politicized use of the judicial system to punish one’s enemies, i.e. corruption, and is simply the law being equally applied? It’s obviously political. Fine, imprison Trump, but then they’d better imprison all the armed robbers and carjackers, too.

    1. Intentionally misclassifying, and the fact that it was 7 years ago just shows how slowly the wheels of justice turn for those with power.

      Nevertheless, once you strip away the baggage of these kinds of arguments, what is left is only the claim that campaign finance laws should be abolished. I disagree.

    2. Speaking of equal application of the law, you do realize that the Trump Justice Department under Attorney General William Barr already prosecuted the Stormy Daniels hush-money payment case itself in 2018, don’t you?, against Michael Cohen, who was sentenced to three years’ incarceration, in part for his role in that matter. According to the sentencing memorandum filed by the government in the Cohen prosecution, Cohen was at all times acting under the direction and for the benefit of “Individual 1” while engaged in the conduct leading to his conviction (and the circumstances of that case leave no doubt that “Individual 1” was in fact Donald Trump).

      Trump himself would have in all likelihood been prosecuted himself by the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York in 2018, except that the Justice Department considers itself bound by memoranda from its Office of Legal Counsel prohibiting the prosecution of a sitting president.

      1. Oh I don’t disagree that Trump should be prosecuted for his crimes, but when the same government lets armed robbers go with merely a slap on the wrist, it seems less like a justice system and more like a system for protecting ‘friends’ and punishing enemies.

        As sleezy as it is to be doing the deed with porn stars, especially while married, we’ve got videos of Hunter Biden smoking crack and banging hookers, and at least one email about a nude dalliance with a 15-year-old girl. And the apparent falsification of the ATF form to illegally purchase a firearm. But I doubt any prosecution will happen for those acts, at least not until control of the DOJ swings back the other way. There’s no real equality under the law…

        1. I don’t understand how you can compare an ex-President who is currently running for President with the citizen Hunter Biden who has never held public office and doesn’t plan to afaik. There is a huge distinction, don’t you think? And by all means, if HB broke a bunch of laws, prosecute him. It doesn’t have to take a Republican DOJ to do that. And btw, this Trump indictment has NOTHING to do with Biden’s DOJ. It’s a Manhattan DA who is heading this investigation for the state of NY.

          I agree there is no real equality under the law…especially if you have money and influence. But I’m glad that this rare occurrence of holding a powerful man accountable for his crimes is unfolding.

  17. My wife noted that her parents remained staunch Nixon supporters until he resigned, at which point they finally figured maybe he actually did something wrong. I’m hopeful that this first indictment will do the same for a portion non-core supporters. I expect the specificity of the details will be hard to obfuscate with hand-waving and tap dancing. Also, this indictment makes it psychologically easier for other grand juries to indict as the precedent has now been set, like Bannister’s sub-4 minute mile record being broken only 46 days later.

  18. I can’t see him going to jail, given that his Secret Service detail would need to be jailed with him. I think house arrest is the best we can hope for.

    I suppose I should reserve judgement until the details of the indictments are public, but I think this was a bad call. There are too many moving pieces — all of which are too arcane for all but the biggest legalphiles to fully comprehend — required to turn what is a misdemeanor with a 2-year statute of limitations into a felony. Whether it was politically motivated or not, it certainly reeks of political motivation when you have to work that hard to build a novel legal theory around which to try a case.

    What I really want to see is an indictment in the Georgia investigation. That is the one that can stick, and will truly hurt him.

    1. Unfortunately though, Georgia has a Republican governor, who would probably pardon him as soon as he was convicted. This is why it’s NY or nothing: no NY governor is ever going to pardon Trump, and a state case (rather than federal) avoids him being pardoned by a future president.

      1. Call me a bleary-eyed idealist, but I’m not so sure Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp would be quite so forthcoming with a pardon for Trump.

        Kemp ran as a Trump lackey when he won his first contest against Stacey Abrams in 2018, but Kemp and Trump haven’t exactly seen eye to eye over the 2020 presidential election. And while no Republican wants to get crosswise with the dead-end Trump base, Kemp has less reason to fear them than most, since he’s prohibited by the Georgia constitution from seeking a third consecutive term as governor. He’d have to sit out at least four years.

        Plus, granting that type of pardon carries its own form of political risk. Just ask Gerry Ford.

        1. Still, the situation is very different from the mid-1970s: the lack of respect for legal norms that the far right of the Republican party has now normalized makes the current situation much more volatile and dangerous, and the pressure that would be brought to bear on Kemp to pardon Trump would be of an intensity, and a variety, that would make a 1970s Republican gawp in disbelief.

    1. All these articles are worthless at this point; everything is speculation. And I laughed that they said his 3/18 post about being indicted a couple weeks ago was “one of his most accurate posts.” What? Two weeks off is accurate? He was simply lying and trying to raise money. Until we see the 2-dozen plus charges against Trump this Tuesday, articles like the Economist’s are worthless. And if you understand or agree with (as I do) that no American citizen is above the law, then prosecuting someone like Trump, who indeed thinks he’s above the law, is simply demanded by a country bound by laws; simple as that.

      1. I had a similar vibe as put forth in that economist article, until I watched Cohen’s attorney on CNN. He seemed very measured, mature and sober, but mainly he was cautioning that anyone presuming the case is weak will be in for a surprise at the breadth and depth of evidence, including for things people don’t know about yet. And that those presuming this is merely a political move are going to be caught off guard by the facts of the case as they emerge.

        Of course one would expect Cohen’s lawyer to shore up the case, but he had a very convincing “Trust me, I know things you don’t know yet” appearance. So now I’m intrigued. I recommend a search for that interview on youtube (CNN interview)

  19. Among Trump voters who preferred other candidates in the 2016 primary, I expect more softening of his support. We all know that it is not the legal strength of the cases that really matter in politics: the emotional resonance matters. Anecdotal impressions from Trump country:

    – Stormy Daniels: The case FEELS too much like that of Bill Clinton lying under oath to cover up an affair. And we all know how rapidly the Democrats abandoned him for that.

    – Classified documents: Unauthorized retention of documents to which the man is otherwise authorized access—BFD. (This occurs against a common—and not entirely unfounded—public perception that low-ranking people are crucified for such offenses, while high-ranking officials of both parties get relative hand slaps for the same. Consider also that perpetual leak machine of classified material called the US Congress . . . to unauthorized recipients called journalists. Unless Trump has a Chinese housekeeper who was taking lunch breaks in his classified storage closet, this one has no political traction.)

    – January 6th: While almost none of those who I talk with accept that Trump directed the mob, their support wavers when they consider he did virtually nothing to end it and protect the cops and others at the Capitol. Eyes turn toward DeSantis. (Trying to find Trump voters who supported the mob violence is a bit like trying to find Democrats who supported arson during the summer of 2020.)

    – Georgia. Demonstrate in court that Trump tried to subvert the voting process; have strong testimony from an array of Republicans that explicitly shows this. Peel off more support in the primaries. They will, of course, look for any opening to claim “reasonable doubt”—as partisans of either side always do.

    Some voters simply cannot get over the impeachments: “they’ve been after him for years . . . just more of the same.” But even some of them are willing to give Trump an honorable retirement, given his age and baggage, and look toward a younger candidate with reelection potential and a strong VP.

  20. “Anecdotal impressions from Trump country…”

    Sounds like a good theme for a Grant Wood retrospective…

  21. When I see a picture of Trump like the one above, I think of the words I first heard about Richard Nixon: “Would you buy a used car from this man?”.

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