Trump Indictment Thread

There is news that the Manhattan District Attorney may indict Trump next week for paying hush money to a porn star (who I assume is Stormy Daniels). Trump could be indicated and prosecuted for several other crimes–crimes related to election interference (in Georgia) and refusing to return classified information. And there may be more. This is a thread track all of this.

One recommendation: when following these stories, to decide if an indictment is political, ask yourself the following questions: If any president behaves in the similar way, what would and should the reaction be?

According to WaPo, here’s what Trump posted on the Truth Social website:


More from that article,

Meanwhile, Trump’s team has begun fundraising on the prospect of his arrest, after the FBI raid of his Mar-a-Lago home last year led to his best fundraising days since leaving the White House, The Washington Post reported.

“MANHATTAN D.A. COULD BE CLOSE TO CHARGING TRUMP,” one pitch Saturday morning read. “Patriot — With the Deep State gunning for President Trump with phony witch hunts like never before, we had to be sure you saw the *private and secure* message he wrote for YOU. See below!”

Trump and his team are preparing to go to “political war,” in the words of one adviser, to impugn the credibility of Bragg, Cohen and Daniels.


Trump also wants to force Republicans to defend him against the investigation publicly, the adviser said. 

Here’s a tweet from House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy today:

Here we go again — an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump. I’m directing relevant committees to immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.

McCarthy will be culpable if violence breaks out. He’s fueling the idea that this a political attack on Trump. I believe he knows this is not true.

12 thoughts on “Trump Indictment Thread

  1. GOP threatens to defund the prosecutor as Trump indictment looms from NBC News

    “Your decision to pursue such a politically motivated prosecution—while adopting progressive criminal justice policies that allow career ‘criminals [to] run[ ] the streets’ of Manhattan — requires congressional scrutiny about how public safety funds appropriated by Congress are implemented by local law-enforcement agencies,” Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, James Comer, R-Ky., and Bryan Steil, R-Wis., wrote to Bragg on Monday.


    An aide to McCarthy, R-Calif., provided a copy of House Republicans’ 2022 “Commitment to America” agenda in response to a question about the difference between defunding the police and defunding a prosecutor. In it, Republicans promise to “oppose all efforts to defund the police” and “crack down on prosecutors who refuse to prosecute crime.”

    But, turning the argument on its head, Republicans are now applying pressure to get a prosecutor to avoid indicting Trump.

    (emphasis added)

    Rand Paul: Manhattan DA Bragg ‘Should Be Put in Jail’ If Trump Indicted from the National Review

    Republican Senator Rand Paul said Tuesday that progressive Manhattan prosecutor Alvin Bragg should be locked up for dereliction of duty if he indicts former president Trump surrounding a porn hush money scandal.
    “A Trump indictment would be a disgusting abuse of power. The DA should be put in jail,” the senator tweeted.

    From Mike Pence:

    I’m taken aback at the idea of indicting a former president of the United States, at a time when there’s a crime wave in New York City,” Pence said on ABC’s “This Week.” “The fact that the Manhattan DA thinks that indicting President Trump is his top priority, I think… just tells you everything you need to know about the radical left in this country.”

  2. Trump’s crazed social media posts

    A lot of things stand out, but I’ll mention one, which may be relatively minor–namely, the insistence on describing his phone call to Rafensberger as “perfect.” And this is the same descriptor he uses regarding his phone call to Zelensky, asking the latter for a favor (i.e., announce an investigation into Biden).

    Another from truth social site:


    If we don’t see violence we will be very fortunate. All the congressional Republicans who are boosting Trump’s narrative (i.e., the DA’s are politicized) are also complicit in fomenting violence.


    According to the NYT, hours after that post, DA Alvin Bragg received a letter:

    …the district attorney’s office discovered a threatening letter addressed to Mr. Bragg containing white powder — later determined not to be dangerous — in its mailroom.

    The envelope in which it was sent was addressed to Mr. Bragg, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The person said that inside the envelope was a single piece of white paper with a brief message containing the typewritten words “ALVIN: I AM GOING TO KILL YOU” followed by 13 exclamation points.

    Regarding the social media post with Trump holding a bat and a photo of DA Bragg next to it:

    (My understanding is that Trump took down his social media post featuring him holding a bat next to DA Alvin Bragg. I’m not sure if that’s going to get Trump off the hook, though.)

    My prediction: GOP enablers of Trump will continue to say reckless, inflammatory things, until someone of high status dies.

    Missed this one from yesterday:

    (Note: I went to truth social to verify it was posted there.)

    Trump’s referring to an African-American DA as an “animal.”

    Here’s another on Trump post on Truth Social from yesterday:

    The District Attorney’s Office under Alvin Bragg is allowing Violent Crime to flourish in New York City, like never before, while he spends all of his time making his Office, which is in total chaos, trying to find anything on “Trump.” He is doing the work of Anarchists and the Devil, who want our Country to fail. The “Horseface” agenda is dead, even by the most Radical Left Haters, but he doesn’t care, he wants to go with it anyway.

    Equating DA’s office with “Anarchists and the Devil.” More incitement of violence.

  3. Trump Indicted by New York Grand Jury from WaPo

    Here’s what Trump said about that Grand Jury yesterday:

    (He thought they were going to recess for a month.)

    Here’s Governor DeSantis’s response:

    The NYT has other reactions from the right:

    Mike Pence to CNN:

    “The unprecedented indictment of a former president of the United States on a campaign finance issue is an outrage.”

    Tucker Carlson

    “…the ruling showed it was “probably not the best time to give up your AR-15s.”

    “The rule of law appears to be suspended tonight — not just for Trump, but for anyone who would consider voting for him,…”

    Jesse Waters on Fox News:

    “the country is not going to stand for it,” adding: “And people better be careful. And that’s all I’ll say about that.”

    Governor Glenn Younkin on twitter:

    “arresting a presidential candidate on a manufactured basis should not happen in America.”

    Speaker McCarthy:

    Mr. Bragg had “irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our presidential election.”

    “As he routinely frees violent criminals to terrorize the public, he weaponized our sacred system of justice against President Donald Trump,” Mr. McCarthy wrote on Twitter. “The American people will not tolerate this injustice, and the House of Representatives will hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account.”

    Sen. Ron Johnson:

    Trump’s social media post:

    In contrast to the responses above, here’s a normal, responsible response from a former Republican governor:

    Personal reaction

    First, I want to say that indicting a former president is highly problematic and not a good day for our country, at least on one level. On the other hand, if this indictment is justified, then sending the message, no one is above the law, is good thing for the country and the world.

    However, it’s important to say that Congress should have impeached and removed President Trump. That was the appropriate means of dealing with Trump. I really believe the Founding Fathers designed a system to protect the nation against someone like Trump. Impeachment and removal was the one of the key means to do so, and the Republicans to due their duty to protect the Constitution in my view.

    But since that hasn’t happened the burden now falls on the Third Branch to hold Trump accountable. Again, that is highly problematic. The precedent is set that former POTUS’s can be indicted. This is not to say that I believe they should never be indicted, but it’s not a good thing, even if it may be necessary.

    And that leads another point: Bragg better have a really, really strong case. The evidence has to be strong. His decision should not only fit with past practice, but should the evidence and circumstances should be even stronger. I hope this is the case.

    Finally, I’m sickened by the reaction from conservatives and the GOP–particularly those who do not believe what they’re saying. Incitement of violence by politicians has been totally normalized. I predict they won’t stop until a politician dies (and I actually wonder if that will do it).

    (Addendum: The GOP’s playbook includes referencing George Soros, as a puppet master behind Bragg. This is too close to anti-semitic tropes about the conspiracy that Jewish financiers control the world. These politicians at best are being reckless and possibly anti-semitic.)

  4. Here’s what we learned from the indictment. from the NYT (gifted article)

    The indictment said the former president had illegally kept documents concerning “United States nuclear programs; potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attack; and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack.”


    In speeches in Georgia and North Carolina last night, Trump used rhetoric that could leave to violence. From the NYT:

    “This is the final battle,” Mr. Trump said in the speech to several thousand activists,…

    “Either the Communists win and destroy America, or we destroy the Communists,” the former president said in Georgia, seeming to refer to Democrats. He made similar remarks about the “Deep State,” using the pejorative term he uses for U.S. intelligence agencies and more broadly for any federal government bureaucrat he perceives as a political opponent. He railed against “globalists,” “warmongers” in government and “the sick political class that hates our country.”

    Mr. Trump also described the Justice Department as “a sick nest of people that needs to be cleaned out immediately,” calling the special counsel, Jack Smith, “deranged” and “openly a Trump hater.”

    And he attacked by name Fani Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, Ga., who is weighing criminal charges against Mr. Trump, calling her “a lunatic Marxist” and accusing her of ignoring violent crime and instead spending all of her time “working on getting Trump.”


    “In the end, they’re not coming after me, they’re coming after you, and I’m just standing in their way,” Mr. Trump said in Greensboro, N.C., Saturday evening. “The baseless indictment of me by the Biden administration’s weaponized Department of In-Justice will go down as among the most horrific abuses of power in the history of our country.”

    A POTUS, in or out of office, would not use language like this–because all of them would not want to cause violence. They would not baselessly undermine key democratic institutions. They would be really careful with their language. Trump’s language suggests he actually wants violence and division.

    An interesting explanation as to why Trump took government documents

    Roberta Costa, from CBS News, believes Trump took the documents because he was angry at General Miley. Costa explains this in the following twitter thread:

    (Thread) learning some new things this morning about WHY this all happened and the motivation, especially for the audio from 2021 discussing classified material. In short, it comes down to one person: *Milley.* Trump loathed his coverage in press, in books, per multiple sources…
    As Trump fumed in post-presidency period about Milley, in his view, being cast as a hero and himself as an insurrectionist, he began to talk regularly about Milley in 2021, dismissing him and bringing up stories that made Milley seem unintelligent and untrustworthy, per sources
    Trump’s anger about Milley led him to be cavalier about what he said about Milley and their interactions & policy decisions, and it frustrates some aides who notices how he would veer into dicey/near classified material in convos. Then Trump started to do interviews for books…
    While Trump didn’t speak to us for Peril, he spoke to a lot of others at the same time in 2021 as he was lashing out at Milley in private. These dynamics began to collide as Trump sat down with people, with him pulling out documents and memos from the WH to make his points…
    And when people would come by to hear Trump go on and on about his presidency, and often rant about Milley, Trump’s aides would also be recording the conversations, in case they ever wanted to contest what was later written. That included when Meadows’s ghostwriters stopped by…
    “The audio, recorded by a Trump aide, includes remarks Trump made to two ghostwriters for his last chief of staff, Mark Meadows.”

    Trump lawyers told DOJ they couldn’t find classified doc discussed in audio
    The recording — from a July 2021 meeting at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey — is a crucial piece of evidence that prosecutors obtained in recent months.
    Sometimes aides & visitors weren’t even sure if what Trump was talking about on national security or military matters was true or if docs Trump mentioned existed, sources recalled. But Trump seemed to talk a lot about Milley and his own view of what really happened on that front.
    Initially, Trump’s boasts & recollections about Milley and decisions and various points of intel/policy seemed to be a shrug, not much news. But after special counsel heard that these chats were recorded, they became key evidence items, giving glimpse into how & why he had docs.
    So what began as an attempt to keep some docs from Crossfire Hurricane + other episodes that frustrated him, eventually became situation where he began to cite what he had about an issue that gnawed at him: Milley’s public profile + what he saw as reputation building by the Gen.
    And it’s in the Milley-related exchanges where Trump might have treaded into waters that the special counsel is now scrutinizing intently, esp if those docs had any markings related to sources and methods. So obstruction is key part of case but retention and motivation also key.
    As s. counsel picked up speed, the Meadows area of both probes (Jan. 6, docs) quickly became a rich area for pros. to mine, per people familiar with witnesses/Qs asked… Meadows orbit asked about book project + audio, plus about what Meadows knew re: Jan. 2021 removal of docs.
    Trump World has been watching this closely, knowing who’s going in and out of the grand jury for both cases because they all know each other… they began to noticee that Meadows cooperated more than most (remember the texts/J6 cmmte) and was under intense pressure from feds…
    They also began to notice how he’s been quiet, even when they run into him at events. He’s active in some Hill activities, but they wonder what exactly is going on with him and his former aides, in terms of what he has said about Trump and who’s responsible for docs exiting WH.

    A link to the indictment and an entertaining commentary of it

    Scott Shapiro is a Yale law professor whom I trust. (He appears on the lawfare podcasts.) He claimed that this thread, commenting on the indictment, was the best things he’s read on twitter.

    Jack Smith, the Special Counsel, and others have recommended reading the actual indictment. I had very little interest in doing so. But after reading the commentary above, I had a desire to corroborate the commentary, so I started reading a few pages. I’m only about five pages in, but it’s easy to understand and damning. The first three pages alone are worth reading.

    1. Reactions from Politicians and Officials

      House Republicans Rally Behind Trump, Seeking to Discredit Indictment from the NYT

      Speaker McCarthy:

      Today is indeed a dark day for the United States of America.

      It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him. Joe Biden kept classified documents for decades.

      I, and every American who believes in the rule of law, stand with President Trump against this grave injustice. House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable.

      Rep. Steve Scalise, 2nd ranking GOP member:

      “Let’s be clear about what’s happening: Joe Biden is weaponizing his Department of Justice against his own political rival. This sham indictment is the continuation of the endless political persecution of Donald Trump.”

      These comments are reckless and irresponsible. I assume McCarthy and Scalise believe this type of politicization of the indictments is within a normal range, but that only shows how lost they are in my view.

      But that’s not the worst of the comments.

      One House member, Representative Clay Higgins, Republican of Louisiana, hinted at a major backlash, in a cryptic tweet that appeared to refer to Mr. Trump as the true American president — “rPOTUS,” an acronym sometimes used by his supporters for “real president of the United States.” Mr. Higgins also referred to the scale used in military maps and told his followers to “buckle up.”

      Another Republican, Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona, was even more bellicose, tweeting: “We have now reached a war phase. Eye for an eye.”

      On the positive side, Bill Barr’s comments undermine these statements. This is really important. Trump chose Bill Barr to be the Attorney General–Barr is not part of the “Deep State.” He’s not a Democrat; he’s behaved in a political way, protecting Trump, as Attornety General.

      Also, kudos to Senator Mitt Romney:

      “Mr. Trump brought these charges upon himself by not only taking classified documents, but by refusing to simply return them when given numerous opportunities to do so,”…

  5. FBI resisted opening probe into Trump’s role in Jan. 6 for more than a year from WaPo (Gift article)

    Massive reporting on the way the DOJ and FBI investigated 1/6. The basic takeaway is that the leaders in both were highly reluctant to investigate Trump and those close to him. They rejected at least one proposal to investigate Trump associates like Roger Stone.

    The article gives the strong impression that revelations from the 1/6 committee spurred the DOJ in that direction. I heard many complain about the DOJ during the hearing–saying they were acting too slowly. My feeling was that we don’t know what was happening behind the scenes–i.e., I felt they were likely investigating. But the articles suggests they were not.

    I can understand the anger at the Garland, but whether you’re mad or not, one important ramification of all of this is that it undercuts the weaponization narrative pushed by Republicans. (This is similar to James Comey’s actions, announcing the FBI was re-opening an investigation into Hillary Clinton shortly before the 2016 election. I didn’t like it, but it really undermined the narrative that a “deep state” worked to prevent Trump from being elected.)

  6. Jack Smith announces another indictment:

    Trump charged in probe of Jan. 6, efforts to overturn 2020 election from the WaPo

    One of the many things that come to mind as I hear people talk about this–especially the notion that this will be the most important trial in our history. The shouldn’t have been dealt with by the courts. Had the Congressional Republicans did their duty, Trump wouldn’t have been impeached and removed a long time ago. Also, if Rupert Murdoch and the Conservative pundits told the truth, this may have enabled Congressional Republicans to impeach and remove Trump.

    I believe the vast majority knew he was unfit and deserved to be impeached and removed–but not only did they fail to do this, many either tacitly or actively enabled and supported Trump.

    I believed they hoped someone or something else would clean up their mess. The courts was one of those someones.

    While I prosecuted Trump is the right thing, this approach is not without serious problems. The Founders designed a system to deal with someone like Trump. But for this system to work, enough members of Congress–in this case, not a huge number–had to put their country ahead of their party and personal interests. The GOP utterly failed to do this, and thereby failed our country.


    Here’s the forty-five page indictment.

  7. From Maggie Haberman of the NYT:

    It bears repeating that Trump’s advisers are blunt privately that their goal is for Trump to win the election in part so that the cases can be disappeared by the Trump Justice Department.

    Stunning. Just unreal that this seems like no big deal; that there are Congressional Republicans and Republican voters who would still support him. Reporters should ask McConnell, and Bill Barr if they would still vote for Trump in 2024.

  8. Not surprising, but there has to be consequences for this. This intimidating witnesses and threatening the prosecutors and the judge.

    And for the billionth time–we really need Republicans and Conservatives to speak out against this.


    But later, Trump posted this:

    Seems to undermine the explanation for the first tweet. Trump can make any excuse he wants. He’s indicted. Pence could be a witness. On condition of release, he promised not to intimidate witnesses or retaliate. Is this intimidation? It’s debatable, but it’s close enough that most sensible people would not post something like this.

    And Troye (who worked in the Trump administration) brings up a good point. Trump’s statements and tweet on 1/6 regarding Pence lacking courage put a target on Pence’s back–and his wife and daughter were with him in the Capitol. It will not be a surprise–and should not be a surprise–if someone attacks or attempts to attack Pence or some other political figure or government worker.

    Rupert Murdoch and GOP who support Trump–they’re waiting for someone more prominent to die–before they really speak out.


    Trump posted on Truth Social today:

    Trumps’ defenders say that Biden is going after his political opponent, which is unprecedented. But Biden’s not making Trump post these statements. Biden didn’t force Trump to call Georgia state officials as ask them to find votes. The list goes on.

    The situation reminds me of the argument that Trump has received the worst press coverage–as if that should delegitimatize the press coverage. They elide critical questions like, Did Trump do anything to warrant that coverage? What press coverage would you expect if a president did and said the same things?

    I wasn’t sure if Pence would be testifying for this third (or any) indictment, but Trump’s lawyer says he will be–and will be one of the best witnesses. He says this a day after Trump attacks Pence on social media. How is this not a violation of his conditions of release? How is this not trying to influence the trial?

    And now publicly accusing the presiding judge of not being fair (Trump attacked Jack Smith as well, but I didn’t post his comments):

    This is effectively putting a target on the back of this judge. I would be surprised if she, Jack Smith, and Pence are not receiving threats now. No one should be surprised if they are assaulted. Prior to 2016, I would have expected a significant number of prominent Republicans to come out publicly and condemn Trump’s statements, pushing back against weaponization narratives. It seems like this is not going to happen unless someone is seriously injured or dies.



    It’s clear to me now that Trump is incapable of following conditions of his release (e.g., refraining from trying to intimidate or influence witnesses, judges, prosecutors, etc.). Besides a gag order or sending him to prison, I’m not sure what will make him stop.

    And now these comments pertain to the a witness in the Georgia courts.

  9. Not really pertaining to the indictments, but I’m going to leave these two posts here–from the self-described “stable genius:”

  10. Indictment from Georgia:

    Someone (Brian Klaas) wrote this on twitter:

    The alternative to these latest indictments is to set the precedent that presidents may freely enact sweeping authoritarian conspiracies to try to stay in power after losing elections without fear of serious consequences. It’s that simple. This is rule of law defending democracy.

    I agree with this however, it’s important to note if congressional Republicans impeached and removed Trump, we may not have to have relied on the courts to stop the precedent above. That would have been the Republicans defending democracy and the Constitution.


    This is basically a Rico indictment of the Republican Party. As it should be. Every Republican elected official who refused to acknowledge the winner of the 2020 election is an unindicted co-conspirator.

    (Stuart Stevens, long-time Republican campaign manager.)


    Why I Doubt Trump’s ‘Sincere Belief’ Defense Will Fly Before a Jury by Roger Parloff from Lawfare.


    Trump violating these conditions of release is a matter of “if,” not “when.”

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