Well, it finally happened.
Reports emerged on Thursday that a grand jury hearing evidence from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg had approved an indictment of former President Donald Trump related to the $130,000 in hush money illegally provided before the 2016 presidential election to adult film star Stormy Daniels. The funds already helped drive a criminal case at the federal level against Michael Cohen, a former ally of the ex-president who was the direct source for the funds and went over relevant limits for supporting federal campaigns, which applied to the hush money because of the rather substantive — even if temporary — help with PR. Trump’s specific charges weren’t immediately clear, but the claimed offenses would, it seemed, emerge in tandem with the arraignment for which Trump would now be set.
“The indictment and arrest of a former president is unique throughout all of American history,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in prepared remarks. “But so too is the unlawful conduct for which Trump has been charged, and for the even more grievous misconduct for which he is currently under investigation by a Department of Justice Special Counsel and the Fulton County District Attorney… [If] we are to have justice, if we are to have a rule of law that is meaningful and protective of our democracy, we must hold the rich and powerful to account, even when those persons hold high office… To do otherwise, because holding a president accountable is controversial or provocative, will not bring order, but breed disorder, and disrespect of the law.”
At issue in coming days will be a surrender of the former president to authorities in New York for processing, and if eventually found guilty, he could likely face jail-time. Trump had turned before news of the indictment dropped to rhetoric taking the lack of action as somehow substantially indicative of a lag in the case, but it doesn’t seem there were ever conclusive indications to that effect. He was grasping. An earlier date (a Tuesday) when he proclaimed he’d gotten the hunch he’d be arrested seemed to be arbitrary, even as the underlying investigation continued.
Trump released a lengthy statement on Thursday accusing those opposing him of “election interference,” although he’s the one who ensured any of this would be relevant to any election because he announced he was running for president amid ongoing probes.
Rep. Adam Schiff, former House Intel chair, releases lengthy statement on Trump indictment.
“The indictment and arrest of a former president is unique throughout all of American history. But so too is the unlawful conduct for which Trump has been charged…” pic.twitter.com/57YQy3kyOb
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) March 30, 2023