A couple of points seem to get lost in the furor over the New York State Trump investigation. Republicans continue to regurgitate that it’s an evil political witch hunt. To which Ankush Khardori, a former DOJ prosecutor, says, “So what?”
Even if it’s not just a “legal vendetta,” Khardori suggests, “the reality is that this particular criminal case probably never would have been brought for anyone but Trump.” One of the early investigators, Mark Pomerantz, believed that “Trump is a uniquely dangerous political figure who has done tremendous damage to the country.” In other words, get him any way you can.
The case of course depends on what the charges, the indictment counts, will reveal. But the politicization issue is a tricky one, as Andrew Prokop documents. He reminds us of the totally politicized Whitewater charges against Bill Clinton, of the Trump administration’s attempts to lock up its enemies, and of Bill Barr’s forays against the Mueller investigation.
Now you’ve got the ridiculous Stormy Daniels business, though that may not be the entire basis for Bragg’s coming charges. Khardori again: “There is also no indication at the moment that the case against Trump has any real precedent in New York or elsewhere.”
If he is convicted, imagine the pressure on the judge who will sentence him! Still, Trump is likely to get off, even as John Edwards did a few years ago. Jonathan Chait tracks us through the various screw-ups of the investigation under Mark Pomerantz and Cy Vance. Now, perhaps we could anticipate a different outcome. Errol Louis says it would be foolish not to bet on Bragg:
So Trump is in serious legal jeopardy, not least because his adversary, Bragg, is a dogged and meticulous litigator who has proved he can build complex white-collar cases. . . . More recently, as district attorney, Bragg won a criminal conviction for tax fraud against the Trump Organization, resulting in the payment of a $1.6 million fine and the jailing of its CFO, Allen Weisselberg. It’s likely that Bragg’s office acquired enough records, documents, testimony, and insight about Trump’s business dealings to build out a new false-records case.
The one thing that might really lose it for the Republicans is Trump’s big mouth. He continues to say terrible things about Bragg, using racist and antisemitic tropes. And if he keeps up his tirades in front of Judge Juan Merchan tomorrow, he might end up with a gag order or worse.
P.S. Don’t be discouraged. See this: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/04/opinion/donald-trump-alvin-bragg-indictment-charges.html