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The Reckoning Begins
Donald Trump is indicted .... and our democracy is stronger for it.
I’m Michael A. Cohen, and this is Truth and Consequences: A no-holds-barred look at the absurdities, hypocrisies, and surreality of American politics. If you were sent this email or are a free subscriber and would like to become a paid subscriber, you can sign up here.
So as you might have heard …
Let me just make clear at the outset: this is a big fucking deal. While it’s sad that a former president has been indicted, yesterday was a great day for democracy. Americans have long said and believed that we are all equal under the law. Yet, that’s never been true. The justice system works differently for the powerful and wealthy. Some Americans have always been more equal than others. Yesterday, a grand jury in New York City said, “not so fast,” and, to quote Bob Dylan, “even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked.” In demonstrating that this nation can be true to its founding creed that no man or woman is above the law, Trump’s indictment is a reason for celebration.
Beyond that, I don’t have much to add … because we don’t know much. According to the latest reporting from the New York Times, Trump is facing more than two dozen counts. He will travel to Manhattan on Tuesday and turn himself in. He’ll get fingerprinted, photographed, and then arraigned. At that point, the indictment will be unsealed, and then we’ll know the charges and the evidence against Trump. Until then, it’s all just feverish speculation.
Not that this has stopped Republicans from losing their collective shit.
Friend of the newsletter, Brian Rosenwald, has a smart take on this.
Every Republican howling about political persecution or jumping to Trump’s defense is telling us they don’t really care about the rule of law or the idea that the law applies equally to all of us … Anyone who claims this is persecution right now, today, on March 30, 2023, knows 0 about the evidence that Bragg presented to the grand jury. So to pretend that there was no basis for these charges or that they’re specious and politically motivated tells me that someone isn’t interested in letting the legal process work and actually finding out what evidence there is.
Arguably, no one had a more inappropriate and inflammatory take on yesterday’s news than Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy.
Put aside for a moment the disgusting slander of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. What’s truly extraordinary about this statement is that McCarthy bemoans the weaponization of “our sacred system of justice” while at the same time calling on Congress to abuse its powers and seek political revenge against a local law enforcement official. And why? Because Bragg had the audacity to indict Trump. Since we don’t even know the specific charges, the extent of Bragg’s “crimes” is that he used his office to impanel a grand jury, presented evidence and witnesses to them, and then sought an indictment. That’s literally his job. Of course, prosecutors can overreach. It happens all the time — and maybe it’s the case here. But since we don’t know the charges or the evidence, the GOP position on Trump boils down to: any prosecution of him is a witchhunt and thus cannot be legitimate. So basically, “he’s above the law.”
I hate to use these words, but they legitimately apply — the GOP rhetoric on Trump’s indictment is un-American.
As for the politics of all this … I’ll turn things over to Meatball Ron.
Two Soros mentions in a single tweet wins you a free copy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion!
But DeSantis’ casual anti-Semitism notwithstanding, his statement is more or less an in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign. Once again, in a pathetic and obvious effort to appeal to the former president’s rabid base, DeSantis is vomiting out pro-Trump talking points, all the while threatening to violate the Constitution by refusing a New York extradition request (since Trump is already negotiating his surrender this is an entirely empty gesture). The only way DeSantis could do more to help Trump’s nomination bid is to put a “Trump 2024” sign on the front yard of the Florida Governor’s Mansion. With all the major Republican leaders coming out in solidarity with Trump and refusing to attack him over a criminal indictment, they are giving his campaign a huge boost. Not only is he sucking up all the oxygen in the Republican Party, but he’s neutered his opponents, who are clearly too scared to actually suggest that a criminal indictment undermines Trump’s case to be the 2024 Republican nominee. A lot can happen between now and next year, and we truly don’t know how this will play out. But until his opponents develop a spine, Trump remains in the driver’s seat for the GOP presidential nod.
But, as I’ve noted before, the indictment only further erodes Trump’s brand with the non-mouth-breathing segment of the electorate. It’s also not doing any wonders for the GOP image. The last thing Republicans should want, heading into next year, is for Trump to be the center of national political attention … but that’s precisely what’s going to happen. And we still don’t know how the Georgia case and host of federal investigations into Trump will play out. Once again, we are reminded that the Republican Party — the party of Lincoln, TR, Eisenhower, and Reagan — is held hostage by a sociopathic lunatic who may live out his last days in a prison cell.
Great work everyone!