I always caution that when “blockbuster” stories hit, it’s best to wait at least 72 hours to react, just to make sure they aren’t a load of applesauce. Unfortunately, the claim that former President Trump would be arrested on Tuesday was too big a story to ignore, although I did try to throw in some caveats. By the time Monday rolled around, it had gone through a number of twists. Now, it’s unclear whether Trump really will be arrested, and if so, it’s not likely to be on Tuesday. Here’s the latest as of early Monday morning, but I warn you, by the time you read this, it might have gone through 14 more revisions.
The New York City D.A. Alvin Bragg refused to confirm the arrest story, and it appears that Trump heard it from media reports based on illegal leaks from the grand jury. There was also a report that there’s still another witness they have to hear from on Monday. Since they only meet for three hours a day on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (they must have Joe Biden’s work schedule), it’s unlikely they’d have to time to hear another witness, assess the case and vote to indict all before leaving on Monday (then again, this is a New York grand jury going after Trump, so it’s not like they have to take any time to think about it.)
Even the report that there’s another witness has also been disputed, and if there is another witness, it’s officially secret, but of course, there’s already a leaked report of who it is. According to the news site Insider, it’s former Rudy Giuliani attorney Robert Costello. Trump called Costello a “highly-respected lawyer” who has “conclusive and irrefutable” proof that the charges are bogus (reportedly, that the payment to Stormy Daniels was to protect Melania Trump, not Donald’s campaign, and if there’s any justification other than protecting the campaign, the case falls apart.) Former Trump attorney and convicted felon/perjurer Michael Cohen also reportedly wants to testify in rebuttal (because he’s telling the truth NOW), so that could drag this out even further.
Meanwhile, a number of legal experts, including some who are not particularly friendly to Trump, have slammed the possible arrest and prosecution plans as nakedly political and a stinker of a case that’s “legally and factually dubious” and would not be brought against anyone other than Trump.
Bragg responded that “as with all of our investigations, we will continue to apply the law evenly and fairly, and speak publicly only when appropriate.” I’ll resume typing after you finish laughing.
Done? Okay, I’ll give you another minute…
Anyway, that’s where we are at this particular moment. Trump could still be indicted, as the Democrats have been trying to charge him with something/anything from the moment he came down that escalator to announce his presidential run in 2016. As Robert Spencer at PJ Media points out, ever since Democrats made huge gains in the wake of Watergate, they’ve seen accusing Republicans of criminality as an effective political tactic, and they use it habitually. In fact, if I have to hear Hillary Clinton piously intoning that “nobody is above the law” one more time, I might lose my lunch.
Or who knows? Maybe the last-minute witness will convince them the case is groundless. Or possibly (and I know this is a longshot) they’ll consider how outrageous, divisive and unprecedented this is; what a Pandora’s Box it would open for prosecuting former Presidents, including their own; and how many legal experts are denouncing the charges as a giant pile of steaming bull leavings, and decide to behave like responsible adults instead of weaponizing the justice system to attack a political opponent. Stranger things have happened, I just can’t remember when. All we can do is keep calm and wait and see.
In the meantime, here’s an interesting sidelight: Did you know that there is one historical instance when a sitting President was arrested and fined? It’s a very interesting story, and it proves that once upon a time, even the biggest big shots in Washington truly weren’t above the law, and even they recognized it.