Nothing will ever be the same again.
The thing former President Donald Trump has feared for more than four decades has happened, and nothing will ever be the same again for Trump, his family, his organizations, and this country.
“For all of Mr. Trump’s outward confidence, the reality is that he has feared and avoided an indictment for more than four decades, after first being criminally investigated in the 1970s. He watched in horror as his former chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, surrendered to authorities, which was shown on television in 2021. Mr. Weisselberg is only slightly younger than Mr. Trump, who told aides he couldn’t believe ‘what they’re doing to that old man,’” the New York Times reported.
Donald Trump has been using lawyers as a weapon for almost 50 years. He learned this from his father. Trump has been under the fire of an investigation in every decade of his adult life.
The Washington Post pointed out Trump has been investigated “by federal and state agencies, by bankers and casino regulators, by legions of prosecutors and competitors…
Now, 50 years after federal officials first accused Trump and his father of violating laws that barred racial discrimination in apartment rentals, the former president has been indicted.”
Trump has, after all, been Teflon Don his entire adult life.
Trump has learned that he can get away with anything. He took this lesson to heart, and expanded his empire from real estate and casinos to reality TV and then to the White House.
Biographer Michael D’Antonio pointed out that a Trump indictment would mean “one of the slipperiest people at the highest level of business, whose devotion to abusing the system is so well established, is being caught.”
“Throughout his life, he has done things for which he could have been investigated and potentially prosecuted and learned from those experiences that he could act with impunity,” he said.
Trump was twice impeached, and then not convicted by the Senate. Upon his first impeachment, it was apparent that if he got away with it, he would be even worse and when he got worse, that meant vulnerable people would suffer. That is, indeed, what followed.
Instead of “learning his lesson” as we were repeatedly told by Republicans, Trump doubled down. He weaponized the federal government against critics. He abused his power relentlessly and then knowingly lied about the 2020 election, which he lost and which was verified and is, after much exhaustive challenge based on unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, uncontested by anyone who has an anchor in reality.
Holding Trump accountable has seemed completely unfathomable, even after he incited a domestic terrorist attack upon his own country in an attempted self-coup to stay in power.
Way back in 1989, Trump called for the execution of the Central Park 5 and declined to apologize when they were exonerated. He ran ads calling for the death penalty for the group.
Upon the announcement of his indictment, Yusef Salaam, a member of the group, responded: “Karma.”
Trump had denied allegations of wrongdoing and accuses prosecutors of engaging in a politically motivated “witch hunt.” Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, including Donald Trump.
On Friday morning, Trump escalated his attacks on the judicial system via his social media company, writing what will no doubt be construed as putting a target on the Judge’s head:
“The Judge “assigned” to my Witch Hunt Case, a “Case” that has NEVER BEEN CHARGED BEFORE, HATES ME. His name is Juan Manuel Marchan, was hand picked by Bragg & the Prosecutors, & is the same person who “railroaded” my 75 year old former CFO, Allen Weisselberg, to take a “plea” deal (Plead GUILTY, even if you are not, 90 DAYS, fight us in Court, 10 years (life!) in jail. He strong armed Allen, which a judge is not allowed to do, & treated my companies, which didn’t “plead,” VICIOUSLY. APPEALING!
Never before has it seemed that Trump was truly afraid.
But there are inklings of fear now… Just the faintest whiff blowing off of Truth Social, where he is fundraising off of this indictment as expected — but also, there’s a peek at the little man behind the curtain of threats and obstruction for so long.
The only thing Trump has ever had was his brand, his image. Fear is not part of that brand. Culpability and shame are not part of that brand. Being held accountable and treated like everyone else is definitely not part of that faux gold brand.
This indictment is the very first moment of criminal accountability for Trump, and a chance to have the evidence laid out in a court of law. But also, most ominously for Trump, perhaps the first card to fall.
If he doesn’t manage to escape this indictment, the next indictments will roll in like a tidal wave.
This will all come down to the solidity of Alvin Bragg’s case and the jury’s reaction to the evidence. Even if Trump supporters “burn the country” as Republicans keep threatening they will, they might not be able to stop the ever-so-slow wheel of justice.
This indictment changes everything, no matter how Trump and his supporters respond. It is the first criminal indictment in Trump’s entire adult career of being investigated endlessly. The first hole in his armor.
Listen to Sarah on the PoliticusUSA Pod on The Daily newsletter podcast here.
Sarah has been credentialed to cover President Barack Obama, then VP Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and exclusively interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times and exclusively covered her first home appearance after the first impeachment of then President Donald Trump.
Sarah is two-time Telly award winning video producer and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Connect with Sarah on Post, Mastodon @PoliticusSarah@Journa.Host, & Twitter.
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