Later, Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance began investigating Trump, but ultimately chose to focus not on the Daniels payment, but the broader business practices of the Trump Organization, charging Trump’s family business with a cornucopia of crimes, 17 of which it was found guilty of in December.
Vance left office in December 2021. A short time after that, his successor, Alvin Bragg, reportedly indicated to prosecutors that he had doubts about taking a case against Trump, personally, to court.
Last November, The New York Times reported that Bragg had refocused the criminal investigation into Trump—but not over the crimes the Trump Organization would be found guilty of just a month later. Instead, prosecutors were returning to the matter that originally sparked their investigation into Trump a number of years back: the hush money payment. In January, the Times reported that the DA’s office had begun presenting evidence to a grand jury.
Who spoke to the grand jury?
A whole bunch of people, including but not limited to former AMI publisher Pecker, longtime Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, and, crucially, Michael Cohen. Trump himself was invited to appear before the grand jury but declined. Stormy Daniels met with prosecutors in mid-March.
And we’re assuming Trump has never actually admitted to the hush money deal, right?
In fact, he has! Even more hilariously, he literally wrote, on Twitter, of the NDA they made Daniels sign after paying her off: “These agreements are very common among celebrities and people of wealth.”
What has Trump more broadly said about all of this?
Not surprisingly, Trump has, on numerous occasions, dubbed the investigation into the hush money payment a “witch hunt,” which is how he describes anything he doesn’t like, especially if it concerns the possibility that he will receive the same treatment as everyone else in the eyes of the law.
He has also denied having an affair with Daniels (with McDougal as well), despite admitting to the hush money payment in Daniels’s case.
When might the indictment happen?
According to numerous reports, it could happen as early as this week. Steel barricades have been placed outside Manhattan criminal court, and law enforcement agencies have reportedly held meetings to discuss “security, staffing, and contingency plans in the event of any protests.” On Saturday, according to a copy of an email obtained by Politico, Bragg told his employees: “Our law enforcement partners will ensure that any specific or credible threats against the office will be fully investigated and that the proper safeguards are in place so all 1,600 of us have a secure work environment.”
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Are Republicans losing their minds?
Of course. Kevin McCarthy tweeted, “Here we go again—an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump. I’m directing relevant committees to immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.” Ted Cruz wrote, “The Trump indictment is garbage.” Marjorie Taylor Greene insisted that “Every single Republican should go scorched earth.”
Has Trump suggested his supporters should engage in violence on his behalf, à la January 6?
In his typical Trumpian way, yes. Over the weekend, he wrote on Truth Social that people must “PROTEST” and “TAKE OUR NATION BACK,” in response to what he predicted would be a Tuesday arrest. While he did not literally call for violence, his language was deeply reminiscent of him telling his supporters to “fight like hell” on January 6, shortly before they stormed the US Capitol.
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