On the Trump New York Indictment

As all are aware, former President Donald Trump has been indicted by a New York state grand jury.  Although the indictment is said to involve, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, “[Mr. Trump’s] role in paying hush-money to a porn star on the eve of the 2016 election,” the exact nature and extent of the charges have not yet been revealed.

As liberal commentators intone that such indictment is proof that “No One Is Above The Law,” and right-winger scream, “Witch Hunt” and “Weaponization of Government,” a few feelings of unease emerge in addition to concerns about the prospects for violence arising from the presentation of the charges.  Hopefully, all of the following misgivings are woefully misplaced.

If the counts brought against Mr. Trump ultimately amount to no more than falsification of business records under New York law [e.g., that he intentionally mischaracterized the nature of his business expenses to hide his payment to the porn star, Stephanie Clifford (a/k/a Stormy Daniels)] – since any violation of federal campaign finance law is outside NY State DA Alvin Bragg’s bailiwick – such charges are highly likely to be seen (ironically, in part because of the raft of more egregious offenses for which Mr. Trump is arguably culpable) as ticky-tack fouls.  Such an impression helps Mr. Trump.

The existential significance of any charges hereafter brought against Mr. Trump for his role in the January 6th insurrection by Special Prosecutor John L. “Jack” Smith might well be diluted in the public mind by being conceptually lumped in with the New York state charges.  Mr. Smith and his team may be viewed as simply piling on.  Any such impression also helps Mr. Trump.

If there was a path for another Republican to challenge Mr. Trump for the nomination, today that path seems to me significantly narrower if not completely foreclosed.  Anyone now getting in the race is going to be perceived as being disloyal to the party – the ultimate Republican sin.  While announced candidate Fmr. U.S. U.N. Amb. Nikki Haley will avoid that particular charge, her campaign certainly hasn’t caught fire to date and appears overwhelmingly likely to be swamped in the wake of Republicans rallying to Mr. Trump.  [A bright note for readers of these pages:  I had a post mostly finished outlining how a more moderate credible Republican might make effectively challenge Mr. Trump’s seeming iron grip on the Republican nomination.  I see little reason to run it – at least now – sparing you several minutes of your life  😉 .]

Although the outcome of any charges brought against Mr. Trump won’t be known for some time – he is likely to seek to delay any trial until after the 2024 presidential election – if any charges do go to trial against him before the election, it can’t be denied that Mr. Bragg will need to win – obtain a conviction.  Obtaining a criminal conviction against any defendant in this country obviously requires the prosecution persuade a jury of the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  This is an extremely high standard, and it should be; but if Mr. Trump is acquitted – as he was in his two Senate impeachment trials, despite patently clear evidence of offenses that unquestionably warranted his removal from office – he and his cohort will, as they did following the impeachment proceedings, claim vindication.  I am sure that Mr. Bragg understood that in obtaining an indictment against Mr. Trump, he was going to need to get a conviction.  I most sincerely hope he knows what he’s doing.

Finally, faraway events can have unforeseen repercussions.  I am absolutely confident that Mr. Bragg, in seeking an indictment against Mr. Trump, had no thought of a state Supreme Court race going on in what any New Yorker considers the backwater of Wisconsin.  And yet, as I have earlier asserted that the U.S. Supreme Court’s vitiation of women’s U.S. Constitutional right to obtain an abortion aided Democrats’ better-than-expected showing in the 2022 elections, and have opined that the Roe v. Wade reversal was going to boost liberal Judge Janet Protasiewicz’ campaign for the Wisconsin Supreme Court against conservative former WI S. Ct. Justice Daniel Kelly culminating next Tuesday, I will venture that the Trump indictment being handed down right at this time – a challenge to Mr. Trump intrinsically involving the courts — could literally not have come at a worse time for Ms. Protasiewicz (who even her supporters concede has run a more overtly political campaign than traditionally seen in Wisconsin judicial races).  I fear the Trump indictment will galvanize Republican support for Mr. Kelly in what was already projected to be a very close contest. 

It is very likely that the Wisconsin Supreme Court will ultimately be called upon to decide any challenge mounted to the state’s initially-announced 2024 presidential vote tallies.  The winner of the Protasiewicz-Kelly contest will determine whether liberals or conservatives command the Court’s majority. 

An indictment spawned from a meaningless tryst occurring over a decade ago between a reality TV ham and a porn actress might ultimately have consequences for the direction of America akin to those wrought by a reckless interlude between a president and a White House intern.  Let us hope not.  If anyone wants to take sharp issue with any of the unhappy impressions set forth here, have at it.  I want you to be right.   

One thought on “On the Trump New York Indictment

  1. Simply….Trump has been a blight on the United States…encouraging the dregs of the country to sport their narrow racist and fascist shortcomings as badges of honor convincing the fools it is patriotism. Never in my life did I ever think such a large percentage of Americans could fall for such a Hitleresque figure like Trump. Hopefully enough Americans with common sense and decency will outnumber the loons in the 2024 elections.


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