Trump’s indictment will probably hurt him with the electorate. But how much? | Lloyd Green

On Thursday, Manhattan prosecutors indicted Donald Trump. The charges against him stem from $130,000 in hush-money paid to an adult film star, Stormy Daniels.

The question now looms whether the nation will face Trump-incited violence as a result. The former president threatened “death and destruction” if charged. In a now infamous social media post targeting the Black district attorney Alvin Bragg, Trump depicted himself brandishing a baseball bat at the District Attorney, and called him as an “animal” and “degenerate psychopath”.

Some critics have characterized the indictment as an aggregation of record-keeping infractions, the “zombie case” that Bragg initially declined to bring. In his book People vs Donald Trump, Mark Pomerantz, a onetime lawyer in Bragg’s office, previously argued that this particular set of charges was legally wanting.

Regardless, the latest fireworks will likely damage Trump with the broader electorate even as Joe Biden struggles with a banking crisis and persistent inflation. “Trump won’t change, and that shows he can’t win,” intones the Murdoch-controlled New York Post. Still, don’t bet that Fox News changes its tune.

Faced with a court order, a passel of senior Trump advisors and administration officials may soon be witnesses, including Mark Meadows, Trump’s last chief of staff.

The drumbeat continues. Next month, Trump stands trial for defamation and sexual assault. He faces a civil suit brought in New York by E Jean Carroll. Unlike his purported relationship with Daniels, this case centers on rape and degradation.

Carroll contends that a quarter of a century ago Trump attacked her in the dressing room of a Manhattan department store. He parried that she was not his “type”. But at a recent deposition, he mistook her for Marla Maples, his second wife, raising questions about his credibility and mental acuity.

The Trump-Carroll square-off will also provide the country with another opportunity to revisit history. Her lawyers will probably play the infamous Access Hollywood tape. “When you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump said on a hot mic. “You can do anything.”

Separately, a New York judge has refused to delay a $250m civil fraud action commenced by the state against Trump, his three older children and the Trump Organization, the family business. The October 2023 trial date is “written in stone”, Judge Arthur Engoron said last week.

More than two decades have lapsed since a Republican-controlled House of Representatives impeached Bill Clinton over the Lewinsky affair.

Lindsey Graham, then a congressman, acted as a manager at Clinton’s impeachment trial. These days, the South Carolina senator prattles about dire consequences for Democrats, anything to golf with Trump.

Senator Rand Paul, the self-styled libertarian, calls for Bragg’s arrest. Marjorie Taylor Greene demands that George Soros, foreign-born and a Bragg-backer, be stripped of his US citizenship.

Meanwhile, McCarthy, the speaker of the House, ordered Republicans to “immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions”. Faced with a letter from congressional Republicans demanding documents and testimony, Bragg refused to yield.

Their missive “only came after Donald Trump created a false expectation that he would be arrested,” the District Attorney shot back. Such circumstances, he wrote, did not represent “a legitimate basis for congressional inquiry”. Jim Jordan and the rest of the crew refused to take “no” for an answer. On Saturday night, Bragg told them to pound sand.

Congressional Republicans now mull legislation to immunize past and current presidents from “politically motivated prosecution”. Conveniently, the Republican party has forgotten those chants of “lock her up”. The law-and-order party meddles with a live criminal investigation.

The ex-reality show host closed the week with a campaign rally in Waco, Texas, site of the fatal 1993 Branch Davidian standoff. The fiery siege left more than 80 cult members and four law enforcement officials dead.

Personal grievance pocked Trump’s remarks. The investigations surrounding him were “something straight out of the Stalinist Russia horror show,” he declared. Trump tore into Bragg for “prosecutorial misconduct.”

After the rally, Trump reportedly suggested that Bragg had dropped the Daniels case. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

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