On Tuesday, Donald Trump will officially become a criminal defendant and be subject to a legal system over which he has no control. His fate will no longer be solely orchestrated by an attacking former president.
For a long time, Trump has used political storms, alternate realities, legal controversies, and media spectacles to obscure the truth or discredit the institutions that have restricted his rule-breaking behavior. When he appears in court for his arraignment in a case involving a hush money payment to an adult film actress, he will lose that ability.
In addition, there are growing indications that this new reality—which will entail significant financial commitments in the form of legal fees and the locking of Trump’s calendar—could be multiplied at a time when he already faces the intense demands of another attempt at the White House.
This is due to the fact that the former president, who is the first person to be charged with a crime, also appears to have serious issues in a potentially more dangerous case involving his alleged mishandling of secret documents, which special counsel Jack Smith is looking into. As the Justice Department gathers evidence regarding Trump’s handling of classified documents after he left the White House, it appears that charges are becoming more likely.
According to Monday’s report from CNN’s Katelyn Polantz and Evan Perez, Smith’s prosecutors have obtained daily notes, texts, emails, and photographs and are concentrating on cataloging how Trump handled classified records around Mar-a-Lago and those who may have witnessed the former president with them. The Justice Department appears to be taking steps that are consistent with the conclusion of an investigation, as evidenced by the new details.
Trump’s previous legal counselor, Ty Cobb, told CNN’s Erin Burnett that the improvements address a serious turn for the situation for the ex-president. ” We’ve realized the investigatory advances were in progress, we simply haven’t known claimed results until the present time,” Cobb said. ” I believe these have significant repercussions.
It’s possible that it won’t end with the documents case. Smith is also looking into Trump’s actions leading up to the insurrection at the US Capitol. The former president’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election result in the swing state may also be the subject of a possible prosecution in Georgia, which would be led by a district attorney.
Trump keeps any bad behavior in all from getting these examinations. He has described his behavior as “perfect” in Georgia. Additionally, he has criticized the sealed indictment that was issued against him in New York, where he is accused of more than 30 counts of business fraud.
However, given that a former president and current presidential candidate is about to appear in court, there is also a growing sense that pressure on Trump will inexorably increase, compromising his ability to avoid accountability at a critical time for the nation.
Trump makes an effort to control his own media circus
Trump made a big deal of his return to New York on Monday in advance of his arraignment. The convoy of black SUVs used by the Secret Service to transport his private Boeing 757 in its sparkling new livery had the air of a presidential power play meant to convey strength.
After court Tuesday, he will get back to his Blemish a-Lago resort and recover the media spotlight with an early evening discourse he will probably use to broadcast his honesty, assault the New York case as political oppression and attempt to divert from the reality he will be a criminal litigant.
However, Monday was a dark day for Trump, despite his bravado and claims by pundits that he will transform his legal issues into political gold. He was under duress going back to Manhattan, where he used to live, to surrender on Tuesday in connection with the first criminal charges ever brought against an ex-president. Trump has always been a force of nature who defies convention and has never been under his staff’s control. However, unlike the institutions of political accountability that he has undermined, he will now be subject to the orders of a judge as well as the rules and conventions of the legal system. As a result, it will be much more difficult for him to disrupt and divert these things.
He might be required to appear in court at times. A legal team that has frequently struggled to act coherently will face severe demands during the exhausting pre-trial process, which includes numerous deadlines for legal arguments and a mountain of evidence for the defense to sort through. For instance, Trump made a last-minute change to his legal team before his appearance on Tuesday, appointing Todd Blanche as his lead attorney instead of Joe Tacopina, who some thought would be left out. However, the camp of the former president rebutted this interpretation.
One criminal arraignment is adequately grave. A multi-front defense in multiple cases would be an extraordinary storm, even though none of the other cases have resulted in charges against Trump. Additionally, it would make it more difficult for the former president to control his destiny and set his own political agenda. Trump used his enormous popularity among Republican voters to disprove allegations against him when he was under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller in the Russia investigation or during his two impeachments. He put pressure on the majority of GOP senators, who were aware that voting to convict him in an impeachment trial would cost them their careers.
While popular assessment will be basic in forming the political effect of the New York case, the actual arraignment will be protected. Trump cannot exert political pressure on the acting New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan, who will preside over the arraignment. In point of fact, Trump’s attacks on the judge or prosecutors might backfire in court. In addition, the procedure of a court case and its rules cannot be ignored by even a former president.
The situation is somewhat analogous to that of the 2020 election, when the will of the people prevailed because Trump’s attempts to change the results and invalidate votes failed in multiple courts due to the law’s fact-based standards of evidence.
On Monday, Trump’s lawyers argued against a request from news organizations like CNN to allow television cameras into the arraignment on Tuesday in an effort to wrest some control of the proceedings. The media organizations argued that the case should be broadcast because it was of such public interest. In any case, Trump’s legal counselors let the adjudicator know that “it will make a bazaar like climate at the arraignment, raise special security concerns, and is conflicting with President Trump’s assumption of guiltlessness.”
Merchan denied the request for broadcast cameras in a late-night ruling. But before the hearing starts, five still photographers will be allowed to take pictures of Trump and the courtroom.
However, the ex-president’s rant about being the focus of a media circus was full of irony. Without his sales rep’s ability for preparing media bazaars, he’d have never have been president. Trump assembled his “The Craft of the Arrangement” folklore in New York by continually giving grain to the city’s voracious sensationalist newspapers with his acclaimed VIP quarrels, beautiful individual life and business hits and disappointments. His Twitter posts, which he frequently unchained, fueled outrage, scandal, and lawlessness throughout his entire 2016 campaign and single-term presidency.
Trump is the only person who knows how to survive in a media circus. Perhaps the difference in this instance is that he is concerned about being a part of a media circus that he no longer controls.