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Donald Trump is Indicted. Finally.
Fifteen thoughts on the news that the New York grand jury has voted to indict the former president
On March 30, 2023, Donald J. Trump became the first president of the United States to be criminally indicted, securing his singularly infamous place in history.
This indictment—certain to be the source of considerable controversy and excitement by those who love him and those who hate him—offers optimism for those who believe in the most fundamental principle of justice: No one is above the law.
For those who hate him, this indictment may be a source of great joy and relief that the rule of law is still intact and he is finally being held accountable. Yet let’s not forget how sad it is that America will forever suffer the permanent stain of his criminality.
For those who love him, this indictment is certain to be a sign that their beloved hero is facing political persecution and is the unfair target of the liberal elites. It may take further indictments well beyond Manhattan (Georgia, for example) to convince any of his cult to decide to abandon him. But it may take years or even decades for many of the cultists to ever admit they were wrong about him.
For all those who yearn to see him arraigned in New York in handcuffs, as delightful as that image may be, it will likely only inflame his cult and make their rejection of subsequent indictments that much more intense and dangerous.
As much as his indictment—and his incendiary response in the coming days—may incite violence, that should not and must not be a reason to hesitate holding a lawless former occupant of the White House criminally accountable.
Justice must be served, even if you think hush money payments to a porn star is not the crime that you wish was the reason for his first indictment. It’s the duty of an impaneled grand jury and law enforcement officials to call for indictment when a crime has been committed.
Don’t assume you know yet the scale of this indictment. CNN is reporting the indictment includes more than 30 charges of business fraud. But you can assume such charges will not motivate his followers or elected Republicans to turn away from him.
Crime shouldn’t pay, but we should be prepared to learn that Trump will be heavily grifting off this indictment, and he will successfully rake in millions by convincing supporters that indicting him is somehow an attack on them.
Be prepared for a total circus in the days and weeks ahead, with Donald J. Trump serving as the desperate, unhinged ringleader.
As he stews in his new reality, be prepared for more pleas for “death and destruction” and the fulfillment of his fever dream of American carnage.
Donald Trump was a known criminal long before nearly 63 million Americans voted for him to control the levers of power. As much as he is responsible for his criminal exploitation of that power, we must understand and fix the sickness in the body politic that enabled him to take office.
This indictment will not succeed in repairing our democracy. But not indicting him would make it that much harder to ever repair our democracy.
What does Fani Willis, the district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia, really mean when she says a decision is “imminent”? May we find out soon.
Donald Trump was indicted. Finally. May it be the first of many, particularly one for inciting a violent insurrection intended to overthrow the government and keep him in power.
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