The Really Big Indictments Have Arrived

With all due respect to the indictments from New York and Florida, which are serious enough in themselves, and particularly in the latter case could end up with Trump doing some time in the Stony Lonesome, today’s indictments get to the heart of the matter for Trump: He (allegedly) perpetrated, in the words of Special Prosecutor Jack Smith “an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy… fueled by lies.”

The full indictment (which, yes, I read), is pretty clear that Trump knew that he had lost the election, in no small part because he was informed about it, both on the state and federal level, by people who understood the processes, and was told over and over again. Then he lied about it anyway and plotted to have the election overturned, mostly (and this is my opinion here, and is not presented in the indictment), because Trump is a pathetic ambulatory tantrum who would rather destroy the Republic than admit that he’s a loser. That’s because he never actually cared about the Republic at all. This was only ever about him, and still is.

This isn’t the last of the possible indictments against Trump; there’s still Georgia to go, and given how Georgia is a salient component of this indictment, it seems unlikely to me that he won’t be indicted there as well. Trump will likely have two sets of state indictments and two sets of federal indictments to deal with, and likely four — count them! Four! — trials to defend himself at while he’s also running for president, because at this point he’s the prohibitive runner, the GOP primary voters having convinced themselves that (at this point) three separate indictments handed down by three separate grand juries in three separate jurisdictions are somehow just political theater. Bless their hearts. I will happily grant that in the case of the DC indictments today, they are political — when you try to fraudulently attempt to install yourself into the presidency for a second term, that’s very much a political act.

It’s also an act that should not be ignored, because that will set a bad precedent; the idea that you can try to fraudulently install yourself as president is not one we should tolerate from anyone, even a then-current sitting president, who, remember, absolutely lost the election, both in the popular and electoral vote. I look forward to Trump having his day in court and trying to talk his way out of this one (fun fact: He won’t talk his way out of it, and probably won’t talk at all, the chances of him pleading the Fifth are extraordinarily high). I also look forward to him having his day in court at least two and most probably three more times after that.

What will be especially interesting is how the GOP Reality Denial Shield will stand up to four trials. I have some thoughts about that, but I’m gonna hold them for now. Regardless, 2024 certainly will be an interesting presidential election, now even more than it would have been otherwise.

— JS

62 Comments on “The Really Big Indictments Have Arrived”

  1. Political post so The Mallet is out; remember to be polite to each other, thank you.

    Also, the first person to “whaddabout The Biden Crime Family” will get the Mallet, as well as subsequent people. That’s not panning out for you, folks, and pretending otherwise isn’t going to add anything useful to the discussion here, so go ahead and leave it out. You have the whole rest of the Internet to gripe about that. Stay on topic here, thanks.

  2. I thought this day would never come.

    However, lots of indictments are one thing. What I want to see is convictions and sentencing that is not softened because he was president or anything else.

  3. And he’s drawn the Jan 6 Hanging Judge. There is peculation that she may very well get this trial in before the election.

  4. Nice to see this coming, though the headline for that NYT article is kind of ambiguous; my first parsing of it was the indictment was a move to overturn the election, not that the indictment was about him attempting to overturn the election.

  5. Trump will hold his grip on the GOP, get elected, pardon himself and get his puppet court to support it or just stuff the court. He will then start a witch hunt and work to dismantle democratic institutions. And the environment. Sorry I don’t feel more positive. I hope the Supreme Court does better than I expect them to do.

  6. I’m scared shitless that nothing will affect the outcome of the GOP primary, nor the election.

    The mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging Trump-supporting cretins will pull the lever for him, regardless.

  7. He can’t possibly plead the fifth. A great man once said that’s what guilty people do!


  8. Canadian here, no dog in the fight.

    I think the indictment coming from Fani Willis will be the game changer. Lots of good old boys in Georgia, loving their 2nd ‘mendment rights. So a decent chance for some violence, or at least armed threats thereof, when he’s indicted in Atlanta.

    At which point, Willis, who is after all a political creature, will demand he be jailed pending trial as a danger to the community.

    Big fuss, for a few days. Then Trump will fade from view.

    But I’m an optimist.

  9. Honestly, this is all amazing to me. Can’t believe we finally got here. I just want to see the trials start up before the election. Because if he won (how?) or another Republican did they could just pardon him. That would be an insane plot twist.

  10. It baffles me that we ever got to this point. I’m glad that accountability is in the pipeline, times three (soon, times four).

  11. Jack Smith prosecutes war criminals for a living. He’s really good at what he does, and I hope he nails Trump to the wall.

  12. Given the target of the indictments – and the coherence of his tweeting – shouldn’t the DOJ statement have referred to “an UNPRESIDENTED assault?”

  13. If you haven’t seen it yet:

    Co-Conspirator #1 is…wait for it… yes, you guessed it, Rudy G.,!

    #2 the “mastermind ” behind the fake electors scam and theorizer that Pence could refuse to certify the results: John Eastman.

    #3 all-around nutjob who was even too crazy for Trump: Sidney (Crazy Eyes) Powell.

  14. I really think the Documents case is our best bet for getting convictions though. The charges aren’t as serious as the Jan 6 charges, but the evidence in the case seems to me to be less open to interpretation. We found the documents in his possession and he wasn’t supposed to have them. And he knew both that he had them and that he wasn’t supposed to. We have him on tape with witnesses talking about it.

  15. I’ve lived through a lot. The Kennedy Assassination (and a lifetime of conspiracy theories. I grew up 60 miles north of Dallas), Vietnam and Watergate (which changed people from thinking the gov’t is here to help, to being a corrupt organization), and the greed and heartlessness of the Reagan revolution. Nothing has been the danger to our democracy as Trump. The fact that after everything he’s done he’s still the most popular candidate of the Republican party shows not only how divided our country is, but just how bad one of the divisions has become. This is our last chance to save our democracy and show that laws matter.

  16. I am pessimistic enough to be genuinely terrified. Like Evan at 7:43 above, I expect the mango moron to steal the 2024 election, pardon himself from anything and everything, and then start shredding the Constitution and jailing all the non-MAGA-heads his goons can round up.

    I hope I’m wrong. I’d LOVE to be wrong. But I’m terrified that I won’t be.

  17. I mostly share Troyce’s view and must be about the same age.

    I am so sad and appalled that so many Americans are stuck in a mirror universe and believe all these lies. People who really are well educated and should know better actually believe in the “deep state” and believe all kinds of malarky and are part of the personality cult of Trump. I live in Oklahoma — Trump country.

    I sure hope we get out of this and don’t turn in Hungary. Trying to keep breathing and not turn into a bundle of fear. Gardening and yard work help. The birds and squirrels don’t care who is president so that’s a welcome break from time to time. But people have to care.

    I am very worried but trying to keep my equilibrium. Very glad charges are being filed all over the place and that it’s not getting swept under the rug — no thanks to the Fox media universe. Those people have a lot to answer for.

  18. Co-conspirator #4 looks to be Jeffrey Clark. Paragraph 81 alleges that he said “that’s why there’s an Insurrection Act” when told that riots would break out if Trump illegitimately stayed in office past January 20.

    He’s not the only co-conspirator who recommended violent means of staying in power. The indictment also mentions in paragraph 103(a) the invocation of “trial by combat” by Giuliani (Co-conspirator #1) at the January 6 rally, and alleges in paragraph 92 that Eastman (Co-conspirator #2) said that “there had been previously points in the nation’s history where violence was necessary to protect the republic” (quoting from the indictment text, not necessarily his literal words).

    I do wonder whether any of the 6 designated co-conspirators will be indicted as well.

  19. Don’t like the headline – “Trump Indicted FOR Push to Overturn Election” sounds less like the indictment’s purpose is overturning the election. Poor word choice NYT, do better.

    I still think there may be 1/6 charges to come, and likely NY criminal fraud charges for the way he values his assets – high when they are to secure loans, low when it comes time to pay taxes. And maybe additional state charges similar to GA from other states.

  20. Trump (probably) won’t have his say in court, because no competent lawyer would expose himself to charges of suborning perjury by putting Trump on the stand. Of course, there may not be any competent lawyers still willing to represent him…

  21. The main issue is going to be delays. There are plenty of perfectly valid ways for the lawyers to try to delay the cases, and it’s expected that they will attempt all of them, along with invalid methods. This really needs to be brought to trial well before the general election, so the people who plan to “vote for him anyway” have some time to decide to vote for someone else and split their votes all over the place. Additionally, if it gets to trial early enough, there is some chance of him saying stuff stupid enough outside court that he blows up the whole republican party and loses them a bunch of congressional seats. Of course he’s going to plead the 5th, but then can his televised statements at rallies during the trial be used as evidence?

  22. This trial needs to be televised so that the American people can see and hear the witnesses.
    We are either a nation built on the Rule of Law and The Constitution or we are not. THAT is what is at stake here.
    The next election comes down to whether we want a Democracy or do we want Fascism. That is the stark choice.

  23. Is “the prohibitive runner” a pun that I’m not getting or a typo for “the presumptive runner”?

  24. “I do wonder whether any of the 6 designated co-conspirators will be indicted as well.”

    They can be indicted any time…and by waiting, the prosecutor has something to inspire them to turn state’s evidence.

  25. I’m not sure why you, or anyone, thinks he’ll take the 5th. This is a man who has proved himself unable to shut his mouth, time and again. He only needs the prosecutor to provoke him, and he’ll leap to the witness stand—likely resulting in perjury charges to follow.

  26. For those who are saying that Trump will pardon himself, the problem (for T), is that two of these indictments are state, rather than federal, charges. Which POTUS has no power to pardon.

    Unless the Tango Trump strong arms state officials to get that stuff dropped. So governors will quickly acquire the power to pardon charges. Ah, to live in the New 1850s, where a US Civil War 2 might be around the corner.

  27. The tactic will be delay, delay, delay by any means necessary as he tries to run out the clock until November 5, 2024.

  28. It’s a problem. For many Republicans it will not matter who runs on their ticket. They will not vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris under any circumstances. Biden is old and looks it. Kamala Harris is unacceptable as president should Biden die while in office. There is no way to sugarcoat the absolute dislike and distrust the right has for both of them.
    Trump runs and wins. He pardons himself and we get to spend/waste a other 2 years on a failed impeachment process. A complete shit show.

  29. Fundamentally, NOTHING is going to happen.

    -Unless you hold the trial prior to the commencement of the primaries…
    -Unless you televise the trial for all to see…
    -Unless he’s convicted by a jury of his peers before he wins the Republican nomination…

    Trump will be re-elected.
    Pardon himself.
    And America will be in the shitter.

  30. @ Steve Johnson:

    “Trump runs and wins. He pardons himself and we get to spend/waste a other 2 years on a failed impeachment process.”

    Nothing will change the “minds” of MAGAt cultists. But Trump will need much more than the vote of the deranged to win the general election.

    A Trump candidacy will fire up the MAGAts, but it will fire up anti-Trump sentiment as well. People will come out in numbers, like they did in 2020. Neither Trump, not the GQP, have managed to make significant inroads among independents. By openly pushing for white supremacy and clerofascism, they have (albeit marginally) eroded their support among the more moderate cultists.

    The upcoming trials will have the same effect. Remind the electorate of Trump’s criminal conduct, and provide an opportunity to play more January 6 terrorism footage in every American home. Keep those visuals front and center throughout the 2024 campaign – even if we never get to see Trump in an orange suit.

  31. The hardcore MAGA crowd, based on the latest NYT poll, is around 35%-40% of GOP primary voters. This is enough to get him the nomination because of (a) the splintering of the rest of the field and (b) the way the GOP nomination process is designed.

    However, Justin Wolfers ran the numbers in the following way:

    ⅓ of likely Republican primary voters
    ÷ 2 parties
    ⅙ of likely primary voters
    ÷ 2 times as many people vote in the general election
    = 1-in-12 general election voters
    × ⅗ of adults vote in the general
    = 1-in-20 American adults are unshakeable supporters of TFG.

    The indictments and trial don’t have to change their opinion – just the opinions of enough people in the other 95% to change their behavior from either “Vote GOP” to “Stay home”, or from “Stay home” to “Vote Dem” (and some from “Vote GOP” to “Vote other than GOP”, but that’s not even that critical).

  32. While these are serious, I think the forthcoming Georgia state charges are even more so, and a lot cleaner in terms of getting a conviction. Don’t get me wrong; I think he can and should be convicted in all four, but there are at least not totally insane appellate issues likely in this set of federal charges that aren’t present in the more straightforward Georgia state case.

  33. Regarding the anxiety about a second term, we should certainly stay vigilant, but why ruin a beautiful day knotted up with anxiety? Dude didn’t manage to steal the LAST election, and his support is weak enough that multiple opportunists are actually crawling out of the woodwork for the presidential nomination. Of course most of them are simply angling for political appointments in a hoped-for GOP administration, but four years ago, even whispering that maybe 45’s time had passed would have been a one-way ticket to political death.

    @Derek Broughton – he may exercise his Fifth Amendment rights by declining to testify at trial at all, as is his right in a criminal proceeding against him. He likes to run his mouth off, but he doesn’t enjoy testifying under oath.

    Happily, the Fifth Amendment has nothing to do with a citizen voluntarily yapping on social media and incriminating themselves, which as you know this particular citizen can’t be stopped from doing.

  34. Since it’s been brought up already John what’s your take on the co-conspirator identities? Even the NYT and Washington Post are in on this. I damned near choked on my breakfast cereal this morning when I read that co-conspirator #5 could possibly be, wait for it, Ginni Thomas! It’s still up in the air though. I can’t wait to see who the co-conspirators actually are. If Ginni Thomas is actually a co-conspirator I’m really looking forward to seeing Clarence and all the scotus judges squirm.

  35. @Mike Stanczyk if you read Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters to America, she gives her viewpoint on who the co-conspirators are.


    and for not trying them together:

    “On The Reid Out tonight, law professor Neal Katyal suggested that the six were not indicted because the Justice Department “doesn’t want the trial of the other six to be bundled up with this and slow this down.”

  36. “Since it’s been brought up already John what’s your take on the co-conspirator identities?”

    The first four have been mentioned here in earlier comments. The news stories that I’ve read on the conspirators generally identify co-conspirator #5 as Kenneth Chesebro, which seems credible to me. See for instance this story: (That story also notes that #5 was referred to as “the gentleman”, which would rule out Ginni Thomas.)

    Nobody in the press seems to be sure about who co-conspirator #6 is (at least not enough to publish a name with definite evidence), though that could well come out as more information becomes available over the course of the prosecution.

  37. Finally. My greatest wish is that Trump and those who aided him in this assault on our government are held fully accountable.

    That said, he’s going to fight to drag this out as long as possible, after the election if he can. Hopefully, the judge continues to show zero patience with his antics.

  38. @ Mike Stanczyk:

    “If Ginni Thomas is actually a co-conspirator I’m really looking forward to seeing Clarence and all the scotus judges squirm.”

    Three so-called “SCOTUS judges” lied under oath without batting an eye, before proceeding to overturn established law based on openly partisan interpretation (inconsistent with their subsequent rulings).

    I’d be pretty surprised if anything made them squirm.

  39. Big Zaphod Beeblebrox energy from Trump; “spent two of his ten presidential years in prison for fraud”…

  40. People are right to be worried; the stakes are very high and every US election for the foreseeable future will be “the most important of our lives” and needs to be fought in that knowledge. The good fight may take years to win, but the time will pass anyway; why not use it for the best purpose?

  41. The whole thing is depressing to me. It looks like the next Presidential election we get to choose between two contemptible, incredibly corrupt geriatric, dottards, and the main issue will be which one is the most corrupt and is the most guilty and has the biggest legal issues.

    At some point in my life I would like to vote for somebody rather than trying to choose the lesser of two evils.

  42. Maybe we’re finally putting an end to this imbecile’s political career. One can hope!

  43. @ Just sayin’:

    “and the main issue will be which one is the most corrupt and is the most guilty and has the biggest legal issues”

    Bothsiderism! Just when I thought I’d never complete that Bingo card!

  44. First, yay! More indictments!

    Second, I just wish we could have a not interesting Presidential election for once.
    I don’t want to live in interesting times!
    I want boring elections between two adults who want the country to succeed, not a craven loon bent on self aggrandizement. Romney, McCain, heck, it’s enough to make me miss invader Bush (the younger, I don’t remember the elder). (Yes, I understand the importance of the outcome of Bush V Gore in our present situation.)

    So, let’s get the orange guy in prison ASAP (Club Fed is fine, just behind bars and off the socials) and get back to reality-based politics.

  45. At the risk of being hammered by John, it is interesting that “the Biden Crime Family” is bad but let’s ignore the Trump Jr, Kushner, etc. deeds. I don’t get it.

    Also of interest, before Jack Smith prosecuted war crimes, he prosecuted Mafia guys. It’s like his entire career was prepping for this moment.

    It’s also interesting that the indictments shot down the obvious defense (free speech) before it even started. Smith is really good.

  46. Everyone thank you for the information. I haven’t had the time to read the actual indictment but I doubt I would have noticed the gender specific language. After this was pointed out I’m totally surprised that this happened.

  47. I noticed some examples of defeatism in the replies above – the assumption that the GQP’s current apotheosis will triumph no matter what good people do.

    Does this sort of thing occur in RWJB threads, or is this just a liberal assumption?

    The zaftig diva, she ain’t sung yet.

  48. In answer to Just Sayin’:

    So you can perceive no difference between a normal, bog-standard Irish Democratic politician and Donald Effin’ Trump?

    I’d be willing to wager a decent sum that, you can’t find any actual evidence of the ‘incredible corruption’ of President Biden. Unlike Trump, he doesn’t trumpet his documented crimes on the evening news.

    This means that either 1) He’s not corrupt or 2) He is a Lex Luthor-stature supervillain far more capable of governing the US than the guy who couldn’t even lean back and let our world-class experts in the CDC ameliorate the Covid-19 outbreak in our nation. Do the words “bleach ” and “ultraviolet” remind you of anything?

    Sorry for venting, everyone. It’s been a long decade already.

  49. Pappenheimer:

    Did you ever watch pro wrestling before they admitted it was fake?

    Do you think there was any difference between The Iron Sheik, and The American Dream or were they just two guys on steroids manipulating tribal instincts to make a buck?

    Our politicians are barely hiding the ball, anymore. Trump is a former beloved NYC Democrat and reality star. Like a pro wrestler, he just turned heel.

    They are all incredibly corrupt manipulative liars, and they create and use dramas as an excuse to grow the bureaucracy of government, and become a little more intrusive, get a little more control, erode a little more freedom, make you dependent. You go along and agree with it because it is necessary to give them the power and ignore their corruption because they are the good guys fighting against the evil fascist Republicans or the left wing radical Democrats, or climate change, or Covid, or terrorism, or whatever the current convenient excuse happens to currently be.

    Our government and politicians long ago ceased to serve us. Now they just manipulate us and serve themselves.

  50. I don’t think I have much to add on the Trump issue. It’s just too damned depressing. But I really worry about the Ukrainian war, should Trump be president again.

    Your new profile pictures are a great improvement! Now both of you look like someone I’d like to have a beer with. Not that it’s likely to happen, with a small body of water called the Atlantic separating us.

  51. @ Just sayin’:

    “They are all incredibly corrupt manipulative liars, and they create and use dramas as an excuse to grow the bureaucracy of government, and become a little more intrusive, get a little more control, erode a little more freedom, make you dependent.”

    Specious and overly simplistic drivel, for which you offer no coherent argument.

    As usual.

    This isn’t about Biden-vs-Trump kayfabe. It’s about modern civilization taking a stand against white supremacy, clerofascism, and other movements exploiting atavistic dullards to drag society back into the unreasoning darkness of feudalism. It’s about a very powerful US political faction throwing its entire (considerable) weight – explicitly, and provably – in support of this anti-civilizational primitivism.

    Voter suppression, book burning (in the name of “freedom” that you pretend to espouse), the overt promotion of racism in schools, and attacks on women’s health are a far-reaching disease of which Trump is only one very visible symptom.

    “or climate change, or Covid, or terrorism, or whatever the current convenient excuse happens to currently be”

    I understand that we all have varying levels of risk tolerance, but if events and processes that have cost us trillions in damages and millions of unnecessary deaths are “convenient excuses” – what needs to happen for you to define something as a genuine crisis?

  52. I refer to my father as a weathervane of Trumpism, so I am much more optimistic about 2024 than many. Dad was all in Trump/MAGA/Fox News until fall 2021. Then my Mom died of COVID, and he wasn’t even allowed in the hospital, because there wasn’t enough PPE, and he’d refused to be vaccinated. I stayed with him for a few weeks, basically on suicide watch, because that was a very real scenario. Once he was through the worst of it, he cancelled his cable, gave away the TVs, unsubscribed from all political websites and newsletters, and stopped talking about anything political. He’s just silently opted out, entirely. He wants nothing to do with it. Instead of donating to Trump, he paid off all debts, and his mortgage, sold his guns, and put the proceeds in a trust. The small, southern town he lives in is nearly uninhabited, so many died of COVID. Businesses are vacant, houses have been overtaken by kudzu, the church is down to one service a week and mainly serves as a food and household goods bank, where folks drop off their excess garden produce and canning, and pick up whatever was donated by folks cleaning out the homes of the deceased. It’s sad and quiet. Yes, there’s still a core of loud and proud Trumpists, but there’s also a lot of quiet, former supporters, who will just stay home. They’re done. They can’t be counted, and they can’t be counted on by the GOP, anymore. My Dad voted Republican for 40 years, since Reagan. He’s done. He’s a widower who’s outlived three of his four children, and the only one left is a lesbian socialist. And he’s decided that’s fine.

  53. It seems certain that he will keep running for President, but there are apparently some Republicans who think they can keep him from getting the nomination.
    My dream: Trump loses the nomination by a hair, angrily forms a third party, and the right-wing vote splits, leading to a Biden landslide. Failing that, quite a few pundits think Trump will get 0 of the votes from the left-wing, almost none of the votes from the centrists, and lose a chunk of the diehard Republican votes as well, since apparently he’s lost a fair chunk of support (and quite a few of the diehards will be going to jail for January 6th, so they can’t vote); hence Biden wins by a small thread.
    Fingers crossed!

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