Monday Reads: Indictments Watch Edition

Good Day Sky Dancers!

I think most of the nation is waiting to see precisely which level of the Justice System will finally bring Trump to account. It’s Indictment Countdown Week!  The most ironic thing about all of this is that it seems that Republican Politicians have finally discovered a two-tiered justice system in America. As usual, it comes from Wrong-Way Pence’s take on a rich, powerful white guy finally staring down a system the rest of us face.

“The American people have a constitutional right to peacefully assemble,” Pence said, adding, “The frustration the American people feel about what they sense is a two-tiered justice system in this country, I think is well founded. But I believe that people understand that if they give voice to this – if this occurs on Tuesday, that they need to do so peaceful and in a lawful manner.”

We’re about to see a big test of is it really liberty and justice for all?  If you talk to Black Americans, women with functional reproductive systems, poor people, religious minorities, and the GLBTQ+ Community, we have one justice system, and rich old white men have another.  Ours treats us like property with a lower value than actual physical junk.

Is Tuesday really the day, and will Trumpsters strumpet themselves into an insurrectional frenzy again?

Philip Bump of the Washington Post has this analysis. “Trump’s brute-force strategy to make his indictment threat universal.”

Over the weekend, Trump declared on social media that he expected to be indicted this week by a grand jury empaneled by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. He’s been attacking Bragg for some time now, but the idea that things were coming to a head triggered a new round of scattershot protests from the former president.

At the platform he helped launch, Trump posted a lengthy, all-caps attack on Bragg, accusing the D.A. of letting murderers “walk free” and insisting that Bragg had “presided over the biggest violent crime wave” in the city’s history, which is not even close to true. But he led with his core frustration: that Bragg is a “racist, [George] Soros backed D.A.”

This “Soros-backed” claim is not a new one from Trump or others on the right. Soros, a left-wing philanthropist, is a frequent target of the right in part because of his willingness to spend to influence politics and, in some quarters, because he is Jewish. The link to Bragg is by no means direct: Soros has backed a nonprofit called Color of Change that includes a political action committee committed to electing Black candidates. Bragg, who is Black, received the group’s backing.

Bragg being Black is also why Trump accuses him of being “racist.” Trump has done this before; he has accused New York Attorney General Letitia James of being racist, as well as Fulton County, Ga., District Attorney Fani Willis. The two characteristics all of those prosecutors have in common are that they are Black and are involved in investigations into Trump.

Now we lumber into familiar territory when we’re talking about Trump. Does he actually think they are racist against him, echoing concerns about discrimination against Whites that is common among White Republicans, or is he simply being opportunistic? The answer, as it usually is, is that it’s probably a mix of both. Trump is both a driver and consumer of right-wing rhetoric, and it’s hard to disentangle what he believes from what he believes to be useful.

The effect is the same. Trump is not simply hoping that his supporters view him as a victim of an overzealous prosecutorial effort, as he hoped they might during the Russia travails. He is, instead, amplifying the idea that these Black prosecutors are coming after him because he’s White. While most Trump supporters were not likely to face a probe by the FBI’s counterintelligence infrastructure, most are White. And many of them think that Whites are targets of discrimination as often as Black or Hispanic Americans.

Trump has weaponized the notion of  “reverse racism.”  Trump is preparing his base for violence if he’s arrested–and over 50% of them are ready. Today’s GOP is what FASCISM looks like.” We’re on indictment and insurrection  (once again) watch, and law enforcement around the country knows it. Check out the poll cited in this think piece.

… Trump and a majority of the GOP base see violence as an acceptable tool to acquire and retain political power. That is the essence of fascism. As Madeline Albright stated when discussing her book “Fascism: A Warning,” “Whatever else it is, fascism involves the endorsement and use of violence to achieve political goals and stay in power.”

This also means Trump’s efforts calls to his base to commit violence if he’s arrested will alarmingly find traction in an already radicalized GOP base. And Trump knows this. Indeed, no one knows Trump’s base better than him.

That is why Trump has been preparing his base to commit violence to avenge him if he’s charged with a crime for well over a year.  In psychological terms, what Trump has been doing is called “priming,” which is defined as exposing a person to a stimulus—like words, images, etc.–that influences their behavior at a later date. In general, the person is unaware that have been guided or primed to this point. As experts note, “Priming can be used maliciously or to be manipulative.”

Trump began priming his base for such violence back in January 2022 when he told his supporters to take to the streets if any prosecutor, anywhere charges with him with a crime—not just the Manhattan District Attorney. That is when Trump told his fans at a rally in Texas: “If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protests we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere.”

In September, Trump was on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show where he again repeated this message—but even more ominously. He told Hewitt that if he’s charged with crimes, “I think you’d have problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before.”  When asked by Hewitt what he meant by “problems,” Trump responded, “I think they’d have big problems. Big problems.”

Part of Trump’s “priming” of his base to commit violence when called upon was made more persuasive by Trump’s repeated promise to pardon the Jan 6 terrorists. It’s not a coincidence that the first time Trump publicly floated the idea of pardoning these traitors was in the same speech in January 2022 where he called on supporters to engage in massive protests. That is when Trump stated, “If I run and I win, we will treat those people from January 6 fairly — we will treat them fairly.” He added, “And if it requires pardons, then we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly.”

I want to remind you that Republicans have been doing this since the Southern Strategy.  I’d also like to remind everyone that Ronald Reagan’s justice department routinely used fascist pogroms and memes.  It’s the master class in what’s going on now. Here’s a clip, and more if you follow the thread, from Frank Zappa on Cross-Fire in 1986 talking about the same playbook Republicans follow today.  Donald Trump has just up-armored it.  They bring military-style weapons to “peaceful demonstrations” now, which likely would include their MAGA congress goose-steppers too.

As far as we know, the Grand Jury in The Stormy Daniels Hush Money Case still hears from witnesses today. This is from the New York Times. “Trump Grand Jury Could Hear From Critic of Prosecution’s Star Witness. The grand jury considering the hush-money case against Mr. Trump might hear the testimony of lawyer Robert J. Costello, a critic of the ex-president’s fixer.”

A Manhattan grand jury that is expected to vote soon on whether to indict Donald J. Trump may hear testimony Monday attacking the prosecution’s star witness, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The testimony would come from a lawyer, Robert J. Costello, who would appear at the request of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, the people said. Mr. Costello was once a legal adviser to Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer, who has been a key witness for the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

Mr. Costello and Mr. Cohen had a falling out, and Mr. Costello would appear solely to undermine Mr. Cohen’s credibility, the people said.

Under New York law, a person who is expected to be indicted can request that a witness appear on his or her behalf. Mr. Trump’s lawyers have asked that Mr. Costello testify, but the final decision rests with the grand jury; it is unclear whether they have made a decision. The grand jury has been hearing evidence about the former president’s involvement in a hush money payment to a porn star.

Mr. Costello’s appearance would come soon after Mr. Cohen concluded his own grand jury testimony. If Mr. Costello testifies, there is also a chance that Mr. Cohen will be asked to return to rebut some of Mr. Costello’s assertions.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office declined to comment, as did Mr. Costello. A lawyer for Mr. Cohen, Lanny J. Davis, declined to comment.

The district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, a Democrat, is expected to seek an indictment of Mr. Trump as soon as this week. There have been several signals that charges may be imminent: The prosecutors gave Mr. Trump an opportunity to testify, a right given to people who will soon face indictment. They have now questioned nearly every major player in the hush money saga in front of the grand jury.

Still, Trump is worried.  This is from The Guardian.  It was written by Hugo Lowell. “Trump in panic mode as he braces for likely charges in Stormy Daniels case. Manhattan district attorney expected to file criminal charges against ex-president for payment to adult film star in 2016.”

Donald Trump is bracing for his most legally perilous week since he left the White House, with the Manhattan district attorney likely to bring criminal charges against him over his role in paying hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels, as he huddled this weekend to strategize his legal and political responses.

The former US president has posted in all-caps on his Truth Social platform that he expected to be “ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK” and called for his supporters to engage in protests – an ominous echo of his tweets urging protests in the lead-up to the January 6 US Capitol attack.

Trump’s post was nothing more than guesswork about when Alvin Bragg might bring charges, sources close to Trump said, after he saw media reporting that the district attorney’s office had contacted the US Secret Service about security in the event of an indictment.

The grand jury in New York hearing evidence in the resurrected 2016 hush money case is now expected to hear from one more witness on Monday, making it unlikely that an arrest would come the following day because it could take additional hours to draft charging papers.

Have Trumpsters responded to these invitations to an insurrection as much as the last one?  The AP reports “Trump’s call for protests gets muted reaction by supporters.”

Former President Donald Trump’s calls for protests ahead of his anticipated indictment in New York have generated mostly muted reactions from supporters, with even some of his most ardent loyalists dismissing the idea as a waste of time or a law enforcement trap.

The ambivalence raises questions about whether Trump, though a leading Republican contender in the 2024 presidential race who retains a devoted following, still has the power to mobilize far-right supporters the way he did more than two years ago before the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. It also suggests that the hundreds of arrests that followed the Capitol riot, not to mention the convictions and long prison sentences, may have dampened the desire for repeat mass unrest.

Still, law enforcement in New York is continuing to closely monitor online chatter warning of protests and violence if Trump is arrested, with threats varying in specificity and credibility, four officials told The Associated Press. Mainly posted online and in chat groups, the messages have included calls for armed protesters to block law enforcement officers and attempt to stop any potential arrest, the officials said.

Around the time the Manhattan courthouse complex opened Monday morning, a New York Police Department truck began dropping off dozens of portable metal barricades that could be used to block off streets or sidewalks.

Meanwhile, down in Georgia …

Here’s the link: “BREAKING: Trump’s lawyers move to quash Ga. special grand jury report.”

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump on Monday moved to quash the final report of the special purpose grand jury that is recommending indictments for those who meddled with Georgia’s 2020 presidential election.

The court filing also seeks to prevent the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office from using any evidence derived from the special grand jury investigation, and it seeks to recuse the DA’s office from further pursuing the case.

“The whole world has watched the process of the (special purpose grand jury) unfold and what they have witnessed was a process that was confusing, flawed and, at times, unconstitutional,” said the 51-page filing, which includes 433 more pages of exhibits. “Given the scrutiny and gravity of the investigation and those individuals involved — namely, the movant President Donald J. Trump, this process should have been handled correctly, fairly and with deference to the law and the highest ethical standards.”

The motion requests that any evidence derived from the special grand jury report be “suppressed as unconstitutionally derived and any prosecuting body be prevented from its use.”

Trump’s lawyers are also asking for a hearing on the motion and that it be heard by Chief Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville or another Superior Court judge, not Judge Robert McBurney who presided over the special grand jury probe. McBurney, the filing argued, violated the rights of parties impacted by the investigation.

The motion takes aim at public comments made by special grand jury forewoman Emily Kohrs as well as five other grand jurors who recently sat down for an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.The five jurors spoke on the condition of not being named because of concerns about their safety and privacy.

Well, they certainly can try.  It’s such a Trump stall tactic that you’d think any judge would just snort and say “move along, nothing to see here.”

So, stay tuned. It should be an exciting week!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

It seems there’s a Warren Zevon song for everything!

An icy wind burns and scarsRushes in like a fallen starThrough the narrow space between these barsLooking down on Prison Grove

16 Comments on “Monday Reads: Indictments Watch Edition”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Have a good week! I’m pretty excited about seeing the mugshot!!

  2. bostonboomer says:

    I just hope something really happens this week.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Interesting thread. More on Twitter. I didn’t realize they had the option not to hear from Costello. He will just badmouth Cohen.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    • bostonboomer says:

      • bostonboomer says:

        • dakinikat says:

          Whatever keeps them from fomenting another insurrection is fine by me! I’m pretty sure the NYPD won’t tolerate window smashing or anything like that.

      • NW Luna says:

        7 RSVPs.

  5. MsMass says:

    Arrest him, arrest him, arrest him! What joy, what glee, what bliss!
    His minions better get crushed, too.

  6. He’s holding a rally at the Waco airport this coming Saturday. I hope he can’t attend.

  7. NW Luna says:

  8. dakinikat says:

    From jj

    I hope you can see that cartoon from Luckovich

  9. dakinikat says:

    I love that so many prosecutors and central players in these lawsuits are women!!! Pussy is surely grabbing back!!