Is Donald Trump going to finally face criminal charges? – After many years of the former president’s opponents wishing for criminal charges for Trump, it looks like such charges are closer than ever before.
History in the Making?
According to the New York Times, the office of the Manhattan district attorney “recently signaled” that Trump could face criminal charges.
This investigation is connected to the reported hush money payments that Trump is said to have arranged for adult film star Stormy Daniels, and arrives after an investigation lasting more than five years.
Four sources told the Times that the office “recently signaled to Donald J. Trump’s lawyers that he could face criminal charges for his role in the payment of hush money to a porn star.”
Trump has been offered a chance to testify before a grand jury next week, the type of ask that often happens when an indictment is near. Doanld Trump is unlikely to agree to testify.
Should charges be brought, it would be the first-ever criminal indictment of a former president of the United States. But it might not be the last, since Trump is also being investigated by a grand jury in Georgia, in connection with his attempts to overturn the 2020 election result in that state. Trump is also facing the prospect of charges from a Special Counsel, Jack Smith, who is investigating both Trump’s role in trying to overturn the election and the Mara-a-Lago documents case.
An indictment would also possibly complicate Trump’s plans to return to the presidency, as he is beginning to to ramp up his presidential campaign for 2024. Trump said last week prior to his CPAC speech that he would remain in the race even if he’s indicted.
“Oh, absolutely, I won’t even think about leaving,” Trump told reporters at the event. He also said that, of the indictment, “probably it’ll enhance my numbers, but it’s a very bad thing for America. It’s very bad for the country.”
Trump’s team has responded to the news.
Donald Trump Responds
“The Manhattan District Attorney’s threat to indict President Trump is simply insane,” the president’s team said in a statement.
“For the past five years, the DA’s office has been on a Witch Hunt, investigating every aspect of President Trump’s life, and they’ve come up empty at every turn — and now this. The fact that after their intensive investigation the DA is even considering a new political attack is a clear exoneration of President Trump in all areas.”
The investigation goes back to the term of the previous district attorney, Cyrus Vance, Jr. The Wall Street Journal had reported, back in early 2018, that Trump, during the 2016 campaign, had arranged a $130,000 payment to Daniels, to keep her from coming forward with the story of their 2006 affair.
Michael Cohen, at the time Trump’s personal attorney and “fixer,” had admitted shortly thereafter that he had arranged the payment. Both Cohen — who was indicted, broke with Trump, and was later convicted of crimes — and Daniels later wrote books telling their versions of the story.
In early 2021, Daniels appeared on Cohen’s podcast, which entailed the two meeting each other for the first time. And Trump and Daniels later sued one another.
In February of 2022, shortly after coming into office, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg indicated that Trump would not be charged. This led to two veteran attorneys departing his office, and one of them later wrote a book about the experience. But the case was revived later last year after the office won a conviction against the Trump Organization.
The Times also reported that another portion of the case, involving possible attempts by Trump to falsify his net worth, is continuing.
Expertise and Experience:
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.