199 Comments

I am a retired 74 -year-old teacher and I have believed in our three branches of our government for most of my life. I cannot give up my faith in the American system over Trump's disgusting behavior. It may be idealistic, but I will hold true to the judicial system at work in this current criminal trial...with fervent prayers to go along with that belief. I am not ready to give up!

Expand full comment

We need to lock him and all of his fascist MAGAt supporters up to save our precious democracy!

Expand full comment

There's at least two of us Christine.

I'm feeling better already !

Expand full comment

He will disrupt no matter what the outcome! I fear for this country. And I am your age too.

Expand full comment

R'Amen

Expand full comment
Apr 20Liked by Steven Beschloss

I think he will be found guilty. I don't know that it will result in jail time, though a sentence to jail would be appropriate AND helpful to the electorate this fall. I do not think he escapes accountability here and I think it sets the stage for his remaining trials. I do not believe he has a snowballs chance of being elected this fall, so expect the coming year to be filled with the more serious criminal trials, despite Judge Cannon's best efforts, I think that trial is a slam dunk and also carries a huge sentence. I think that by the end of 2025, he will have been sentenced to what will amount to life in prison. I find that appropriate. There will be appeals but he's guilty and I don't think he prevails.

Following, or even during, his next trials I expect Jack Smith to indict the remainder of people who conspired with him and I see their fates mirroring his - that part will go on for some time. I do think the judicial system will hold up. I think the Supreme Court will NOT grant him unlimited and perpetual immunity, I think they took that case only to put an end to that idea forever. If they did, there would be nothing preventing Joe Biden from doing what Trump tried to which is ridiculous on its face. I'm looking forward to these outcomes very much. As they mean our republic still stands as a beacon of freedom in which the law applies to all of equally.

Expand full comment

You have a lot more faith in our judicial system than I do. The Taliban Supreme Court should never have taken up the immunity case. Why did they? Why not let it stand? I think this court is corrupted. I think billionaires have bought it and with no real ethics laws or consequences they are free to do whatever their corporate overlords say to do. And these billionaires want TFG back in office.

They want their tax breaks.

Also, did you read about the latest arguments in from of this court? They are clearly going to decide against the government on January 6th interference.

What does that do to TFG’s cases? What does that do to all those convicted and serving time?

Nope I do not trust them and don’t be surprised if it all goes down the tubes.

Expand full comment

I think they did because he's claimed it in all of his trials, the DC appellate court is just one, I think they felt they needed to put their stamp on it for all federal courts which will limit his ability to appeal, and delay, those trials as he wants to. It's a question they think they need to answer and if they were to grant it, well, it would apply to Biden too. Trump's 2025 plan makes them irrelevant and I don't think they want to see the end of our judicial system no matter their politics.

Expand full comment

His trials are already delayed, (other than the NY one) thanks to their foot dragging. I doubt any of the other 3 will commence before the election. So much for the peoples right to know.

I hope you are right and I am wrong but this court has shown over and over their bias.

Expand full comment
founding

Cannon recently has been seemingly agreeable to start her trial and to deny various escapes proposed by the two accomplices as well as by the defendant. I think it is looking more possible that his trial for concealing national security documents could start early this summer? Maybe she is feeling the heat from Smith and has decided she is vulnerable to recusal by the 11th Circuit and doesn’t want to risk it for a guy who is not going to be re-elected anyway? If these suppositions are correct, that trial on top of this one in NY (and the Supremes denying immunity) will sink his ship big time by Election Day?

Expand full comment

I have no trust nor confidence in Judge Cannon's abilities to hold trump accountable.

Expand full comment

Lordy I hope you’re right. Cannon has been overturned twice by the appeals court. I agree, it’s more likely that she was afraid of being booted off. Jack Smith was winding up for that. And unfortunately I wouldn’t bet yet on Biden winning. JFK jr is siphoning votes off from Biden and is being backed by billionaire Trumpers.

I still think she’s either in over her head or Federalist maga who’ll end up dismissing these charges.

At this juncture, nothing would surprise me.

Expand full comment

Apologies in advance. Long message.

Twenty years ago Americans had the highest confidence in their national government of people in any g7 country. Today they have the lowest.

And, here is just one of the many vast unconscionable reasons why we are feeling vulnerable and betrayed by our government.

In the hallowed halls of American justice, where the scales should swing with swift and impartial precision, we find ourselves embroiled in a judicial charade that chills the spine of our national consciousness. This is no ordinary legal drama; it is a travesty unfolding under the watch of Judge Aileen Cannon, whose handling of the case involving classified documents taken by former President Donald Trump has mutated into a grotesque spectacle of delay and doubt.

From the moment the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago in August 2022, unearthing a trove of national secrets stashed away as if they were mere keepsakes of a presidency past, the course of justice has been anything but swift. Here we stand, deep into 2024, with the proceedings dragging on interminably. Each passing month since those documents first saw the light of day has been marred by contentious legal back-and-forths, slow-walked decisions, and a judge whose actions seem to stretch the boundaries of reasonable judicial pacing.

Judge Cannon's appointment to the case, made by the very individual at its center, casts a long shadow over her decisions—decisions that have often been overturned by higher courts, highlighting a pattern of judicial missteps and a troubling overreach. Her choice to close jury selection to the public, a fundamental violation of the Sixth Amendment, is a striking blow to the transparency required in such a consequential trial. It reeks not of justice, but of a courtroom cloaked in secrecy and susceptible to the whims of political influence.

The pace at which this case has been handled is a mockery of justice. The appointment of a special master to review the documents, an extraordinary measure, was nothing more than a stalling tactic—a move later struck down by an appellate court as an unnecessary delay. This glacial process does more than just frustrate the public; it undermines the very pillars of our legal system, eroding trust and confidence in the institutions meant to serve the bedrock of democracy.

The ramifications of this judicial lethargy are profound. With every day that passes, the critical issues at stake—national security, the sanctity of our classified intelligence—are left dangling in a limbo of legal indecision. The world watches as America’s courtroom becomes a stage for political theater, where the stakes are the integrity of our national defenses and the accountability of those who lead us.

This isn’t just a trial; it’s a litmus test for our judiciary's independence and our collective resolve to uphold the principles of transparency and accountability, even when—especially when—they are inconvenient to those in power. The handling of this case by Judge Cannon is nothing short of a judicial disgrace, a slow-motion unraveling of the respect and trust that the American public should be able to place in their legal system.

As this charade continues to unfold, we must demand more.

But, we have and who has heard our cries and answered?

We must demand that our courts act with the efficiency and clarity worthy of the republic they serve. Anything less is a disservice to the principles upon which this country was founded and a grave threat to our national security.

We have and who has heard our cries and answered?

This trial should have been a straightforward affirmation of American justice. Instead, it has turned into a dismal exhibition of how justice, when entangled with politics and inefficiency, can become distorted and delayed to the detriment of all.

I might be entirely off base, but I unequivocally squarely place the blame on Robert Mueller and Merrick Garland for their failure to recognize and seize their crucial roles in dismantling the Trump administration’s treason at the start. If my perspective is misguided, I’m open to being corrected.

Expand full comment

I agree with all of that but I would also add that the highest of stakes - the possibility of the Combover King regaining the powers of the American Presidency - could have been avoided all together if Senate Republicans had shown even a hint of respect for the American Experiment by convicting him at impeachment on his way out the door. Trump is the bullet and they are the ones playing Russian roulette with our country! They just can’t stop spinning that chamber! They partnered with him no matter how low he went. They are unrepentant, unreformed and pathetic.

Expand full comment

Hi Gene- have you been listening to the Taliban SC hearing on immunity?

I am.

Still think they’re going to rule against TFG?

This is THE most corrupt court in history.

Vote blue and put some rules in place to limit these fools terms.

Expand full comment

I agree with you but I am still a little ambivalent about the Supreme Court. I think they are smart enough to know what direction their decision should go. They know the consequences of a decision that could..will be irreversible for generations. Nevermind that Trump wants full immunity, even partial immunity is against the Constitution, which btw, does not mention partial immunity, it says we are all equal under the law. Do the Supreme Judges want America to be Russia, or any other dictatorial government in Africa or South America?? I do not think so.

Expand full comment

What has this to do with the criminal trial?

Expand full comment

I’m with you, Lynn!

Expand full comment
Apr 20Liked by Steven Beschloss

BRAVO ty for your writing! Marsha

Expand full comment

I pray you are correct 👍🏻

Expand full comment

I hope so. FWIW I agree he has no chance in November. Of course I felt the same in 2016...

Expand full comment

I SO hope you are right!

Expand full comment

I hope you are right Gene. Particularly about Jack Smith pursuing charges against the dozens of currently unindicted (but clear) co-conspirators.

We failed to have proper criminal consequences for most of the congresspeople who were paid to disseminate pro-Germany and isolationist propaganda leading up to and during WWII, and I think it created the wrong impression that all these people are above the law.

Expand full comment

Hello Gene, no need for me to chime in here, you said everything I would have offered. I believe what you say is how it is going to come down.

Expand full comment
Apr 20Liked by Steven Beschloss

I would very much like to believe that a fair trial and a just verdict will occur. I am concerned that jurors may have misrepresented their ability to render an impartial verdict. I am concerned about the media circus in support of the defendant. I am concerned about threats against every person and their families trying to hold this disreputable man accountable.

Expand full comment

I'm concerned that Jesse Waters hasn't found his butt in the pokey, for jury tampering. Years of weak deterrence has done great damage to our legal system, leading up to Trump. Trump, Putin and a corrupt GOP have been working over our legal system for decades & indoctrinating law school students with right wing libertarian billionaire bribery BS.

Expand full comment
Apr 20Liked by Steven Beschloss

Beautiful setting of the scene, Steven. I think the defendant simply isn’t capable of sitting still, shutting up, and avoiding glares and gestures. The evidence is certain to be overwhelming, the judge is seasoned and much admired, and the jury was carefully vetted. I predict he will end up being confined to a small room and watching his now-virtually-inevitable demise on closed-circuit television.

Expand full comment
author

Thank you for sharing your insights, John.

Expand full comment

We all know that he is guilty of the cover up payments. I'm not sure of the prosecutions ability to convince the jury why he did it. Any reasonable person can see that he knew it would cost him the election of 2016. They will try to sell the jury that he was just embarrassed. In reality we know Trump is to much of a narcissist to be embarrassed. Unfortunately, to many people don't get their news from reputable sources and worship him. I just hope those are not the people on the jury. It only takes one to hang the jury.

Expand full comment

Since he is incapable of embarrassment, I guess they’ll have to argue that he was afraid of Melania. Hopefully, that requires public disclosure of their pre—nup!

Expand full comment

…which would be a huge relief to Trump. Huge.

Expand full comment

It’s interesting that we all only think of 2 possible outcomes with this trial: GUILY or HUNG JURY. I don’t read any any anti-social media but, I’d bet there are basically no trumpsters out there either anticipating. or even really holding out hope for, an acquittal.

Expand full comment

I think this trial is the one that could be most personally damaging to Trump and his beloved brand. He is going to be exposed as a two bit bully from Queens, never accepted into NY society regardless of how much money he claimed to have, never able to make an honest dollar, raised by parents who taught him that the rules didn't apply to a Trump. And such a slovenly, disgusting individual that he had to pay for sex.

Expand full comment

He doesn't pay for sex. Women are paid to shut up about predatory sexual encounters with him. Truth is what he fears the most because it is his kryptonite. Justice demands that truth and consequences will prevail.

Expand full comment

“…..had to pay for LYING ABOUT SEX TO DECEIVE THE VOTERS OF NY AND THE UNITED STATES”.

Expand full comment

That's the proximate effect in this case, but his fragile macho ego can't bear the reality that this trial is going to expose that he has always had to pay for it including Stormy and Karen, but also Ivana, Marla and Melanoma, Russian hookers, and all the rest. And when he couldn't pay, he resorted to sexual assault. He's a pig of the first degree.

Expand full comment

I agree wholeheartedly. Every touch that man has ever experienced has been purchased. Some purchases were single transactions and others were carefully specified in long term contracts.

Expand full comment
Apr 20·edited Apr 20

I think my opinion about guilt or innocence is largely irrelevant.

I do believe that:

1 - the Judicial System is being tested to an extent never before seen. Fear of reprisal is largely real. Yet, a belief in the rule of law can ultimately provide support to act on the concept: "no one is above the law". What remains to be seen is if the judiciary, the public and the cult that follows TFG decides whether or not the rule of equal justice is worth fighting for.

2 - a malignant narcissistic sociopath will do everything in their power to muck up the proceedings because they inherently have no concept of right or wrong.

The next year will be incredibly messy and the outcome is not a foregone conclusion. Time will tell.

Expand full comment

This trial, without political commentary, but with procedural commentary, should be a civics lesson to the public and all prospective voters.

Expand full comment
author

Should be.

Expand full comment
Apr 20Liked by Steven Beschloss

The judicial system will have to win otherwise, the rule of law will lose its impact as it is not equally applied to all and seems vulnerable to political pressure and public manipulation......

Expand full comment
founding

He shouldn't be allowed to muck up the gears. He should be stopped quickly and definitely by the judge at every turn. Stay the course for the sake of fairness, accountability, and therefore, justice.

Expand full comment

I have a question. If he is found guilty in any of the trials and is given a jail sentence, why, just because he is a former president, does he “have” to have secret service accompany him? Shouldn’t that privilege be forfeited as a convicted….whatever? 😡

Expand full comment
author
Apr 20·edited Apr 20Author

There is Congressional effort underway to remove Secret Service protection If sentenced to jail—turning the responsibility for protection to the prison system.

Expand full comment
Apr 20Liked by Steven Beschloss

Thank you. Good! I’m slightly optimistic that he will be brought to justice. We will all have to be patient and wait for it, unfortunately, and we all know, anything can happen with the humpty dumpster fire, but I HAVE to be optimistic at this point..

Expand full comment

Not too concerned with what he says when he steps outside. After a while he’ll sound like a broken record stuck in the same track. I’m counting more on what the jurors hear inside.

Expand full comment

I think I agree with that in this specific case, primarily because of his lack of willingness to understand, or be involved in, critical national security details, and perhaps also his perceived ability to retain, and/or communicate them to others is likely hampered.

What if we should we find ourselves with another corrupted POTUS in the future who is not so inclined ( or is it declined?).

It is not far-fetched to see bad international players planting moles in the prison system as fellow inmates, etc. to extract critical national, or allied, security information from someone incarcerated and without the normal security protocols and witnesses?

An unimaginable scenario a decade ago.

Expand full comment

I saw that Bennie Thompson introduced that to Homeland Security, I believe. So badly needed because why should we be paying for Secret Service to protect a criminal?

Expand full comment

Thank you. Which prisons would be equipped to handle his incarceration?

Expand full comment

Secret Service protection should be given the jurors and their families and employers.

Expand full comment
Apr 21Liked by Steven Beschloss

The Judiciary has won. The system is working.

He is a defendant whose trial starts Monday. He is an American citizen granted his day in court, where he will exercise his right to defend himself. He will be heard and, ultimately, judged by a jury of his peers.

I suspect he won't be locked up. Regardless of what I think of him, I am an American whose loyalty is to our system of government.

I am the defiant citizen who grants his right to prove he is innocent.

I will support the Judge and jury with grace for they will decide and sentence him on my behalf, regardless of whether it's what I wish or hope for.

May the Trump brand become nomenclature for an American obstructionist who rejects liberty, justice and the American cause.

Expand full comment

Well said Rose Anne!

Expand full comment

Yes, the word Trump will eventually take on a meaning, as the name “Benedict Arnold” has. Not everyone knows the details of what Arnold did but we all know he was a traitor. Future generations will know a “Trump” to be one who never tells any truth, anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances even to the point of raining down death on his fellow citizens.

Expand full comment

As an optimist, I am happy that there was not the expected hassle in seating a jury. Why should we be surprised? This is occurring in Manhattan, the actual center of the universe (and I am from East Tennessee, where he probably would have liked to have the trial,. It would be difficult to get a fair and unbiased jury here. The jury there is pulled from Manhattan where the education level is high and public awareness of current events is much higher than East Tennessee. NYC is probably one of the few places where he could get a fair trial, and hopefully it will encourage the other trials to move forward once this one is completed, which I believe will end up in convictions on most of the charges filed and some vindication of the rule of law. Unfortunately, this will not help me much here or if I lived in Texas, or Alabama, or Mississippi or wherever in red states. This will take removing the cult leader and the reestablishment of the rule of law everywhere.

Expand full comment

I’m a native Memphis Tennessean and I agree with you 100%

Expand full comment

So many have said that this is the weakest case, but remember that Cohen already spent a YEAR in jail for the same crime. In a way, I think a jail sentence for this “lesser” crime is chipping away at the strangely held belief that he can’t be incarcerated and that once one judge does it, the other people waiting to have a turn will more easily turn the key. What starts with a few days in jail could easily become years. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Expand full comment

2 things

1. The judge must order the jury to be sequestered regardless of the delay it may cause.

Ordinary people's lives and those of their families must be protected at all costs.

2. We already know from numerous witnesses that trump lost control of his bowels a long time ago from excessive illegal drug use. He is still a drug addict but obtains his drugs legally.

Expand full comment
Apr 20·edited Apr 20

I beg to differ on the legal drugs comment- Dr Ronny (and I’m assuming also his Dr buddies) breaks the DEA (and CDC) prescribing laws without consequence. It’s only actual doctors prescribing for actual medical conditions that get locked up now- like 82/yo pain practitioner Dr. Bauer.

Apparently the DEA is too lazy to go after the doctors of those “who have” and the illicit fentanyl market- so they spend their time arresting/prosecuting doctors who treat those of us who “have not”.

I know this is irrelevant to Trumps trial- but does speak to his lifelong entitlement. That I truly hope ends soon.

Expand full comment

Agreed

I only meant that he's not getting them off the street the way he has in the past.

Expand full comment

Any attempt to restore faith in the judicial system will have to entail bringing Thomas and Alito to account. A fair and impartial impeachment hearing of Thomas’ corruption would do a lot to show the system cares about its integrity. A national repudiation of Dobbs would also give us hope that our laws reflect the good of the people over one man’s historical, ethical and legal fantasies. As for this particular case, whatever the outcome I hope future defendants who aren’t rich and political will be afforded the same careful consideration of their rights and freedom.

Expand full comment

Before Clarence’s trial starts, I would like to see a law enacted that invalidates the prior votes of all impeached justices (on cases they heard during their truncated tenures).

Expand full comment

The bubble of bluster begins to burst. The emperor wears no clothes. The old fraud behind the curtain bumbles around to hide still. (At least the old fraud in OZ had a kindly side.) Americans have always had a soft spot for rogues, but we used to be better about rejecting bullies. Maybe we can be better again. We are being offered the chance.

Expand full comment

My fear is that even if he is found guilty, there will be appeal after appeal until after November and if, hoping not,he wins, he will avoid sentencing and the consequences of this, among many of his crimes. It is not the system, it is his crass evilness.

Expand full comment

Crass evilness - that is a perfect description of he and his cult.

Expand full comment
Apr 20Liked by Steven Beschloss

I'm hopeful, but not overconfident.

Expand full comment

Bill Browder's books describe the Russian judicial system. Russian citizens expect to be treated fairly in their courts, unless the opponent is a member of the Putin parasite/oligarchy machine. Then every judge will roll over for whatever Putin demands. (The alternative is a long fall from a high window.) The Russian culture tends to be nihilistic. The freedoms and rights of the citizens are subject to the whims of the Top Leader in Power. And they mainly accept that.

America is different. Our culture is based on individual freedom, mutual respect, rule of law, courtesy, manners and legal fairness (that's the goal, anyway). Can Trump succeed in removing the individual freedoms and justice from 330 million Americans for his personal benefit? Like his idol Putin has? He's trying. But that's a tough ask. He has hundreds of corrupt MAGA judges who will kowtow to him. But he will never have them all.

Expand full comment
Apr 20Liked by Steven Beschloss

Steven, first of all, allow me to thank you again for speaking at our Maricopa County Dems event. So motivating and SANE! It was great to meet you in person…

…as for your question which I trust hit you in a moment of enlightenment as you awoke this morning ;) … I was not very hopeful in the E. Jean Carroll case, so I was pleasantly surprised that it went as well as it did. So, I am (mostly) hopeful for the judicial system to hold up through this as well. But, like many have said, I am worried for the jurors and their families. Tr*mp is a mob boss through and through and has ways to get to them. I could never be brave enough to be on that jury (not to mention having to endure the smell!).

Mostly, I cannot wait for the day, and I hope it’s still in my lifetime, when we are no longer talking about him and his awfulness daily, except to look back and say it was a dark period in our nation’s history and we shall never return to it again!

Expand full comment
author

Thanks, Suzanne. And you’re right that I waited until Saturday morning until I was sure this was the right topic. 😉

Expand full comment

It is too early to know whether the prosecution will prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. But it is not too early for me to say that if Trump is found guilty in any of the four trials, he will not go to jail. However, he can be confined to house arrest for a long time, years if necessary, with a bunch of conditions.

Expand full comment

Marc, Could you explain your thoughts on incarceration?

Expand full comment

Sure. I don’t believe a judge will put Trump in a jail if there is an alternative method of confinement. I also think there would be huge logistical and other issues housing an ex-President and his Secret Service detail in a State or Federal prison.

Expand full comment

Marc, I am a pest but you are my go-to guy. That's an interesting point. Do you think that considerations about logistics and security for an ex-President and their Secret Service detail could significantly influence the decision-making process regarding confinement? Also, what alternative methods of confinement do you foresee as possible in such a scenario?

Expand full comment

Yesterday Congressman Thompson introduced a bill to take away secret service protection for someone in jail. But this won’t pass unless a Couple of GOP Congressmen vote for it and Johnson brings the bill to the floor.

Expand full comment

You are not a pest! I do think the logistics issues involved in jailing an ex-President would influence a judge’s decision regarding confinement. If convicted and the conviction is affirmed on appeal, I could see him being confined to Mar a Lago or an apartment or house somewhere, unable to leave for the term of the sentence. He might even be required to purchase an abode for the confinement. This probably has never been done but with an ex-President it is a unique situation.

I also believe most judges would not want to throw Trump in a jail cell.

This is all guesswork on my part, largely based on what I might do if I were the sentencing judge.

Expand full comment

Or perhaps the State or Federal government could provide suitable quarters (plain and simple, not opulent) for confinement and housing Secret Service.

Expand full comment

I don't know what to expect from the outcome of this trial. What I have come to believe, and I never thought that I would get to this point in my life, is that our corruption runs so deep, that dishonesty in the support of self-interest is so prevalent (see our congress, for one), that right wing forces have been so successful over the past thirty years in infecting our voting rights and determining elections from local to state to national, that our Supreme Court has been hijacked, that corporations and big business will continue to thrive on the backs of the middle and lower classes with impunity - That with or without Donald Trump such extraordinary damage has been done to our democracy that I'm not sure it can ever be reversed.

Expand full comment
Apr 20Liked by Steven Beschloss

I’ve learned with Trump to hope for the best and expect the worst. He has a chance to beat this in a jury trial, but anything which confines, restrains, frustrates him for two to three weeks is welcome.

The documents case is the one where I see no way out for him except to get re-elected. I’m rooting for the justice system, but is it indeed the best system money can buy?

Expand full comment
Apr 20Liked by Steven Beschloss

I too am hopeful.

Expand full comment

So many good comments here, most of us believing in the sometimes flawed, but hopefully, ultimately, will come out on top and convict this vile person. Allowing T a bully pulpit before, during, and after every session is definitely not helpful. But truly, except for the cult members, who are way outnumbered by lawful minded citizans, we all feel (or smell) the crap spewing forth. BUT, will we VOTE in December. Will we see that there is no, "Oh, my one vote won't matter..." Honestly I hope he is in jail or prison by then, but he has managed to delay everything, and if any of this goes to SCOTUS, he will probably win #teflondon. Unless they want to show, for once, they are not as corrupt as we all think they are.

The other main issue here is the mainstream media. STOP CALLING THIS A HUSH MONEY TRIAL!! This is a trial about someone illegally using campaign funds to sway people's votes his way. Call it what it is. Oh, and boycott FOX News (it's hard to even use that term when talking about FOX).

Expand full comment

Yes- Fox “news” although when they regularly get into trouble- they argue that they’re really “just entertainment”- but I guess big $$$ lets you claim to be anything you want.

We need to help all our friends & families VOTE.

I, for one, don’t want to be living in a concentration camp slaving away for the 1%….

Expand full comment

woops,should be November, not December...

Expand full comment
Apr 20·edited Apr 21

I think the question is not so much whether the system ‘can’ hold as ‘will it hold.’ I believe it can and will. We are viewing this trial and the orange person through a microscope with our own anxieties. When this is put in context he is viewed as a defendant and fairly ordinary. His followers are not responding to his calls for protest. (Hilariously they are so conditioned to believe conspiracies even his calls to show up are viewed as law enforcement traps). Anyone who goes up against the rich and powerful (I’m talking local and state level); who serves on a jury for, or brings a high profile case has their lives disrupted, likely threatened and need courage to persevere. Donnie is not original in any way.

I speak not from lack of empathy or to minimize the threats & anxiety but from my own experiences and observations. Often there are no resources, unsympathetic judges and services are not responsive. It is not unusual for homicide cases to drag on for years; their associates to play the same game Donnie does. The same with lesser cases. Yet Donnie has lost case after case - including a jury verdict convicting 2 of his companies on 7 tax fraud felonies each.

NY is much better suited to deal with his case than what some of us might see closer to home. There are resources to protect the jury. There is always a chance of something going wrong. A ‘bad’ juror, or bad actors but I feel like the jurors who were seated will settle in and do their job. They already went through a hard process & the court will put Donnie on a leash. By next week jurors will be acclimated.

Donnie’s notoriety cuts both ways - yes, it triggers more certain media enabling attention but it also highlights his baggage & pattern of behavior. He caused information on witnesses to be withheld from him - and initially his attorneys - because the prosecutor and judge did not believe his attorneys could guarantee they controlled Donnie’s behavior. They didn’t see that coming. Juries don’t respond well to defendants who want the benefit of the doubt but try to intimidate them. The judge has already called out some of Donnie’s actions and I expect the record for his Tue rulings will be plentiful.

Expand full comment

Thank you!!

IMHO mainstream media works very hard to stomp on our anxiety buttons- apparently so we stay tuned to them every second??? Or click on their internet “explanations”?

Some days the hyperbole-let’s call it that-makes my head explode. Remember MSNBC’s “probably more than six weeks just to pick the jury!!” No? Don’t remember? I’m quite sure they count on you not remembering so they can wind you up for the next round of anxiety promotion. This can’t be good for humans anywhere.

Expand full comment
Apr 21·edited Apr 21

I’m sure being good for humans isn’t in the calculation. Sometimes I wonder how much is their own anxiety. OTOH, the news biz has become a lot like social media. SM research says negative emotions like fear and anger gain more attention so the platforms set their algorithms accordingly. I worry the public will become numb & ignore it all.

Yes, I remember. There also was a legal analyst who said it should begin going faster because so many people removed themselves quickly from the process. No one knew because there are too many variables. They’d do better to say so.

During many hours of training; work with police, courts, victims, advocates, etc. and “exposure” during my life - I learned the law & ‘system’ do not work like people wish or imagine. Partly because we are driven by emotion so often it is for good reason. Other times it is ponderous or nefarious.

Not long before I retired, my manager’s sister was found after a fire. She had been murdered before the fire. The killer got the case postponed by doing loony things. He was a ne’er do well. Few people realized his trial didn’t begin until 4 yrs after the crime. Our local judges are rarely mentioned by name in the media. They are frequently threatened. Depending on who is on trial jurors can take flack also.

Expand full comment

Ann, I agree that “Donnie is not original in any way.” I often describe him with “imagine PT Barnum and Archie Bunker had a baby.”

Expand full comment

It is my fervent trust, hope, prayer that this trial and this Judge will hold trump accountable to the rules, responsibility, accountability, and laws to which every other citizen answers to.

Expand full comment

I am prepared for the worst. Trump as President again. However, I believe that it is entirely up to us, the electorate to decide his fate. The courts, thanks to Trump's endless supply of funds and total lack of shame, have been hamstrung by employing the Roy Cohn playbook--delay and deflect blame. This is precisely how Trump has worn down people who sued him in the past. First, declare the person or business he stiffed incompetent, second, delay and deflect. No average construction firm or supplier of pianos to Trump's casinos could afford to go the distance. WE must vote for sanity and not a for three-year-old amoral child.

Expand full comment

My worst fear is that the jurors might feel the pressure of serving in this trial for fear that their identity will be revealed and hence their life and families. After having a weekend to review and absorb what their expected role is, I would not be surprised if a few of them decide that they’re not up to the task at hand and ask to be excused from serving due to emotional duress. I would have much preferred the judge to act proactively to secure their identity by having them serve anonymously.

Expand full comment

The jurors I have served with have worked hard at being fair and conscious of their responsibility. I trust this one will do the same. As for ol' noddy... probably depends on how much Valium he is persuaded to take, if he will be able to maintain any decorum.

Expand full comment
Apr 20Liked by Steven Beschloss

Of course I am cheering loudly for equal justice, but this small detail (along with a lot of other things, but that’s beside the point) worries me. Did you see the list of what news sources the various jurors access?

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/19/nyregion/trump-trial-jury-news.html

Look at Juror #2. The only two “news” sources this person uses is Truth Social (better known as Lies Sociopathic) and X (formerly known as Twitter). Seriously?

The issue is, the defense probably knows they’re toast going into this, but if they can get a hung jury based on a single hold-out then that delays the entire (re-)trial until after the November election—in other words, exactly what TFG wants.

I don’t know the details of the prosecution’s letting this one through, but I’m counting on their due diligence, for sure. Fingers crossed.

Expand full comment

It IS scary! I am less worried about a Truth Social user being unable to receive and understand information that, to them, is brand new and at odds with their prior perspective than I am about the social pressure bearing down on that juror. Anyone who uses Truth Social as their main source of “news” probably lives in a bubble where everyone they know is a trumpster. Concern about being abandoned and even hated by your friends and family if they find out that you were on the jury that convicted the Combover King would be VERY hard to disregard. The opportunity to become a bona fide hero to them might be irresistible.

Expand full comment

Have you been on a jury in a criminal case? There are very strong forces at work even with a deliberately self-centered, myopic, juror. Being in that crucible of 12, a holdout needs more than just a limited world view to grind the proceedings to a halt. Time will tell.

Expand full comment

Just as trump claimed his 2020 attempt was rigged before the results were in, so, too, is he claiming this trial is rigged before it has even really started. It is hard to discern what 12 people will believe and decide. For sure, though they assure the judge they can be impartial, it is impossible for any one, probably world wide, to have no feeling for or against trump and his antics. We do know that the majority of the jurors are educated, have responsible jobs, and lo and behold, some even read newspapers. I think that the reporters, media following trump's every move will, now, work in our favor, for they will run all over each other trying to get the scoop first on what is happening in the courtroom. His followers cannot but hear real facts.

Jury members cannot be faulted for fearing trump retribution carried out by his apostles (considering he is their Savior ! ). If one of them is so indoctrinated and crazy as to set himself on fire across from the courthouse, imagine the hell they could cause a juror. I would not put it past him to have each one followed when they leave. I do not put any vile doing past him.. As for his leaving, I wish the court would rule his departure each day be by a back door, side door, or crawling out a window.

I doubt the fact that he had Stormy relations will have much impact. So many men are guilty of illicit affairs, even presidents going back to Jefferson. Instead of always calling it the hush money trial, the real crime is the illegal maneuvers made by trump through Cohen to hide the payments by reporting them as legal, business expenses. That Cohen admitted and served time will have an impact when he testifies. Judge Engoran has found trump guilty of defrauding banks and insurance companies. Daniels and McDougal will testify. Everyone knows the outcome of the E.Jean Carroll case. The evidence is against him. Won't this self proclaimed really rich billionaire's knickers be tied in a knot if he is brought down over a mere $280,000 !!!

Can a convicted person run for president-yes if he meets the 3 Constitutional requirements. No if found guilty of insurrection-state attempts at this have failed. Can he run for president if jailed? Yes. Eugene Debs comes to mind, socialist candidate. We may disagree with some of Judge Merchan's rulings during the case, but he must be very careful to apply the law accurately, for that is what the appeal court will look at.

So, predicting: Found guilty-yes. Go to jail-no. Polls slip-a little. trump: Continued claims of being a victim like Mandela & Jesus Christ. Donations: Keep a'comin."

Will trouble melt like lemon drops? No. But looking through rose colored glasses, Somewhere over the rainbow, Biden will fly.

Expand full comment
Apr 20·edited Apr 20

Unfortunately, there’s always the possibility that the justice system can be manipulated in connection with our compromised Supreme Court. One only needs to look at the Sedition Trial of 1944 to see a precedent where nobody served jail time and the justice system was manipulated. One would have thought we had learned our lesson but the case was very well hidden and never taught in schools.

https://digital-library.csun.edu/in-our-own-backyard/sedition-trial-of-1944

Expand full comment

And Americans seem to have incredibly short memories and attention sp-SQUIRREL!!!!

Expand full comment

I doubt that anything that “gets out” beyond the truly interested will change the minds of the MAGA core. But I do think repeated exposure to Trump’s childish petulance and impatience, as well as the public comments they drive, will have some impact on the sane middle, at least as a reminder of the man’s incapacity to engage productively with facts, complex decisions, and expected behaviors. I also expect it’s going to get progressively worse as his sense of impotence accumulates and his usual acting out does nothing to reassert his dominance. From the jury’s perspective, however, his every inappropriate act and gesture is likely to frame the activities under discussion from the witness stand as the behavior of a bully. I’ve sat on juries, and in all cases, most members notice everything about everyone involved in the trial: it is an intensively immersive experience even when the case is less interesting and the players are less well known.

Expand full comment

And we would have an opportunity to make those same observations if this trial was televised nationally, as it, and all further trials of a former president should be televised. And to top it all off, this neo fascist is running again for the presidency of the United States. We should have a right to observe this defendant in court ourselves.

Expand full comment

Trump reminds me of the famous gangster Al Capone who committed murders and other crimes but always avoided conviction. Federal authorities became intent on jailing Capone and charged him with twenty-two counts of tax evasion. He was convicted of five counts in 1931. During a highly publicized case, the judge admitted as evidence Capone's admissions of his income and unpaid taxes. He was convicted and sentenced to eleven years in federal prison.

Al Capone - Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Capone

Expand full comment

Trump has recently included his admiration for Al Capone in his rally speeches.

Expand full comment

This trail has shown the judicial system to be an absolute joke.

Expand full comment

It was ever thus.

Expand full comment

I think that this will unfortunately end in a mistrial, perpetuated by Trump himself.

Expand full comment

The wheels of justice grind slowly, but I have personally benefited from justice served in the courts. Our judicial system has good bones and those who serve include fine minds and skill. In 1644 the Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Samuel Rutherford published "Lex Rex," an argument for the law of the land supreme over all rulers. The idea and practice - no one is above the law - filtered into the USA Constitutional justice system from this and other sources. While it is shameful that so many of us have forgotten our history, we can hope and pray...and trust that those who serve in our judicial system will deliver, as we stand on the shoulders of those who established liberty and justice for all.

Expand full comment

Ever since actual indictments began being handed down, I have maintained a rather healthy, if not naive, belief in the validity, purpose, and strength of the American judicial system. Oh, sure, I've had days where I also though the whole shebang was "going to hell in a handbasket," and I know our system has it's flaws, but I continue to believe in the system, the right of habeas corpus, and in general, the rule of law.

I hope my fellow citizens who are jurors take very seriously their individual and collective duty, and to make judgement based on the facts of the case and not on political grounds.

It is admittedly, a "big ask" these days, but the rule of law is absolutely one of the cornerstones on which our long-lasting republic was founded.

Without it, we are, I fear, lost.

Expand full comment

I feel and hope that Trump has more than met his match with this judge and will continue to convict himself and be found guilty as charged.

Expand full comment

I'll begin with a qualification. Although law has always been an unrequited love, I'm hardly a legal scholar, nor am I a PR guru.

I agree that, so far, the New York cases have highlighted Trump's damaged, toxic psyche in a way he and his handlers have been unable to hide. His physical and mental frailty are also on full display.

Much of Trump's base is irrecoverable. His most avid congressional supporters are also set in concrete. Hopefully, some less dedicated low information voters and congressional supporters are still in play.

Perhaps an equal benefit of Trump's judicial woes is the financial drain they have placed on down-ballot races as more money goes to defray legal bills. I'm hopeful this will result in a damaging shortfall for those candidates.

In summary, yes, I'm optimistic that despite the Trump/Republican imposed jurisprudential rot at the top, our judicial system will deal a telling blow to Trump and many of his acolytes. Perhaps even some of his more influential public supporters like Franklin Graham and Bret Farve will be forced to crawl back under their rocks.

Expand full comment
founding

As still a practicing lawyer in federal court, I’ve come in direct contact unfortunately with judges appointed by him. Pathetic is an apt term! And when we look at his bunch of Supremes, it is very discouraging that their majority have (and will) twisted and misrepresented the law as they already have for example in Dobbs and many other cases. The public doesn’t realize that Biden has raced to appoint more than a hundred superb new judges but we will be stuck with the trump bunch for decades. My comment is a lead up to praise for Judge Merchan and Judge Engoron, etc. because the current trial and the bond issue in Engoron’s case will have many twists and turns in addition to control of tfg. So let’s remain hopeful that he doesn’t overtly call for help by his thugs to move the battle to the streets which is possible! We do live in interesting times but I’m confident that ultimately it will all work out politically as well as legally.

Expand full comment

Expecting Mr. Trump to ultimately be found guilty on most if not all counts. Judge Merchan runs a tight ship and will not hold back if need be to maintain order & the rule of law in his courtroom.

Anticipate at least one of the jurors will be excused for violating the court's rules of procedure and at least one alternate having to serve in place.

Unaware of what the statutory maximums are for the crimes in terms of prison time & penalties and whether any injunctive relief is also being sought or expected?

Like that there will not be a need to be a separate sentencing hearing to determine punishment once & if the Jury is unanimous in deciding guilt for the charges & counts. It will only be a matter of Judge Merchan deciding the sentence & punishment.

Would not be surprised that if and when Mr. Trump believes he is about to be sentenced to prison time, he will attempt to flee the U.S. to another country without a extradition agreement with the U.S.

Seems most of the facts have already been established through the conviction of Michael Cohen who acted under the direction of Trump. Can't imagine how those same documents and facts are not going to be equally relevant to proving his guilt. Seems like a slam dunk. Expecting 3-5 years prison time with a portion served under home? confinement with an ankle bracelet.

My understanding is the witnesses and jury both have not (yet) been sequestered? Doing so would seemingly reduce the chances of Trump's attorneys prevailing in any motions claiming a bias and possibly minimize the chances of the RW media being successful at precipitating threats leading to violent attacks targeted against the officers of the Court, witnesses or jury.

Expand full comment

I agree and would suggest Saudi Arabia as the country most likely to host him in exile. Not that it would stop him but Merchan should have taken his passport.

Expand full comment

My greatest fear is that if the prosecution doesn't win this case, it will add fuel to that idiot's claim of persecution. He has been given so many concessions that anyone else would not have received that this case could go the wrong way. The judge absolutely must enforce the gag order and restrain his behavior, even if that means having him put in cell for a weekend when he breaks the rules.

Expand full comment

Regardless of whether or not DJT is found guilty or not, he has certainly assured anyone paying attention of what a nasty man child he is .

He is the most unpleasant , malevolent , undisciplined, tantrum throwing, flatulent man to grace a defendants chair, ever.

He ignores what the judges tell him to do and flaunts it . He truly is petulant that he should be questioned and or accused of anything , even if he’s admitted that he actually is guilty.

His ego is so inflated we hear it whining out its content at every impromptu press conference he gives ad nauseam

Several times daily .

The jurors have a hard job ahead of them watching the long suffering angry orange man up till now , has been its own trial.

I have faith , however that their ability to take this trial seriously, and live up to their responsibilities will be done without whining .

Expand full comment

I fear he will get no jail time, though he should be jailed at least as long as Michael Cohen. I also feel the court should prohibit him from making any comments afterward,. He continues to spread lies, which his cult sucks up like kool aid. The gag order should include any comments outside the courtroom. If the trial was televised, as it should be be, this would solve the problem.

Expand full comment

I was heartened by the number of jurors who said either "I believe in the rule of law" or "No one is above the law," though clips of Jesse Watters suggested that people who said such things were the liberal liars he deplored.

The rule of law DOES require the jurors to decide the necessary facts in the prosecution's favor. The weakest point, someone has argued, is proving that trump HIMSELF altered the records or caused them to be altered. Bragg seems confident that he can prove that, but it is his burden. So if some jurors find the evidence for that point to be less than "beyond a reasonable doubt" it isn't necessarily a collapse of the legal system if they choose to find him not guilty. I suspect most jurors would find his personal connection "more likely than not" or proved by a "preponderance of the evidence" but in our system, if someone truly, really, actually thinks after seeing the evidence that it doesn't meet the higher burden, I would EXPECT them to vote their conclusion. That's what the legal system is supposed to do.

So we do have to be prepared that Bragg MIGHT lose--at least to the point of a hung jury. We do have to prepare ourselves for the idea that this might be the system working, not corrupted. We simply have to hope and trust that Bragg can provide sufficient evidence to fulfill his burden.

Expand full comment

If justice served is an empty plate we will all starve.

Expand full comment

Your outline of the expected outcome reveals the lawfare plan to defeat Trump in the courts rather than on a ballot. Unbelievable hubris. I predict not one vote will be lost by those who support Trump, which you hope will happen. The loss of support by independents and democrats for this legal sham, however, will likely put this more principled conservative sleepy man who farts into office than the vapid, farting, asleep character who now occupies the title.

Expand full comment

Principalled? Trump? Appalling!

Expand full comment

Susan, can you believe Mr. Pearring actually typed that sentence? I mean, cognitive dissonance is real. And widespread. I won’t reply to a MAGAt, so thanks for giving me another option.

Expand full comment

I am not willing to give up on our system of governing - not yet! But I am concerned about the safety of the jurors, Judge, witnesses and anyone that is involved with the case because of what has happened in the past with Trump supporters! All of the individuals involved with carrying out the rules of law are my heroes - I admire them and wish them well ! ! !

Expand full comment

Cults of personality based on charismatic leaders are incredibly indoctrinating. Just sayin…

Expand full comment

Ellyn, I agree. But every time someone says the orange hemorrhoid is “charismatic” I can never understand that. He poops, he farts, he soils his diaper, and he is just plain rude and bullying. Where is the “charisma”? I have never seen it or even liked the toddler man. What do people see in him?! What am I missing?!

Expand full comment

Beats the hell out of me.

Expand full comment

I will agree to the part where you say not one vote will be changed, at least as it relates to the core MAGA base. But, that base has been shrinking a little, and we should be more concerned for the great majority of independents and sideline democrats and republicans who still may appreciate the rule of law, even if they do not like Biden or Trump. As an optimist, I still believe that a great majority of our country still believes in the rule of law, rights for everyone, especially for women's rights to their own body, and that everyone has the right to vote.

Expand full comment

I love optimists, Mr. Ellis! Thank you!!!!

Expand full comment

A fair assessment, but the principle of abortion as a place to hang your hat is likely unchanged by either of these candidates. The extreme of Biden as opposed to the compromise of Trump will surely end up in compromise in either case. The rest of the nation's principles, however, especially war, financial stability, and immigration, will be forced into compromise by Biden while energized into solid recovery by Trump. You sound like a fair, logical person. Assessments aside, optimism seems to be an unlikely outcome with a man forced into compromise.

Expand full comment

So, I guess that as a fair and logical person, I cannot support compromise, a word that Trump or the MAGAs, and possibly you, do not understand, but that I must just accept the idea of authoritarianism. Sorry. Can't go there. A republic is based on compromise among well meaning parties with contrasting ideas relating to actual policies where people agree to disagree and move forward with something for everybody. There is no compromise with Trump and the MAGAs - their way or the highway. Sorry, but that's not compromise, and I am not learning Russian or living in a theological dictatorship where people like DJT and MTG and their minions are in charge, because they are neither smart enough to lead, but just want to turn it all over to the billionaires and the religious bigots, and let's all bow down to the Neo-Nazi Steven Miller! That can never be the answer and can in no way be the future for America. If it goes down that way, there will certainly be a revolution, and not to protect the MAGAs, but to throw them out!

Expand full comment

Nutshell is a nutter

Expand full comment

Catholic Nutshell News?

Expand full comment

That struck me too. Emphasis on NUTshell I guess. 17 years of Catholic education here and I cannot imagine any church “teaching” or belief that would result in one endorsing Trump (or at this point ANY Republican).

Expand full comment

Well. He does sell bibles now 🤔

Expand full comment

Interesting that being a Catholic means I should instead support Biden, who hasn't found a Catholic teaching he would support. And yet, I don't vote according to my religious beliefs but with the choices put in front of me. Name-calling is not an intelligent argument. I would not do that to anyone I respond to here. I suppose it is best to exit this conversation and remove myself from further poor treatment.

Expand full comment

Who is “this more principled conservative sleepy man” to whom refer?? Certainly not DJT.

Expand full comment

And the dude claims trump is compromising on abortion- tell that to the families in Arizona who’ve been trapped in a time machine and sent back to 1864!

And I say “families” because WOMENS HEALTHCARE will affect the entire family of people who love them and care about their safety over a clump of cells. Period.

Expand full comment

Boy, you’re an absolute idiot of the MAGA/GQP/WCN Extremist Cult.

Expand full comment

Character assassination is all you have with made up acronyms and identity framing? I wouldn't call you an idiot for that, but calling me an idiot for a careful assessment is more akin to blind hatred. Not a good look.

Expand full comment

Sure. But I always thought “careful assessment” meant you considered points of value from more than one or two sources (Fox News is “entertainment “-didn’t you read their lawsuit defense)s)?)

Also: for example- have you dived into any of the archives from the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s to see how your “principled” choice lived prior to the presidential election spotlight fell on him? No? Don’t trust the internet?

I’m sure your local library can get you hard copies or microfiche. Fun reading! I particularly loved the parts where he didn’t pay hardworking, honest family businesses for work they did on trump tower & his casinos- but maybe that’s more the way you live your catholic nutshell life? Ripping off honest people who don’t have the funds to be tied up in years of court?

Expand full comment

Thanks, Ellyn! You said what needed to be said.

Expand full comment

Clean your spectacles!

Expand full comment

LOL.

Expand full comment

Agree

Expand full comment

Well said, Steve. I put in a link to your article at the end of my piece. In declaring that the judicial system itself is on trial in all of his cases, Trump may have gone too far for some of his supporters. Does he mean that if he is acquitted in this case, that’s a victory for the credibility of the judicial system? No, of course not. He means that as a former president, he is completely above the law, must be acquitted of all charges, and if re-elected, has the right to order Seal Team 6 to assassinate his political opponents. Surely that is an assertion too far for “limited government” conservatives, at least the principled ones. https://jimbuie.substack.com/p/hyper-partisan-hypocrisy-revealed

Expand full comment

This very trial, the trial itself, has become the defense attorney in the case of the American Legal System vrs Oligarchic Legal Confiscation. Arguing in defense of the entire legal establishment, this case puts all legal corruption in our entire nation on the stand, including the boss of all bosses--the SCOTUS. Should this case be won, order prevailed, real hope for real justice will be vouchsafed. It is the shining light on the hill of our entire fight against 'that thing of theirs'.

Expand full comment