It appears that the indictment of Donald Trump by a Manhattan grand jury is imminent and could occur as soon as this week.
If this happens, it will represent the first time that Trump has been criminally charged in connection with his actions leading up to, during, and following his presidency. However, he has been credibly accused of committing at least 56 criminal offenses since launching his campaign for president.
Trump is expected to be indicted in connection with a “hush money” payment of $130,000 made by his long-time attorney, Michael Cohen, to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had an affair with Trump. The charges will likely center on the false recording and concealment of the payment as a “legal expense” in the financial records of the Trump organization.
In addition to the Manhattan grand jury, Trump appears to be squarely in the crosshairs of three additional grand juries, including the Fulton County, Georgia grand jury, which is investigating claims of election fraud and other offenses, a federal grand jury investigating the January 6 insurrection and a federal grand jury investigating allegations of Trump’s unlawful possession and concealment of government records after leaving office.
Early this morning, Trump posted on his Truth Social Account that “THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE AND FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK. PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!” A spokesman later clarified that the post had not been written with any direct knowledge of the timing of any arrest.
The New York Times reports that while the Manhattan District Attorney’s office officially has no comment, it has signaled that an indictment is imminent but has not communicated any timeline to Trump’s lawyers. The grand jury must still hear the testimony of one remaining witness. State and federal law enforcement agencies, including the NYPD, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Secret Service, and others, are preparing for a possible violent response to Trump’s indictment, particularly in light of the January 6 events in 2021.
Whether there remains an appetite among many Trump supporters for a violent confrontation with state and federal authorities remains to be seen. Over a thousand participants in the January 6 insurrection have already been arrested in nearly every state in the U.S. and charged with a variety of felonies and misdemeanors. Late last year, the Department of Justice sent a letter to the Chief Judge of the U.S District Court for the District of Washington D.C., reporting there would be an estimated additional 700 to 1,200 defendants charged. However, the events of January 6 have shown that all necessary precautions should be taken in instances where Trump appears to be inciting his supporters.
This indictment, and the possibility of additional indictments to come, send an important and long overdue message that Trump, like anyone else, will be held accountable by the U.S. justice system for crimes he has committed.