Pavlov’s Press Corps: Trump Once Again Got Journalists to Willingly Serve as His Incitement Mules
When we left the mainstream Trump press corps on Friday afternoon, they were all focused on the decision by Beryl Howell to rule that some of Evan Corcoran’s testimony in the stolen document case was crime-fraud excepted. Sure, there were journalists using wildly exaggerated descriptions for the uniqueness or surprise of the development. But, on Friday, reporters covering Trump’s legal woes were providing factual descriptions of actual newsworthy developments.
At the time, there was a general awareness that an indictment from Alvin Bragg may come next week, but the focus was the stolen documents investigation, in part because some journalists appear to believe that the crime-fraud ruling was some new sign that Jack Smith believed a crime had been committed.
Then, on Saturday morning, on his failing social media platform, the former President tweeted out incitement that included the following, in all caps:
- An unsubstantiated claim about illegal leaks probably based on Fox News reporting about efforts to prepare for potential violence as a response to a Trump indictment next week
- An attack on Alvin Bragg’s record on crime
- A claim Bragg is funded by George Soros, the kind of coded antisemitism Trump is including in virtually all his communications these days
- An assertion that he would be charged on something that “numerous other prosecutors!” had debunked as a fairy tale
- An overstatement of the degree to which he is leading in polls and an admission that he is the “former” President
- A day, Tuesday, when he would be “arrested”
- A call to “protest,” invoking one of the same cries used to incite a coup attempt on January 6, “take our country back”
The response was almost instantaneous, with one after another journalist screen-capping the tweet in its entirety, some like Kyle Cheney adding no other commentary other than, “🚨 Trumps says he expects to be arrested Tuesday,” with the siren adding to its inflammatory nature. Jonathan Lemire repeated select newsworthy bits — while still including the full screen cap — without mentioning the coded slur on Soros or labeling the entire tweet as obvious incitement; Lemire parroted Trump’s all caps for the purported timing and quoted the incendiary line also associated with January 6.
NEW: Trump is suggesting that he will be ARRESTED ON TUESDAY due to Manhattan DA probe
This is historic: he would be the first former president to be indicted
He urges his supporters to “Protest, take our nation back!”
The absolutely most hysterical tweet magnifying Trump’s words unfiltered came from Jared Holt, a supposed expert on radicalization online, who introduced Trump’s full tweet onto Twitter (where Trump has not tweeted under his own ID since being permitted back on) with the following:
It will be hard to think of a bigger tech moderation failure than if Trump uses the platforms he’s been allowed back onto (FB, YouTube, Twitter) to incite protests again.
As of this morning, Holt’s tweet, along with the screen cap of Trump’s tweet unfiltered, had garnered 230,000 views on Twitter, over 300 RTs and almost 1,700 likes. Lemire’s had garnered 300 quote tweets, almost 600 RTs, over 2,000 likes, and 1.3M views. Cheney’s had garnered 770 quote tweets, 1,200 RTs, 7,400 likes, and 2.6M views.
By publishing such an inflammatory tweet on Truth Social, Trump was rightly calculating that even people like Holt would help to make his unfiltered words go viral on Twitter, as Trump has consistently done during the period when he still remained banned on Twitter.
It’s like Pavlov’s dogs, pure reflexive behavior at this point: The more incendiary Trump’s tweets, the more quickly journalists rush to disseminate them unfiltered on Twitter.
Remarkably, neither Lemire nor Cheney noted the import of the fact that a habitual liar like Trump was only claiming that he expected to be arrested Tuesday, not that he knew he would be.
In its report on the tweet, NYT noted, even in the subhead, that the timing was unclear, but given that at least one more witness is expected to testify on Monday, a Tuesday arrest is unlikely. It further described that Trump’s team was already in discussions about how to minimize the kind of showy arrest Trump was promising on Truth Social. NYT went on to report how Trump’s team simply guessed the date of his arrest.
His indictment by a Manhattan grand jury is expected, but its timing is unclear.
Two hours later, a spokesman issued a statement saying that Mr. Trump had not written his post with direct knowledge of the timing of any arrest,
Prosecutors working for Mr. Bragg have signaled that an indictment of Mr. Trump could be imminent. But they have not told Mr. Trump’s lawyers when the charges — expected to stem from a 2016 hush money payment to a porn star — would be sought or an arrest made, people with knowledge of the matter said. At least one more witness is expected to testify in front of the grand jury, which could delay an indictment, the people said.
One of the people said that even if the grand jury were to vote to indict the former president on Monday, a Tuesday surrender was unlikely, given the need to arrange timing, travel and other logistics.
The statement from Mr. Trump’s spokesman did not explain how he had landed on Tuesday as an arrest date. One person with knowledge of the matter said that Mr. Trump’s advisers had guessed that it could happen around then, and that someone might have relayed that to the former president.
A lawyer for Mr. Trump, Susan R. Necheles, said that his post had been based on news reports,
CNN, including Kaitlan Collins, who was among the first to help disseminate this incendiary tweet, later reported on the legal discussions going on inside Trump’s camp.
Trump’s defense team is expected to be notified following any possible indictment and then they would engage in negotiations for surrender and an initial appearance.
Another witness is expected to testify Monday before the grand jury investigating the hush money payments, according to a source familiar with the investigation. It is not clear whether this would be the final witness before it votes on a possible indictment.
Trump’s team has said repeatedly that he will not accept an invitation to testify before the grand jury. But multiple sources familiar with his legal team’s thinking says that if there is an indictment, he would negotiate an agreed upon surrender date with the district attorney’s office.
Trump’s team has been huddled all week planning for various scenarios, including Trump traveling to New York as well as having a remote hearing where he stays at Mar-a-Lago, according to sources familiar with the meetings.
Some members of his legal team are advising Trump to ask for a remote appearance for security reasons should an indictment occur but it is unclear if he would agree to that as he has also discussed with his team wanting to give a statement at the courthouse, sources said.
But before it got to those details, CNN described that the tweet was just a political ploy based off a guess about timing.
The former president has been agitating for his team to get his base riled up and believes that an indictment would help him politically, multiple people briefed on the matter told CNN.
Joe Tacopina, an attorney for Trump, later said the former president had based his claims on press reports.
“No one tells us anything which is very frustrating. President Trump is basing his response on press reports,” Tacopina said in a statement to CNN.
In other words, the most newsworthy detail in Trump’s tweet (beyond the incitement) — the day he would be charged — was just made up, a guess based off the same information all the rest of us have. It was nevertheless treated as newsworthy by a slew of journalists needing an excuse to disseminate unfiltered incendiary speech on Twitter. And no one has since gone back to amend their original tweets to note that Trump’s claims to know the date of his arrest were a lie.
Trump’s team simply guessed what day he’ll be charged so as to make a call to fight newsworthy enough for kneejerk journalists to help it go viral for him.
It works every single fucking time Trump does this.
Every. Single. Time.
And it’s not just the fact that a bunch of journalists served as willing data mules for Trump’s incendiary tweet, bringing it onto Twitter for him and helping it to go viral in unfiltered form.
It’s the other effect the tweet had on reporting about Trump.
First, everyone completely dropped the significant development in a case that even a number of diehard Republicans think has real gravity, Trump’s refusal to return all the classified documents he stole. That story — a burning story late into Friday — utterly disappeared by Saturday morning. Trump is so good at playing the media that he can effectively just dictate what even CNN and MSNBC will cover. And his tweet managed to make that more damaging investigation — an investigation led by a white man rather than a Black one, and so harder to use to mobilize Trump’s most racist followers — completely disappear from coverage. Journalists who had broken key details about the crime-fraud ruling Friday were instead asked to cover Trump’s tweet on the cable shows on Saturday.
And it wasn’t just cable coverage that Trump’s incendiary tweet managed to dictate. One after another politician — Kevin McCarthy, Mike Pence, Elise Stefanik (who released then deleted multiple drafts before hers was sufficiently dripping in obsequious propaganda) — was forced to comment on the made up news that Trump has a date when he’ll be indicted. Even poor Asa Hutchinson, who was trying hard to launch a Presidential run that didn’t define itself entirely in terms of Trump, was forced to answer multiple questions about Trump’s tweet.
In other words, by releasing the tweet, Trump not only made it the sole focus of cable programming, but made it the leading political question of the day. He made the presidential race about him again, exclusively about him. And in the case of McCarthy and Stefanik — both of whom cling to power by ceaselessly performing their obeisance to Trump — made it a matter of loyalty, a political litmus test that Trump supporters and opponents alike would be required to publicly adhere to.
Finally, all this was done without any mention of the actual facts of the case. All this was done in a way guaranteed to short-circuit rational thought — that’s the point.
To be clear, I don’t know all that many people who are sure this is going to be a substantive indictment, and there are real questions about how it is not time-barred. Perhaps Bragg will surprise us, but even many lefties are skeptical about the legal soundness and wisdom of this indictment.
But the substance of it stems from Trump fucking a sex worker.
He fucked a sex worker then paid her to cover it up. And then, in his efforts to cover that up, Trump engaged in some dodgy corporate accounting. There may be other exacerbating factors, like witness intimidation. But this is about trying to cover up the fact that he fucked a sex worker so it wouldn’t harm his chances of becoming President.
This case involves a crime for which, under Jeff Sessions, SDNY prosecuted Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. One reason Trump wasn’t prosecuted as a result is that Bill Barr interfered; Barr even tried to force SDNY to reverse Cohen’s prosecution. And when Cohen went to jail because he refused to cover up Trump’s efforts to cover up fucking a sex worker, Trump cut him off, making him a pariah. Trump’s tweet falsely claimed that multiple prosecutors had deemed this case bullshit when instead he means his own Attorney General engaged in breathtaking corruption to protect him from it.
We don’t know what the indictment includes. But we know it involves fucking a sex worker. And all the journalists repeating Kevin McCarthy’s bullshit comments about investigating this investigation, or Mike Pence’s comments about how measly an indictment this would be, are not making them go on the record about whether they think voters should know if someone is spending significant money — several times what most Trump supporters make in a year — to cover up that they fucked a sex worker. Does Mike Pence, that god-fearing Christian, think a man who paid six figures then engaged in financial fraud to cover up that he fucked a sex worker should be President? Let’s ask him.
That’s not happening, in significant part because Trump has gotten journalists to shed all rationality when reporting on this story. The point is to make this about emotion, not facts, and journalists’ immediate instincts accommodated that.
Because Trump went on offensive, the substance of the indictment — however flimsy or not — has been largely absent from any reporting on the case.
Trump has these journalists trained to act reactively, without taking the time first to figure out whether he was again making shit up (as he was in this tweet). He has these journalists trained to mindlessly help him disseminate antisemitic incitement on platforms he’s not a part of, usually without commentary identifying that’s what he’s doing. Trump is so good at exploiting journalists who know better that he has made them participants in his incitement.
And it could well get people killed.
Updated: Added the circulation numbers for the three tweets disseminating Trump’s incitement.
All correct. Except there likely won’t even be an arrest. Trump will most likely voluntarily surrender, with his lawyers, to be booked and have an initial appearance at an agreed date and time.
Yes, I agree that’s how it could go — as NYT and especially CNN noted. But with Trump you never know.
The same logic that says there won’t be an arrest is the kind of logic that said he would concede to Biden and move on peacefully.
Given your post, Marcy, I’m in the camp of those who think Trump will not voluntarily surrender. He will enter into discussions to do so, then once a date is more or less nailed down, he will manipulate the process to his own advantage.
If he can’t be the king, he relishes the role of the Soon-to-Be-Martyred King so that he can rile up his followers to sing his praises if not also restore him to power.
That would be an asinine mistake by Trump then, and one that could materially affect his release conditions.
Sure, but when has concern for making an asinine mistake in a legal setting ever stopped Trump before? In fact, given a choice between following good legal advice and making an asinine mistake, Trump generally rejects the legal advice and goes with his gut.
Any lawyer that would put up with that petty shit should be sanctioned. And it would be insanely stupid.
We’ll, quite a lot of Trump lawyers are being sanctioned in one form or another these days, so…..
Yes, sure, so let’s all accept and encourage them to royally fuck over every other interested entity. People have gone literally insane.
The same could be said of any lawyer that would put up with (or even encourage) their client to remove classified documents from the WH that belong to the NARA on their way out the door at the end of their term.
“Insanely stupid” is a phrase that has gotten a lot of work when speaking of Trump’s legal team.
And . . . cue the insane stupidity. From the Guardian:
When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time.
Spectacle. Got it. Do everything possible to make it look like a non-event.
It seems to me that the New York authorities could simply enter the warrant into the NCIC computer with extradition authorized from New Jersey only. Then Trump would have to either surrender himself or risk a custodial arrest by the Port Authority Police every time he travels to Bedminster.
It’s correct to say, in any news-worthy criminal case, that the lawyers would discuss the terms of “surrender”.
By either leaking discussion terms, or making them of whole cloth, it allows his lawyer, Necheles, to claim that the prosecutors are not talking to them, hijacking the government’s advantage of timing.
Baloney. Most competent criminal attys actually do it quietly and in good faith to avoid the spectacle you describe.
With a former president as a defendant who doesn’t seem to be a flight risk, who, indeed, seems to be embracing the profit potential of the criminal process, an actual arrest–as opposed to a surrender–doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Much more interesting are the pre-trial release conditions likely to be imposed. Passport surrender, for sure, and other travel restrictions, yep. But the other two that I see him violating are, to remain law abiding and a highly unusual one crafted precisely for Trump: no riot incitements. He’s working on the later two already. No doubt we will be watching as the prosecutors gamely demand to revoke his pre-trial conditional release at serial hearings–“mob, what mob?”–as chaos reigns and fraudulently raised cash streams into his coffers. It promises to be an entertaining summer as Trump gins up his supporters and the rest of the formerly pro-law enforcement GOP gaggle of candidates wet themselves trying to figure out what to do.
In federal court, it would still be called an arrest, even if it didn’t look like one. In state court, though he could simply be summoned in as an order to appear. Frankly, I’m not even sure they would require fingerprinting, though court rule or statute may require it. But the terminology is irrelevant (except for the idiot media Marcy describes).
Yeah. I would already have this thing negotiated for early some morning when nobody’s looking and entrance and exit through back door, LEOs and magistrate for I/A-arraignment all arranged. And this is done all the time. Courts, prosecutors and cops are not crazy about a lot of disruptive media, much less all the crap Trump would bring, so are very often amenable. Will they all be here, who knows? Of course all the leering media and TV lookeloos dying for the ultimate perp walk would howl, but screw them, once it is done, it is done.
Yeah, and that line forms behind me, I have hated the Bragg move from the jump. There is a serious statute of limitations issue on anything but a penny ante misdemeanor. And the workaround Bragg seems to be considering is almost laughable despite the Creedence most of the TV lawyers give it. Then there is the reliance on Cohen. Prosecutors use liars, even perjurers, all the time because that is what most CI’s and flipped witnesses are. The problem with Cohen though is his crystal clear retribution motive, his gadfly glee in every TV appearance he can make, and his making bank off of book sales. It would be easy to hammer him on all of it. And, remember, this was not part of Weisselberg’s limited immunity, and he has said he will not testify against Trump or his family. So he may or may not be “available”.
So too does the sudden Bragg effort look self serving and politically calculated after sitting on everything else. “This” is what he now thinks important?? Seriously?
Regarding Cohen’s veracity, isn’t there an audio recording of Trump literally telling him to make the payment? And isn’t the evidence all in the books? So you have Trump telling Cohen to make the payment. Cohen making the payment. Then illegal financial stuff happening to cover it up.
The timing issue, however, seems insurmountable. How do they get past it?
On that I definitely agree with you.
The audio recording is subject to interpretation, proper foundation and proof. Nothing is as clear cut in court as people here think.
Very late to the party, but re: timing — under NY Criminal Procedure Law, any time a defendant is “continuously outside” the State does not get counted when calculating whether a criminal case has been timely commenced. Additionally, SOLs in NY were tolled for 5-6 months of 2020. I haven’t analyzed his comings-and-goings all that closely, but I don’t think Trump has spent enough time in the state since 2016 for this to be time-barred.
Any chance Bragg’s gambit is designed to keep Trump in town while the real estate case develops?
And regarding that dependence on Cohen, it looks like there is someone set to try to impeach his character.
LOL this oughta’ be good. Cohen could be a liar representing a liar but financials reported under Trump’s name and possibly his signature are going to be tough to get around.
I don’t know if I can eat this much popcorn.
Sure, if they can get all that into evidence with sufficient foundation for the jury to know beyond any reasonable doubt. So far, that appears to depend entirely on Cohen as I have not seen any evidence Weisselberg is going to lay that foundation. That is potentially a real problem, as Weisselberg is an empty chair to point at. Maybe other witnesses will buck all that up, but, again, there are no “slam dunks” in criminal trials. Don’t cook all your popcorn yet.
What they filed with the government and the corresponding bank statements will be the evidence, on top of any electronic communications. Hard to get around that.
I’m still going to pop some corn because this will be entertaining, but I need to pace myself because I don’t know what 2023 popcorn crop is going to look like yet. Watching futures – corn is surprisingly low right now. LOL
AGAIN, you have to get that into evidence with a credible foundation. It doesn’t just magically get admitted because it was produced to the government. A jury trial is not a blog. Let’s see how it actually goes when it comes time. And that is going to be no time soon given all the procedural issues this asinine prosecution engenders.
You should ask Cohen if the evidence they used to nail him was submitted with a credible foundation. I’d love to hear the answer.
I honestly don’t think people understand any of this at all, save for Marcy. And it is getting seriously disturbing and distressing. Folks thing this NY bullshit solves anything? What a complete joke, and failure to understand the seriously deep infirmities in such a case. I too will buy popcorn futures, because this crap is not what it is made out to be.
Cohen pled guilty. Not because of Stormy Daniels, but because of many other things, including hard prosecutorial and forfeiture threats against his ill wife and family too.
The admissibility of evidence in a plea is not an issue, it is stipulated to. That is not the case in an actual jury trial. And just because it was part of Cohen’s stipulated plea, does not mean jack as to admissibility at an actual jury trial on a Trump indictment. I would never waste time asking Cohen that question, and don’t give a shit what his answer would be.
What was it you said earlier? “…darn it, it was funny!”
If Cohen hadn’t thought there was a chance the evidence was admissible, though, he wouldn’t have pled.
That is simply not true. His pleas were really founded on sooooo much more.
And, this all came out through a social media platform we now understand to have obtained critical funding via a Putin protege!
Finally, an answer to the rhetorical question…”Who let the dogs out?” (The EMMESSEMM outrage machine, that’s who.) https://youtu.be/Qkuu0Lwb5EM
The Trump screed plays to two of the great intellectual weaknesses of journalists, 1) present-tense-bias: there are new developments!!! Tuesday!!! and 2) drama-conflict-horserace-bias: Bragg is bad, Bragg is political, they got nothing in this bad case — all BS but a well written screed. It may not be news, but he makes it look news-like.
You are absolutely right that Trump wants to move it from facts to emotions and put all the attention on himself. He also knows how to make catnip for journalists.
1 – Monday’s Witness: Based on the fairly provable theory that Team Trump will not publicly say anything without it being a lie I am thinking they know who Monday’s witness is and are trying to intimidate that person by lighting up the deplorables and putting their life in plausible jeopardy
2 – DeSantis: Will the Governor mobilise the state troopers to defend Trump at MaL (Waco 2) against federal ‘overreach’, or will he let Trump slowly twist in the wind? Either way I am pretty sure Trump will try to gin up a spectacle whenever the arrest happens.
3 – Hugo Lowell at The Guardian reports that Trump Media & Technology Group, the parent company of Truth Social, is under SEC investigation for an $8 million cash infusion from a Kremlin-linked entity Paxum Bank which is part-owned by an individual named Anton Postolnikov, whose cousin Aleksandr Smirnov is a longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. – https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/mar/15/trump-media-investigated-possible-money-laundering
Lol, doubtful, and he should think twice about doing so on a protected location and person.
The Guardian also had an article on the case being discussed here, which I felt was a good way to handle it: “Trump in panic mode as he braces for likely charges in Stormy Daniels case”
When you ask Pence his opinion, don’t forget to add it was hush money spent to cover up fucking a sex worker (allegedly unprotected) while cheating on a wife about to bear their first child.
He’s no Jimmy Carter.
Jimmy Carter was no saint
Jimmy was more saintly then most presidents. Before, during, and especially after his term.
In addition to aiding Trump’s incitement of his followers, there are at least two other ways the repetition and amplification of Trump’s lies by these “knee-jerk journalists” helps Trump.
1. Repeated exposure to contradictory “facts” produces confusion about the truth in uncritical thinkers, which can increase political apathy in people who might otherwise oppose him, a win for authoritarians like Trump.
2. Repetition makes lies more memorable and therefore more likely to be judged as true by uncritical thinkers, which aids Trump in recruitment to his cause.
These stenographer “journalists” are a triple win for Trump’s campaign to undermine American democracy for his own benefit.
Bragg felt he must reassure his employees that:
9:36 PM · Mar 18, 2023
TRUMP is attacking Biden and called Bragg “a (Soros) Racist in Reverse”
Screenshot here, via JJMacNab at CounterSocial:
March 19, 2023 at 1:18 PM
It’s worth repeating the Charlie Pierce posting from almost *seven* years ago how the NY Times political coverage was broken, and how top editor Carolyn Ryan was so full of it that she defended her reign by citing Glenn Greenwald.
Ryan has since gained even more authority at the Times. The Sulzbergers learned nothing.
On Trump’s passport(s) being confiscated: (It’s likely that it’s been discussed ad nauseam in previous discussions that I’ve missed, so apologies in advance if this is the case) How important would a move like that be overall? I mean he can’t move much without everyone knowing about it but he owns his own aircraft and has yet to have his movements restricted (that I’m aware of). What’s to stop him from seeking exile somewhere outside the US’s jurisdiction? If you’re looking for a way to rile up his deplorables, fighting extradition seems like a pretty good way to do it.
Trump’s game is to seek election in 2024…until that plays out he would not seek exile. After defeat, faced with multiple legal challenges he would depart before surrendering to serve jail time!
30,000+ lies later and they still don’t question his every word?!? I suppose this behavior is about ensuring future access? Meanwhile dickhead manages to consume a news cycle once again; it’s maddening that journalists can’t figure out they’re getting played; or (color me paranoid) they’re on the payroll too.
Jake Tapper had some talking heads yesterday waxing rhapsodic over the Hunter Biden laptop with hardly any pushback on alternative not-facts presented by a GOP shill. Jake even cut off a counterpoint to a Trump-whisper. Also CNN seems to be echoing the deficit-terrors fed by the right-wingers. I find this rightward lean a bit concerning. Maybe I’m paranoid but that doesn’t mean they’re not out to get us: fascists keep boiling the frogs in the media. I’m beginning to feel like I’m in Ionescu’s Rhinoceros.
Gods, I would love to see somebody adapt interviews and panels like Tapper’s into a Rhinoceros-like video.
Imagine Tapper talking with one rhino and a couple humans who increasingly shapeshift into rhinos, with Tapper himself beginning to morph into a talking rhino when he cuts off that counterpoint.
The notion of some kind of quid pro quo for access wildly overstates how they work.
They don’t really get anything in return. Even defenders of Haberman’s book like Joe Klein acknowledged how little substance there was in it.The little details like Trump flushing document shreds were all she had besides a well worn portrait of Trump as shameless huckster.
More than anything the point of writing these kinds of stories is buttressing their point of view that these kinds of stories are worth writing about.
Haberman got a lump sum upfront for her book. That’s one point where authors can be bought, when the pitch is agreed to with the publisher and the publisher’s editor gets the final say as to what’s published.
If there are residual royalties negotiated, that’s the next point — you can imagine bulk sales helping here.
And then the cachet of having published the book means whenever Haberman has a crack at a gig she’ll be introduced as “The Author of…” for which she’ll be compensated.
Doesn’t matter if it’s all crap between the covers.
It’s a similar dynamic to what Tapper, Stephanopoulos, Todd, etc. get with their Sunday morning shows. They get signed to big contracts to do something that has the appearance of being interviews, but like you say about the books, it doesn’t matter if it’s crap between the open and close.
In fact, there’s a lot of pressure within the networks not to raise the bar, just as there is with political books. If the audience starts having expectations, people have to start working harder to meet them.
Is there any evidence this even true?
The TV lawyers are mostly saying it’s not Stormy Daniels. Any idea who it might be?
I recall hearing that Monday’s witness will be someone requested by Trump’s attorneys. Unfortunately, I can’t site the reference. Does anyone else recall hearing that?
Other than having the putative defendant testify himself, I am not aware that the defense has a right to request/call witnesses, and the prosecution no obligation to do so. Any such matter would normally be put in a written proffer, which the prosecution may honor or not. Maybe NY has some goofy provision I am not aware of, but what you describe sounds doubtful.
This NYT piece claims that “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.” https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/19/nyregion/trump-indictment-costello-cohen.html
So the defense can override the judgment of the attending ADA to the GJ? That is a very bizarre provision if so. But, heck, why not, everything else about this GJ process is complete bullshit too.
Look at the other folks who were questioned over this the first time around. Look at any lawyers who tried to help kill this story from becoming public for political purposes in the 2016 election. Same with newspaper editor(s) who were aware of this story before it became public knowledge, the ones who had worked to actively kill such stories from becoming public in the past. Somewhere in there is one or more folks who are able to speak directly to how the system of killing these stories normally worked/works, things that will be able to speak to a pattern of behavior and assumption by Trump about how stories he didn’t want public were killed previously.
No, and nobody should know. That is but one reason why this whole Bragg shitshow is ridiculous.
If there is no indictment on Tuesday, Trump will triumphantly tell his followers HE intimidated them.
Nice summary of Trump’s power over the media and it will continue until midnight Tuesday.
Have come across this observation in a few places.
It sounds very tfg
I have erased by ‘comment’ given that I have exceeded the 100 word response and which is today’s normative.
I agree with everything Marcy says, but it is certainly newsworthy that–for the second time!–this pequeno caudillo is summoning a fascist mob to interfere with a governmental process for his personal benefit. It’s difficult to report this outrage without, willy-nilly, disseminating his summons to the mob. BTW, I think the constant bogus references to Soros are intended, not only as an anti-Semitic trope, but also to counteract the undeniable fact that the GOP has all but monopolized plutocratic support in this country.
I’m inclined to think that, despite all his tweets & ballyhoo, when crunch time comes Trump will want to minimize the chances of looking foolish and felon-ish in the eyes of his public. So he will likely want to arrange for his arrest to be carried out in as discreet a manner as possible, the same way he handled his colonoscopy a few years ago.
Afterwards, I can imagine Trump trying to mock and minimize the whole process. “Hey, folks! Get a load of me! You’re looking at America’s Most Wanted! I’m Public Enemy Number One!”
Any chance he could negotiate a zoom appearance from Mar a Lago? There is reporting that Trump is nixing that so he can make a showy post appearance speech, but he talks a big game and I’m thinking he would in the end prefer not leaving Mar a Lago. I would think New York authorities would prefer not to have to deal with the circus his appearance would bring. I think it is a great idea.
No on the video appearance. NY wants and should have physical custody over an indictee. Where he goes from there during these proceedings is up to the court, based on the charges and Trump’s conduct.
As to the questions from above who might be the witness tomorrow: The NYT came up with attorney Robert Costello. Here are Marcy’s tweets on this: https://twitter.com/emptywheel/status/1637516899742351360 and https://twitter.com/emptywheel/status/1637536570944155651.
When Bragg took office and decided not to proceed with the pending financial fraud case, I was disappointed, but I accepted that it was properly his call because his professional legacy, his entire life’s work, will be hugely impacted by the outcome of any prosecution of Trump. Also, if I were a DA taking on the extremely daunting task of prosecuting Trump, a case that I know will play be played out in two non-parallel universes – the courtroom and its rules, and in the media with its very different rules – I would want a case where the facts and moral issues are as simple and comprehensible as possible, even if the crime itself seems petty ante compared with a complex, multi-million dollar series of business frauds played out over decades. In fact, any case against Trump will seem relatively petty ante short of a prosecution that links him to the attempted coup. Bottom line – I don’t envy Alvin Bragg’s chosen role, and I truly hope he is successful.
I hope Bragg loses his ass. He has been a terrible DA and appears to be cooking up asinine theories to skirt serious statute of limitations issues, and doing so for extremely self serving political reasons. His “prosecution” is a disgrace irrespective of how it comes out.
You may be right about Bragg and the weakness of his case. I know nothing about him. But your comment got be searching for more info, and I found this article at Just Security dated Feb 7, 2023. The authors seem far more optimistic than you about Bragg’s chances of success, though they don’t deny the significant obstacles he confronts. One point I take from the article is that we don’t actually know what charge or charges Bragg intends to bring, and I would add that there is still no certainty that he will bring any. After all, the only real “leaker” here re: Trump’s “imminent arrest” is Donald Trump himself.
That is not correct, Bragg and his office have been yakking incessantly, albeit it often off the record. They may not technically have violated §215.70 as to GJ secrecy, but Bragg et. al did everything else. And Michael Cohen, who as a witness is able to yak legally, has been everywhere. Of course he has, he needs to write another book and is trying to frame it to his benefit, irrespective of how it all turns out. The book will either be “How I Convicted Donald Trump” or “How The Prosecution Screwed Up All The Genius I Gave Them”.
And, yes, we do actually know what might be brought, the only truly viable crime is a pissant misdemeanor. To get to a felony, they are almost certainly going to have to try to enhance the misdemeanor through charging is as part of financial crimes. Financial crimes that both DOJ and Manhattan DA have steadfastly refused to charge before. The whole thing looks to be dubious, at least at this point.
I would love to see Trump convicted on something, but I hate this noisy and contrived political posturing by Bragg and Willis before they have ever even indicted anyone. It is repulsive. Norm Eisen is a really decent guy, but his proclivity to hyperbole is a career constant. I’ll await something better.
The real problem is that journalists have become lazy. Throughout Trump’s campaigns and presidency and down to the present, they sit on Twitter waiting for a story. They get one that they know will be click bait and the write about it.
Few do any real investigating or reporting. Fewer still educate themselves about what they are reporting. It is just too hard to do those things. Much easier to watch Twitter and write shallow stories, with little analysis, about whatever comes up.
Too bad Musk doesn’t just ban all journalists from Twitter. Then they’d have to do some real work.
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Like I posted a few days before. Trump is going to have on his brightest orange face paint, thickest raccoon fur and tightest girdle for the spectacle of the century. It will be the WWE powered by dumb juice. Regardless of what is negotiated (or “supposed” to happen), Trump and his minions like Stone are going to make this over the top.
Then they’ll collect him before 7am, possibly even before 6am, and take him into the courthouse by the back door.
It’s good to see that the offices of DA Bragg have made some significant headway over the past year in possibly bringing Trump directly to legal consequence for the many frauds and other crimes he has undoubtedly committed within the jurisdiction of NYC and NY state for many years. Along with all who Trump seeks to be afraid, I wish them well in any indictment or arrest that may be forthcoming against Trump, especially if they’ve got the goods.
Not unexpectedly but unfortunately, there was John Bolton talking on MSNBC about how Bragg’s office better have the goods on Trump or this will be great for Trump’s Presidential campaign in 2024. Bolton could not help but get in an additional stupid “zinger” on how he felt that Trump didn’t have the wits to actually pull off a coup and therefore somehow that made the riot at the Capitol (magically!) not an insurrection. Sorry, John, but just because you ain’t that bright doesn’t mean you can’t be convicted for doing something(s) really stupid(ly)… yes, the guilt by association is strong in John, an individual who, like Trump (John’s most recent former benefactor in DC) soils all around him when he opens his yap.
He fucked a sex worker then paid her to cover it up. And then, in his efforts to cover that up, Trump engaged in some dodgy corporate accounting. – emptywheel
Since there are some lawyers on this blog, I have a question that has dogged me for a while – about a similar thing done to Karen McDougal. At the time, there also was a “finding” that David Pecker used “catch and kill” to obtain her silence and considered that a campaign contribution as well. David Pecker got immunity for cooperating. Cohen got jail for not. In both cases, individual 1 was the prime mover. (ps, isn’t that conspiracy too?) So, if individual 1 gets charged for the first (Stormy), why wouldn’t he get charged for the second one as well? And – wouldn’t two instances show a pattern of criminal behavior? I am not a lawyer, it just seems inconsistent to me. Would appreciate gentle rebutting as I am not trying to break any rules on this site.
Monday’s witness is an attorney provided by Trump to Cohen who’s expected to testify that Cohen, a former lawyer for Trump who copped a plea partly related to what Trump May be indicted for and did time for same, is an untrustworthy witness and the Trump lawyer so testifying is truthful, trustworthy, etc.
But then, like all the Party of Trump electoral BS, it seems that while it resonates as much as ever with the base, it repels voters outside said base.
As for mindless speculation, I expect that it will go to the grand jury maybe this week or soon after. I believe today’s witness is the last one that will be appearing.
As for our exceptional press:
Marcy is too kind. Even if they know better, they don’t let that knowledge affect their reporting as she shows. So they’re fully complicit.
Too, I marvel how the media owners use their Right to Own a Free Press to spew societally-harmful BS 24/7/365. It’s really amazing, even exceprtional.
It is irrelevant how Costello came to represent Cohen (by the way, do you have a cite for the fact Trump paid for it personally?), the fact is Costello did represent Cohen. The better question is, without a waiver by Cohen, how is Costello going to testify as to matters he knows from representing Cohen?
Also, good to know that the First Amendment is what you think it is. Without the First, this blog could not function, but, sure, shit on the press you don’t like and claim it is the evil 1st.
Is Costello freed from the atty/client proscription because Cohen was convicted of a crime they may have discussed ?
Clients discuss their possible commission of crimes with their lawyers all the time; sometimes they’re prosecuted and convicted for them.
But privilege belongs to the client, who must affirmatively waive it. The rule is subject to limited exceptions, such as the crime-fraud exception, but mere conviction does not constitute a waiver. Just the opposite.
Thank you for the clarification, both of you.
Costello is not a presumptively trustworthy witness.
Costello is speaking to the media after the Grand Jury, and he said that Cohen signed a waiver.
He is saying that he does not, nor never has, represented Trump. He is saying he tried to give the Grand Jury 500+ pages of information on Cohen, in an attempt to impugn Cohen’s character.
He is saying that Cohen was suicidal when they met. That Stormy Daniels approached Cohen. That Cohen cooked up the whole paying Stormy Daniels thing, on his own
He is claiming 330 emails, plus memos from meetings with the FBI, Congressional Intelligence committees and other documents he is going to release to the press because Bragg won’t present it all to the GJ.
He just claimed that Giuliani is his client.
His last thing was he had a prepared press release that he was handing out to everyone present.
Michael Cohen will be live on MSNBC in 3 min
Cohen claims that he did not exercise a waiver for Costello to testify.
Of course Cohen didn’t. But did he formally object, or move to quash testimony by Costello, to the supervisory court? That is the real question.
To be followed up by the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills!
Michael Cohen “could” have been made a credible witness, like happens every day with tainted government witnesses, but he has proved himself nothing more than a self serving, book promoting clown. What he says now is promotion.
For what it’s worth, Costello is misspeaking; the sex worker didn’t approach Cohen.
in 2018 David Pecker said Stormy Daniel’s lawyer approached him and Pecker in turn reached out to Cohen to broker the deal.
Cohen asked Pecker to buy the story but Pecker declined; something about a porn star and his magazine’s standards…
To refresh in 2018 Pecker testified in exchange for immunity in the case of a Trump payoff to a different sex worker (the one discussed in the Trump- Cohen recording) and was seen with his attorney in the courthouse where the grand jury meets again on Jan 31 2023.