As a Possible Indictment Looms, Trump's Team Plans to Attack - The New York Times


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  jbb  •  2 weeks ago  •  14 comments

By:   Maggie Haberman (nytimes)

As a Possible Indictment Looms, Trump's Team Plans to Attack - The New York Times
If the former president faces criminal charges, his campaign plans to begin a broad offensive against Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney and a Democrat, accusing him of political bias.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

If the former president faces criminal charges, his campaign plans to begin a broad offensive against Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney and a Democrat, accusing him of political bias.

Prosecutors in New York have signaled that Donald J. Trump could potentially become the first former American president to be indicted.Credit...Desiree Rios/The New York Timesauthor-maggie-haberman-thumbLarge.png

By Maggie Haberman

March 16, 2023Updated 5:17 p.m. ET

As former President Donald J. Trump faces likely criminal charges, his campaign is preparing to wage a political war.

With an indictment looming from the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, Mr. Trump's campaign is laying the groundwork for a broad attack on Mr. Bragg, a Democrat. According to two of Mr. Trump's political allies, the campaign will aim to portray any charges as part of a coordinated offensive by the Democratic Party against Mr. Trump, who is trying to become only the second former president to win a new term after leaving office.

It is unclear what data points, if any, the Trump team plans to point to beyond Mr. Bragg's party registration in order to make a case that the district attorney is part of a broader political conspiracy against the former president. It is also uncertain whether Mr. Trump will add lawyers to his legal defense team or bring on a communications adviser to play a more traditional role of responding to what will be a crush of media questions related to a potential indictment.

Mr. Trump's two allies said his campaign was adding staff members, particularly to focus on pushing out their message and their attacks on the prosecutors. In addition, the campaign has been putting together a database listing everyone — members of Congress, legal experts, media figures — who have cast doubts on the strength of the district attorney's case, the allies said.

Specifically, his campaign team plans on trying to connect Mr. Bragg's investigation into Mr. Trump to President Biden, who is expected to seek re-election. The Justice Department has spent months investigating Mr. Trump in separate inquiries into his possession of hundreds of classified documents at his private club, Mar-a-Lago, and his efforts to remain in power after losing the 2020 election.

Those efforts led to the most visible moment when Mr. Trump focused the anger of his supporters on the institutions of government, the lead-up to the violent riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Underscoring the degree to which Mr. Trump's campaign is again relying on outrage from his supporters, a campaign official maintained that the nation would not "tolerate" the prosecution and would see it as an effort to influence the 2024 election.

"President Donald J. Trump is completely innocent, he did nothing wrong, and even the biggest, most radical left Democrats are making that clear," said Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesman. He listed a series of other investigations that Mr. Trump has faced and referred to the Manhattan case as "the nuclear button," calling it a "political donation" by Mr. Bragg "to Joe Biden." And the Trump team plans to highlight a donation to a political action committee made by the philanthropist George Soros, a subject of frequent right-wing attacks, that was intended to help Mr. Bragg.

A spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney's office declined to comment.

Mr. Trump's allies say that tying Mr. Biden to what is taking place in Manhattan will be a key aspect of the campaign's response. And the degree to which the Trump team plans to make a history-making indictment of a former president a central campaign message is likely to set a new political precedent.

"A Trump indictment will immediately be added to his campaign platform and talking points, another first in presidential politics," said Scott Reed, a veteran Republican strategist who has observed Mr. Trump and presidential campaigns for decades.

While he was in office, Mr. Trump was shielded by a Justice Department policy against indicting a sitting president.

How Times reporters cover politics. We rely on our journalists to be independent observers. So while Times staff members may vote, they are not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money to, or raising money for, any political candidate or election cause.

Already, Mr. Trump has spent the better part of two years attacking Mr. Bragg, who is Black, as "racist" and as continuing efforts to harm him, after two impeachment inquiries and a two-year special counsel investigation into whether he obstructed justice and whether his 2016 campaign conspired with Russians.

But since declaring his third presidential campaign in November, Mr. Trump has made attacking the investigators an increasingly intense focus.

Other political allies of Mr. Trump made clear that there would be efforts to highlight how his Republican rivals handle the news of any indictment, and whether they endorse it or defend him. Mr. Trump's allies said his advisers believed the issue could tie some of his opponents in knots, particularly his closest prospective opponent in public polls, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida.

Mr. Trump has often subjected anyone who investigates him or holds him to scrutiny to slashing attacks. It remains to be seen whether the campaign's approach will be more of the same, or will deploy new tactics, such as television ads.

When Mr. Trump was in office and facing the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, some of his lawyers initially tried to follow the playbook established by aides to President Bill Clinton during his impeachment inquiry in the 1990s. In that case, separate, parallel operations were created so the work of the government could continue.

But Mr. Trump, who often conflates legal and public relations issues, rejected that idea. So there was only briefly a designated spokesman handling press questions.

People involved in Mr. Trump's legal case have discussed bringing on a new lawyer to add to the existing team of Susan Necheles, a Manhattan criminal defense lawyer, and Joe Tacopina, a New York lawyer with a brawler's attitude.

Mr. Tacopina has been an aggressive defender of Mr. Trump on television. On Tuesday on MSNBC, Mr. Tacopina made several points attacking the credibility of the key witness, Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump's former lawyer and fixer. But other comments he made left some of Mr. Trump's allies stunned by what he was articulating.

Mr. Tacopina bluntly stated that there was a political benefit to Mr. Trump from an indictment.

"If they bring this case, I believe this will catapult him into the White House," Mr. Tacopina said of Mr. Trump on MSNBC. "I believe it, because this will show how they're weaponizing the justice system."

Mr. Tacopina insisted that what Mr. Trump did — signing off on reimbursement payments to Mr. Cohen, who had made a $130,000 hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels, the porn star who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump — was done at Mr. Cohen's suggestion and "was not a crime."

At one point, as the interviewer, Ari Melber, was reading from a piece of paper, Mr. Tacopina tried to grab it unsuccessfully across the set. When Mr. Tacopina was pushed on why Mr. Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One in 2018 that he did not know about the payments, he insisted it was not a lie.

"A lie to me is something material under oath in a procedure," Mr. Tacopina told Mr. Melber.

"Here's why it's not a lie," Mr. Tacopina added. "Because it was a confidential settlement. So, if he acknowledged that, he would be violating the confidential settlement."

He went on: "So, is it the truth? Of course it's not the truth. Was he supposed to tell the truth? He would be in violation of the agreement if he told the truth. So, by him doing that, by him doing that, he was abiding by not only his rights, but Stormy Daniels's rights."

Jonah E. Bromwich contributed reporting.


jrDiscussion - desc
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JBB    2 weeks ago


PhD Guide
1.1  Snuffy  replied to  JBB @1    2 weeks ago

Except the Manhattan district attorney is investigating possible campaign contribution issues and is not investigating the Jan 6th incident.  So your meme is off-topic, better get a new one.

With that said, they all better get busy and prevent Trump from running again and fucking up the 24 election cycle.  Come on,  they just got to have him this time..

Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1.1.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Snuffy @1.1    2 weeks ago

If the GOP were to run Trump as their candidate, they will probably be as successful as they would be running Alfred E Neuman. 


Actually, if there were a contest as to which of the two were to be the GOP candidate for the 2024 election, I think it would end up being a very close race.  No matter which one would win out, it shouldn't make much difference for those who would have supported Trump anyway. . 

Professor Principal
1.1.2  seeder  JBB  replied to  Snuffy @1.1    2 weeks ago


Professor Quiet
1.1.3  Ronin2  replied to  JBB @1.1.2    2 weeks ago

Democrats the party of illegal immigrants, criminals, and porn stars.

That is a great rallying cry!

Professor Principal
1.1.4  Tessylo  replied to  Snuffy @1.1    2 weeks ago

With all the indictments/civil suits all of the crimes committed by the maga-turd it's hard to keep them straight.

There you go, always defending the indefensible.

Professor Principal
1.1.5  Tessylo  replied to  Ronin2 @1.1.3    2 weeks ago

That's the gqp.  The maga-turd can't get laid unless paying for it and then has to hush them up by committing campaign fraud.

PhD Guide
1.1.6  Snuffy  replied to  Tessylo @1.1.4    2 weeks ago

Maybe you should go back and re-read what  you responded to.  Because  you are so fucking wrong again it's a wonder how you manage to do anything at all.

But if you can't then by all means continue with your imaginative use of the keyboard.

PhD Guide
1.1.7  Snuffy  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1.1    2 weeks ago

I don't want Trump to run, would rather he just go back to Mar-a-Lago and write his memoirs.  That's why I said the last line in my post.  With all these investigations, can't they get a move on already?

I'm not looking forward to the 24 election.  I cannot vote for Biden, IMO he's a failure and needs to be replaced.  But the Republicans are not doing enough to get rid of Trump so he will play spoiler and mess up the election.  

PhD Quiet
1.1.8  Jack_TX  replied to  Snuffy @1.1.7    2 weeks ago
With all these investigations, can't they get a move on already?

He is the primary campaign tool for Democrats.  They need him to fight De Santis.

It wasn't a coincidence that the Jan 6 hearings took place during the midterm election cycle.

PhD Guide
1.1.9  Snuffy  replied to  Jack_TX @1.1.8    2 weeks ago
He is the primary campaign tool for Democrats. 

yeah,  he is and the Democrats know it.  And not just DeSantis, it's anybody who throws their hat into the ring.  It's a simple fact that with Trump the Republican vote is split which can only mean good things for the Democrat candidate.

It wasn't a coincidence that the Jan 6 hearings took place during the midterm election cycle.

But they will need more than just this Manhattan DA as this is really just a campaign finance violation, they will have to stretch a bit to even make any potential indictment a felony.  It by itself won't make much difference in the long run.

Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1.1.10  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Snuffy @1.1.7    one week ago

I don't want Biden to run either.  My being 86 and aware of my present limitations (which thankfully is a sign that I'm still lucid) and assuming that others in their 80s have theirs, I would certainly think that a younger person would be preferable.  But the big question is, who can the Democrats produce for the candidacy?

Professor Quiet
2  Ronin2    2 weeks ago

Trump will have no problem attacking Bragg- he will just use Bragg's record.

Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said Sunday that Manhattan’s new district attorney Alvin Bragg is “handcuffing the police” and blamed his election on George Soros, claiming the billionaire has “effectively destroyed the criminal justice system in America.”

Bratton, speaking on John Catsimatidis’ Sunday radio show, said the new DA is a “recipe for disaster.”

“He’s well-intended in the sense that he’s trying to find a way to address some of the issues of the past,” Bratton said. “You don’t address the issues of the past by effectively decriminalizing just about everything in New York City.”

Bragg, a Democratic, kept to his campaign promise during his first week in office and told his staff to only seek prison time for those who commit the most severe crimes.

“Reserving incarceration for matters involving significant harm will make us safer,” Bragg wrote in a Jan. 3 memo to staff, outlining his “key principles” that include investing in “diversion and alternatives to incarceration,” reducing pre-trial jail-time, a focus on “accountability not sentence length,” and limiting youth being tried as adults.

“The DA is effectively handcuffing the police,” Bratton said of Bragg’s progressive vision, “basically saying they don’t have any confidence in the police force. They don’t trust them. They are effectively removing so many tools out of the toolbox … that we know kept New York safe for the last 30 years.”

The former commissioner slammed Bragg’s decision to not prosecute fare evasion — a policy that was already in place under former DA Cy Vance.

Bratton said Bragg poses a difficult challenge for the new mayor Eric Adams, who has promised a return to broken-windows policing and campaigned on his tough-on-crime approach.

“I don’t know how Mr. Adams is going to do that when the DA is effectively handcuffing the police,” he said.

New York City bodega owners are calling on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to drop murder charges against a clerk who killed an ex-con that attacked him.

United Bodegas of America officials announced Saturday they would meet with the prosecutor on Tuesday to discuss Jose Alba’s case.

Their calls for mercy come as City Council members on both sides of the aisle  asked the embattled district attorney to drop the charges  against Alba, 61, who was  seen on camera fighting off an attack  from Austin Simon, 35, before he fatally stabbed him on July 1. 

Mayor Eric Adams, meanwhile, on Thursday  expressed sympathy  with the “hard-working” and “honest” corner store employee, while stopping short of explicitly criticizing the prosecutorial decisions Bragg’ office made. 

Footage showed Simon going behind the counter at Hamilton Heights Grocery on Broadway and West 139th Street in Manhattan when his girlfriend could not produce enough money to purchase a bag of chips.

Alba stabbed Austin five times after he was pushed into a shelf, officials said. The clerk was then allegedly stabbed by Austin’s girlfriend in the shoulder and hand.

“Mr. Alba was clearly defending himself from a younger & stronger man who assaulted him,” wrote UBA President Radhames Rodriguez.

“There was no time for Mr. Alba to think when his life was in danger. The video tapes clearly show who the aggressor was in this case. Austin Simon went behind the counter to beat Jose Alba and possibly kill him, Jose simply defended himself with whatever he could get his hands on.”

The group is planning to hold a news conference Monday morning in the Bronx.

Alba was released from Riker’s Island on $50,000 bail Thursday. Leaders of the bodega association said he could not afford a defense attorney.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is so against sending people to jail or prison that he’s ignoring state law to avoid it — a law intended to protect first responders, to boot.

Specifically, his office is refusing to bring felony charges against a Harlem hospital patient who viciously assaulted a nurse. 

Nikcia Martin left veteran nurse Valentino Tablang bloodied and afraid of losing sight in oneeye with a random attack on Feb. 7. Cops charged Martin with felony assault,as the state penal code requires in cases of attacks on nurses doing their jobs — but Bragg’s office downgraded it to a misdemeanor charge.

That’s right: In the rare instances where our state penal code still actually mandates meaningful punishments, Bragg will blatantly subvert it. No wonder felony crimes in the city have hit highs not seen in more than a decade. 

Of course, Bragg’s flacks cloak the ugly deed in the usual progressive platitudes. The lesser charges “take into account” Martin’s “underlying mental health needs.” Huh? If those “needs” make her a menace, the DA should be rushing to get her committed, not making it a get-out-of-jail-free card. 

Also, what about the public-safety needs of nurses? And not just nurses: The same law mandates felony charges for on-the-job attacks on cops, firefighters, sanitation workers and a whole spectrum of other essential city workers. Bragg is telling them they’re on their own, too. 

Plus, Tablang says the DA’s office told him it simply didn’t have time to deal with the felony case. We get that other insane criminal justice “reforms” (burdensome discovery rules) hamstring prosecutors and leave DA offices short-staffed — but if that crisis means the best-funded DA in the entire nation can’t protect health-care workers, Bragg should be sounding the alarm daily.

Count this outrage as one more sign that the Manhattan DA thinks he’s supposed to serve lawbreakers, not law-abiding citizens. 

Bragg reminds me of another lawyer that leftists gushed over to the point they anointed him the next president, a certain Michael Avenatti. Hopefully Bragg will follow Avenatti to prison.

Professor Quiet
3  bbl-1    one week ago

The dweller from Mar-a-Lago always attacks anything and everything that has even a shred of truth, decency and honor.  He is truly the 'dead animal' in the bottom of the well.


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