Dem 51
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Bragg about to Win Trump Indictment Marathon?

There have been many stories about how close Donald Trump is to being indicted for one crime or another. And yesterday, The New York Times added another to the pile, involving the investigation that Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg is conducting into the hush-money payment Trump made to Stormy Daniels.

The new information is this: Bragg has invited Trump to testify before the grand jury that is considering the Daniels matter. Is is extremely unlikely that Trump will accept that invitation, or course. However, the Times' reporting, backed by input from numerous experts in prosecutorial conduct, is that an offer like this is generally a sign that criminal charges are both likely and imminent.

The story does not actually spell out how much time there is in an "imminent," but a few weeks to a month seems to be in line with the general tenor of the piece. The basic idea is that hearing from the would-be defendant is essentially the last step in the process. And so, once Trump says "no, thanks," it will be up to Bragg to complete the paperwork and then present it to a judge. That's not all that complicated a job, since the question being considered is pretty simple, involving only one criminal act and one potential defendant.

Assuming charges do come down, we can see two possible effects. The first is that it might give cover to other folks who are investigating Trump (e.g., Fulton County DA Fani Willis, Special Counsel Jack Smith) to make their moves. It's much harder to be first than it is to be second or third, especially when we're talking about the first indictment of a former president in American history.

The second effect, again assuming an indictment comes down, is that Trump will portray himself as a victim and a scapegoat being persecuted by corrupt Democrats, the Deep State, etc. This will almost certainly become the central theme of his campaigning and his fundraising, at least for a while. And it would be our guess that it will work, at least for now, and that his polling numbers will go up. If and when he is convicted, that could change the calculus. But for now, again assuming Bragg makes a move, polls of the GOP presidential field will have to be taken with many grains of salt for many months as we wait to see if there's a bounce, and then to see if it's a real bounce or just a dead cat bounce. (Z)

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