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No Arrest, But...

Donald Trump was not arrested yesterday. No big surprise. Though he did raise a bunch of money off the claim that his arrest was imminent. Also, no big surprise. It's always about the grift.

Though there may not have been an arrest, Trump nonetheless did not have a good day yesterday. In terms of the thing he really cares about, which is teeming hordes of people expressing their undying love for him, Tuesday was a disappointment. The MAGA protesters in New York City were outnumbered and outshouted by the anti-Trump protesters, and it wasn't especially close. Overall, online chatter suggests that far fewer Trumpers are willing to stick their necks out for the former president, even when he's arrested (assuming he is).

In terms of things Trump cares far less about than he should, there was very bad news for him in federal court. In short, Judge Beryl Howell, right at the end of her time as chief judge, ruled that special counsel Jack Smith had successfully made the case that the former president committed crimes when he held on to the classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

This finding does not make Trump guilty, of course. In fact, the bar that will need to be cleared for that finding, by a jury of Trump's peers, is rather higher than the one Smith cleared last week. However, Howell's finding has a rather significant implication for the prosecution: attorney-client privilege can be pierced, and Trump's lawyers (some of them, at least) can be compelled to give information to Smith and to the grand jury.

And it goes beyond that. It would appear that Trump lied to his lawyers, specifically to Evan Corcoran, about what documents he had kept. That effectively made Corcoran an unwitting accessory to a potential crime. So, when he talks to the grand jury, he will have extra motivation to be very forthright with them. At the same time, this effectively hands the prosecution the core elements of an obstruction of justice case.

There is still much that is unknown here, and even the things that are known involve some guesswork and some reading between the lines. However, former Mueller probe assistant Andrew Weissmann was on MSNBC yesterday and opined that if the facts are as they seem to be, Trump's in deep trouble here. Among the many other places where he is also in trouble. (Z)

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