The Mahablog

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The Mahablog

Indictment Watch, Day 2

Trump’s lawyers are saying they haven’t been notified of an indictment yet. Trump’s declaration that he would be arrested on Tuesday appears to be about getting some protesters into Manhattan to intimidate the prosecutors. Alvin Bragg says he’s prepared for that. One suspects the NYPD is prepared as well. I understand that if indicted Trump would have to appear at the criminal court building at 100 Centre Street in Manhattan. So, wingnuts, that’s where you’ll want to be on Tuesday. I’m sure the NYPD will be there to greet you.

So what happens if Trump calls for riots and nobody riots? That would be interesting, too.

Today we learned that the Manhattan grand jury may hear from a Trump witness tomorrow. Michael Cohen says he’s been asked to be available as a rebuttal witness. From the New York Times:

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; it is unclear whether they have made a decision. 

The Trump witness is a lawyer named Robert J. Costello.

Mr. Costello is likely to argue that Mr. Cohen can’t be trusted. In 2018, as Mr. Cohen was facing the federal investigation into the hush money, a mutual friend introduced the two men. Mr. Costello offered to represent Mr. Cohen, and they spent hours meeting and speaking by phone.

As a Republican lawyer with ties to Mr. Trump’s legal team, Mr. Costello offered to serve as a bridge between Mr. Cohen and the president’s lawyers. At one point, Mr. Costello contacted one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers to ask if the president might pardon Mr. Cohen.

But the pardon never came, and Mr. Cohen never formally retained Mr. Costello. Mr. Cohen later waived their attorney-client privilege, Mr. Costello has said.

Their relationship worsened as Mr. Cohen broke from Mr. Trump, and became one of his primary antagonists.

One of the things the Manhattan prosecutor’s office is supposed to have been doing is going over all of Michael Cohen’s testimony to corroborate it or otherwise look for weak points or holes. If they’ve done that, I don’t see that Costello would be a problem. And the grand jury might decide they don’t want to hear from him.

And while there is no end of commentary out there about why Alvin Bragg probably has a weak case — based on what, I don’t know — it may not be nearly as weak as Trump and his lawyers think it is.

In other news — the Fetus People are working overtime to make sure the 2024 Republican presidential nominee is unelectable.

Leading antiabortion groups, fresh off their historic victory with the demise of Roe v. Wade, are drawing up plans for a new goal in the 2024 presidential election: Ensuring the Republican nominee promises to back nationwide restrictions on abortion.

One of the most influential groups, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, is likely to ask candidates to sign a pledge supporting a federal minimum limit on abortion at no later than 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Although 15 weeks isn’t acceptable to the true believers. They’d prefer 0 weeks.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, is exploring holding candidate forums or debates, where the issue of abortion would be front and center. And Students for Life Action is developing a survey asking candidates whether they’ll promise to appoint cabinet members who oppose abortion, such as in the justice and health departments; if they’d sign legislation to restrict abortions early in pregnancy; their stances on abortion pills and more.

“Our biggest challenge right now is making sure we get everyone on the record and for them to understand that we expect substantial action to be taken,” said Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life Action. She added: “We want to make sure that every candidate knows that they’re going to have to be ready to make their case for life.”

Go for it, Fetus People. And thanks for showing us once again that the old talking point about “we just want to return the decision to the states” was always a lie. Most of us knew that all along, but it’s nice to see it confirmed.