The Manhattan grand jury didn’t meet yesterday and is not meeting today, and nobody is saying why. Well, some of the right-wing sites say it’s because District Attorney Bragg was accused of “withholding evidence.” but their “evidence” of this is that Robert J. Costello, the Trump lawyer who testified a couple of days ago, said that Michael Cohen was lying. Um, this is not “withholding evidence.” And who’s to say it wasn’t Costello who was lying?
Everybody knows that Michael Cohen is something of a hinky witness. I am assuming Alvin Bragg understands this better than I do, and that his case doesn’t depend entirely on Michael Cohen, and that whatever Michael Cohen said has been checked and corroborated. If it turns out that isn’t true, then we can all dump on Alvin Bragg. But nobody really knows what evidence the grand jury has seen, except for the grand jurors and Alvin Bragg and his team.
And nobody knows when they’ll vote on an indictment.
Meanwhile, the big crowds of Trump supporters standing up for their guy have not exactly materialized anywhere.
Some of the MAGAts are waiting for more instruction.
Distrustful that protests might be “traps” set by federal law enforcement and without a fixed date or event to rally around, the vast majority of pro-Trump online groups seemed to waver between apathy and confusion, showing very little appetite for organized action. “He’s not infallible and protest is very vague,” one person wrote in a popular MAGA Telegram group. “And what exactly does “Protest, Protest!!!” mean?” another person asked in a different group. “I’m not trying to be a jerk but you’d think he could give slightly more explicit instructions if he really wanted the tens of millions of people who support him to do something effective.”
I wondered that myself when so much of the initial chatter from the Right was about surrounding Mar-a-Lago to keep anyone from going in to arrest Trump. Initial reports were that Trump intends to voluntarily show up in Manhattan for his arraignment. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he changes his mind, however. I’ll come back to this.
A review of more than two dozen popular pro-Trump Telegram channels, online forums, and social media groups also suggests that many supporters feel betrayed by what they see as the former President’s abandonment of those who rallied for him on Jan. 6, 2021.
“Why would I protest for a man that left the [Jan. 6 protesters] high and dry?” one user posted in a pro-Trump Telegram group. “Trump did nothing to help them after they stuck [their] neck out for him.”
“Has he called for protests about these poor guys? No. But he’s calling for us to protest about his arrest,” another person wrote. “It doesn’t sit right with me.” Another user agreed: “He’s right. Trump betrayed the J6 patriots. How can anybody still support [him]?”
There are reports that Trump wants to do a public “perp walk” in handcuffs. I am skeptical of this. There are also reports that he doesn’t want to be seen in handcuffs. I doubt anyone intends to handcuff him. There are reports that he is fundraising on the indictment threat.
The right-wing message boards want Trump to fight the indictment.
As the days go by and anticipation builds for this turning point in American history, pro-Trump commentators and far-right message boards are increasingly urging Trump to put up a fight.
“While I can’t claim to know how President Trump would respond in this situation, I know what I would do if I were in Trump’s position,” far-right radio host Stew Peters told The Daily Beast, “and it wouldn’t include voluntary surrender to bogus ‘authorities’ from New York.”
If he chooses to take a stand at Mar-a-Lago, that means Alvin Bragg will have to ask Florida to extradict Trump, meaning Ron DeSantis will get involved. And I am not predicting what DeSantis might do. He might approve the extradition, he might sit on it a while, he might deny it. Anything is possible. And it’s possible that if this looming indictment drama drags on much longer, Trump might change his mind about cooperating.
As I understand it, his lawyers are probably begging him to surrender voluntarily if he wants to actually beat the rap. If there are any holes in Alvin Bragg’s case, it’s going to be harder for Trump to exploit those holes if he tried to avoid arrest.