(breitbart) – A grand jury in New York has indicted former President Donald Trump, according to emerging reports.
“A Manhattan grand jury voted to indict Donald J. Trump on Thursday for his role in paying hush money to a porn star, according to four people with knowledge of the matter, a historic development that will shake up the 2024 presidential race and forever mark him as the nation’s first former president to face criminal charges,” the New York Times reported on Thursday evening.
“The felony indictment, filed under seal by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, will likely be announced in the coming days. By then, prosecutors working for the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, will have asked Mr. Trump to surrender and to face arraignment on charges that remain unknown for now.”
Trump, reacting to the news, bashed the decision as “Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history.”
From the time I came down the golden escalator at Trump Tower, and even before I was sworn in as your President of the United States, the Radical Left Democrats – the enemy of the hard-working men and women of this Country – have been engaged in a Witch-Hunt to destroy the Make America Great Again movement,” Trump said in a statement responding to the news he has been indicted. “You remember it just like I do: Russia, Russia, Russia; the Mueller Hoax; Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine; Impeachment Hoax 1; Impeachment Hoax 2; the illegal and unconstitutional Mar-a-Lago raid; and now this. The Democrats have lied, cheated and stolen in their obsession with trying to ‘Get Trump,’ but now they’ve done the unthinkable – indicting a completely innocent person in an act of blatant Election Interference. Never before in our Nation’s history has this been done. The Democrats have cheated countless times over the decades, including spying on my campaign, but weaponizing our justice system to punish a political opponent, who just so happens to be a President of the United States and by far the leading Republican candidate for President, has never happened before. Ever. Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, who was hand-picked and funded by George Soros, is a disgrace. Rather than stopping the unprecedented crime wave taking over New York City, he’s doing Joe Biden’s dirty work, ignoring the murders and burglaries and assaults he should be focused on. This is how Bragg spends his time!
Trump added that he believes this will “backfire” on Democrat President Joe Biden, who he aims to defeat in next year’s general election.
“I believe this Witch-Hunt will backfire massively on Joe Biden,” Trump said. “The American people realize exactly what the Radical Left Democrats are doing here. Everyone can see it. So our Movement, and our Party – united and strong – will first defeat Alvin Bragg, and then we will defeat Joe Biden, and we are going to throw every last one of these Crooked Democrats out of office so we can MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
Several other media outlets have since confirmed the reports, ranging from the Washington Post to Axios and more.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office issued a statement on Thursday evening confirming that Trump has been indicted, that the indictment remains under seal for now, and that the District Attorney’s office has been in touch with Trump’s lawyers about having the former president surrender for arraignment.
As for now, it remains unclear how and if Trump will appear in New York to face the charges but several reports in recent weeks have indicated that U.S. Secret Service agents assigned to Trump’s detail have been working with local officials in Bragg’s office to coordinate such a possibility.
“Mr. Bragg and his lawyers will likely attempt to negotiate Mr. Trump’s surrender,” the Times added in its report. “If he agrees, it will raise the prospect of a former president, with the Secret Service in tow, being photographed and fingerprinted in the bowels of a New York State courthouse. The prosecution’s star witness is Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer who paid the $130,000 to keep Ms. Daniels quiet. Mr. Cohen has said that Mr. Trump directed him to buy Ms. Daniels’s silence, and that Mr. Trump and his family business, the Trump Organization, helped cover the whole thing up. The company’s internal records falsely identified the reimbursements as legal expenses, which helped conceal the purpose of the payments.”
Trump is the first former president in American history to face criminal charges. Exactly how many charges he faces, and exactly what those charges are, remains unclear though CNN–citing anonymous sources–says the former president faces upwards of 30 different counts.
Since Trump is running again for president as well, this news would also throw a serious curveball into the political calculus for the 2024 presidential campaign–both in a primary and a general election. Several of Trump’s declared and possible rivals in the 2024 GOP primary denounced Bragg after Trump announced last weekend he expected to be indicted soon, and how each handled their response to it was critical for the possible or actual candidacies of each.
What’s more, congressional Republicans raced to respond to the news last week as well–with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy directing not one but three separate congressional panels to investigate Bragg in response. Bragg brushed off initial inquiries into the matter from House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. James Comer (R-KY), House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), and House Administration Committee chairman Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI). Their response from here is almost certainly going to escalate.
Trump, for the last couple weeks, has criticized Bragg and his office, insisting that he is innocent and questioning why he would face charges. Trump also called for protests in response, something critics have latched onto to suggest he is intent on summoning a violent mob to do his bidding. Threats and suspicious packages received by Bragg’s office have only heightened scrutiny, and a photograph that appeared on Trump’s Truth Social account last week as part of an article he linked to criticizing Bragg further escalated matters.
Reactions to the news have been streaming in since it first broke Thursday evening, with several Republicans bashing the decision to indict Trump.
“This is not an indictment of a crime—there was no crime—instead, this news is the indictment of a failed nation,” Taylor Budowich, the CEO of Make America Great Again Inc., the pro-Trump 2024 Super PAC, said. “President Trump is promising to peacefully end the war in Ukraine, dismantle the deep state, and save our country by putting America first. For that, the political elites and powerbrokers have weaponized government to try and stop him. They will fail. He will be re-elected in the greatest landslide in American history, and together we will all Make America Great Again.”
House GOP conference chairwoman Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) said this only solidifies her decision to endorse Trump–which she did months ago when he announced he was running a third time for president–and that this move from Bragg proves he is “corrupt.”
“The unprecedented election interference from corrupt Socialist District Attorney Alvin Bragg is a political witch-hunt and a dark day for America,” Stefanik said. “The radical Far Left will stop at nothing to persecute Joe Biden’s chief political opponent ahead of the 2024 presidential election to suppress the will and voice of the American people.Tens of millions of patriotic Americans have never been so energized to exercise their constitutional rights to peacefully organize and VOTE at the ballot box to save our great republic by electing President Donald J. Trump in 2024.”
Ed Cox, the chairman of the New York state GOP, said in a statement that the indictment is a “miscarriage of justice, an outrageous violation of democratic norms and a travesty for our politics at home and reputation abroad.”
“Both the Southern District of New York and Joe Biden’s Department of Justice declined to pursue this matter. This is a blatant political scheme by Alvin Bragg to make a name for himself and play to his liberal Manhattan base by smearing, tearing down and demeaning former President Trump,” Cox added. “Alvin Bragg has already abdicated his basic responsibilities by releasing criminals back onto the streets to wreak havoc on New York’s citizens and minority communities in particular. He has brought further disgrace to his office with this political game. The great Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau is turning over in his grave.”
While some Democrats were exuberant and excited in their responses, some vulnerable Democrats were more measured–an indication of just how politically explosive this indictment is:
Even Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), one of Trump’s biggest critics and usually someone who parrots the hard left’s rhetoric, was careful in his first statement:
But Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who led the first impeachment of Trump for House Democrats, was giddy in his response:
So was Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN):
Schiff and Swalwell were both removed from the House Intelligence Committee by McCarthy when he took the Speakership earlier this year. The full House voted to strip Omar off the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as well, at McCarthy’s direction.