Once the Manhattan District Attorney’s criminal probe into the finances of Donald Trump and the Trump Organization became public knowledge in 2019, the overriding narrative of the 2020 election was that Trump knew he was facing the dismantling of his life and potential prison time if he lost.
It explained why Trump made the risky move of trying to conspire with Ukraine to alter the outcome of the election – which he had to know could get him impeached if he got caught (and of course this happened). It explained why he put himself at risk of eventual criminal prosecution by illegally trying to tamper with election officials in Georgia, Arizona, and elsewhere (the Fulton County DA in Georgia indeed now has a grand jury empaneled against him).
It also explains why after Trump lost, he made the desperate move of inciting a ridiculously ramshackle insurrection that had no chance of succeeding and had a good chance of blowing up in his face; he knew what New York prosecutors had in store for him if he was indeed forced to leave office. Trump ended up costing himself his social media presence, and any real shot in 2024, by inciting that insurrection. But he still had to try it, because leaving office would mean the end of him anyway.
Yet for whatever combination of reasons, the media largely ignored this overriding narrative that has dictated Trump’s every move for the past few years. It was never clear why the media didn’t simply point out that Trump was doing all of this because he knew he was facing prison in New York if he lost. And because so few in the media were willing to say it, Palmer Report took a lot of heat (from the left and right) for daring to say it.
But now that the long-inevitable indictments have finally started to come down, a whole lot of the public is finally seeing it: Donald Trump is facing prison. Even though some pundits who are mugging for the TV cameras are still busy trying to push the longtime media narrative that Trump will get away with it all, the widely respected Brookings Institution is agreeing with us.
The Brookings Institution (often incorrectly referred to as the “Brookings Institute”) has published a lengthy paper spelling out why Donald Trump is at what it calls “serious risk” of criminal indictment in New York. Of course it’s been clear since 2019 that if Trump lost the election he’d end up being indicted in New York sometime in 2021. But at least they’re coming around.
We’ll also remind everyone that these specific kinds of financial charges result in near-automatic conviction, so if you’re acknowledging that Trump is at serious risk of indictment, then you’re also acknowledging that Trump is at serious risk of going to prison, whether you realize it or not. We’ve said for years that if Trump lost the election, New York would put him in prison for financial crimes, and now here we are.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report