As recently as ten days ago, the headlines insisted that the DOJ couldn’t possibly be targeting Donald Trump on anything, and that the Manhattan DA criminal probe against Trump was dead – even as the lack of headlines about the New York Attorney General’s Trump probe gave some the impression that it had faded away.
But as I’m often fond of pointing out, a lack of recent headlines about a criminal probe never automatically correlates with a lack of recent action or progress in that probe. Instead it simply means that whatever progress has been playing out of late, it’s been behind the scenes – which is where 99% of the progress happens in such probes. And as we keep seeing, even overtly negative headlines insisting that a probe is dead, or doesn’t exist, frequently turn out to have been nothing more than ratings-driven doomsday hysteria.
Sure enough, over the past tend days, the story has changed entirely on all three major fronts. We now have confirmation that the DOJ is targeting Trump for stealing classified documents, and that the DOJ has had a January 6th grand jury targeting Trump world for months. That’s right, the DOJ is in fact investigating Trump, and has been for awhile, in spite of all the pundit hand-wringing about how such a probe couldn’t possibly exist.
We’re also now seeing New York Attorney General Letitia James significantly ramping up her moves against Donald Trump, going so far as to ask a judge to hold Trump in contempt of court for his failure to testify. Contempt of court is a criminal offense, and it could be James’ first step in shifting her civil probe against the Trump Organization into a criminal probe against Trump himself.
And now we have Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg emphatically insisting that he has not dropped the criminal case against Trump, and that his team is in fact continuing to obtain new evidence against Trump.
In other words, all these doomsday headlines we’ve been seeing about Trump having “gotten away with it all” are now being directly refuted by the people doing the investigating. It looks like the media is 0-for-3 when it comes to its recent doomsday predictions about these three probes. That’s what happens when you merely focus on crafting whatever doomsday narrative is going to get the highest ratings and page views, instead of sticking to covering how these kinds of probes actually work.
It’s the latest reminder that you simply cannot take doomsday headlines at face value when they insist that any given Trump probe is “dead” or has “gone dormant” or “can’t possibly exist.” Such headlines are ultimately proven false most of the time. Trump hasn’t “gotten away” with anything. To claim otherwise, you’d either need to have little understanding of how these kinds of probes work, or a willingness to deceive audiences in the name of chasing ratings and page views.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report