When Donald Trump announced a year ago that he was “moving” from Trump Tower in New York to Mar-a-Lago in Florida, it raised eyebrows because he hadn’t actually lived at either property in a few years. At the time there was debate about whether Trump was doing it to try to save money, or if he mistakenly thought that moving to Florida would protect him from criminal charges in New York.
Hindsight is now making things a bit more clear. Donald Trump is now just 64 days from being vulnerable to arrest. We don’t know when New York will arrest him on state charges, but we do know that the state has had a widely documented grand jury in the process of indicting him on financial charges for about a year. So it’s a matter of when, not if, Trump will be arrested.
At that point Trump will argue in court that he should be released on bail. Prosecutors will likely argue that Trump is an international flight risk, and a risk of giving U.S. intel to America’s enemies, and that he should be remanded. The judge could easily decide to split the difference by giving Trump house arrest, with his visits and communications supervised.
In such case, Trump would surely rather be under house arrest at a mansion like Mar-a-Lago with good weather year round, than in a New York City apartment. So it’s notable that Trump “moved” to Mar-a-Lago almost immediately after he learned that New York had a grand jury targeting him. It’s as if he wanted to establish Mar-a-Lago as his primary residence as soon as possible, in order to increase his odds of ultimately being able to convince the judge to let him serve his house arrest there.
There’s also another consideration. Trump’s creditors will come at him from all sides once he’s out of office. He’ll likely end up having to file personal bankruptcy as well as several corporate bankruptcies. Trump Tower, with its daunting debt structure, could be one of the first properties he loses. So he could be angling to argue in personal bankruptcy court that he should get to keep Mar-a-Lago because it’s been his primary residence for the past year.
In any case, it’s worth keeping in mind that for all the irrelevant noise that Donald Trump is making, and for all the irrelevant angles that the major news outlets seem to be hung up on right now, the real story here is that Trump is about to face prison and bankruptcy. Everything he does from here on out will be an attempt at giving him a softer landing with regard to prison and bankruptcy, whether it’s trying to scare prosecutors into giving him a resignation immunity deal, or trying to steal money on his way out the door.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report