Today the news broke that after next week, the Manhattan grand jury will be on hiatus for nearly a month. This immediately led to misleading headlines about how Donald Trump won’t be indicted until at least May, and doomsday prognostications about how he’s gotten away with it all. But that’s not at all the story.
First of all, the Manhattan grand jury is set to meet again next Monday and Wednesday, and only then does it have a month off. So if Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is looking to indict Trump before the hiatus, he can still easily do it next week.
If there are no more witnesses, the DA will only need maybe an hour or two for the closing statement and then the indictment vote. The notion that Bragg can’t find an hour or two of grand jury time during the course of next week is silly.
The media has long been looking for any excuse at all to scare you into thinking this case is “dead.” When Trump announced last week that the case had been dropped, multiple major news outlets treated that announcement as if it were credible. Then Bragg put another witness in front of the grand jury on Monday, proving that Trump made the whole thing up.
Now the media has found out that this grand jury has a pre-scheduled hiatus coming up, and it’s baselessly spinning this into the worst case scenario for effect. This is what the media does. It knows it can always generate more defeatist outrage, and thus get higher ratings, by hyping some doomsday scenario whether it’s a real thing or not.
The media is also vaguely implying that this grand jury somehow won’t be available to Bragg next week due to other cases, even though that’s not how the process works. It’s already been clearly delineated that this grand jury is available for the Trump case on Mondays and Wednesdays, and a different case on Thursdays.
Will Trump be indicted next week? Who knows what Bragg is planning to do? But he can easily indict next week if he wants to. Next week has not magically disappeared from existence just because the media wants to pretend it has.
By the way, Bragg has known all along about this upcoming grand jury hiatus. Every decision he’s made about the timeline of the case has been made with this hiatus in mind. The media always likes to pretend otherwise, but people in charge do know how to read their own calendar.
The media is portraying this as Bragg being such an oblivious rube that he didn’t know the grand jury he’s been meeting with every week for months has a vacation coming up and oh no we’re doomed! Come on. As if Bragg is now kicking himself for not having been more inquisitive when grand jurors kept talking about their month long vacation plans and one of them showed up last week in full scuba gear.
Come to think of it, it’s remarkable how many of the media’s doomsday narratives are based on our side’s leaders supposedly not knowing how to read a calendar. The media and pundit class tried to convince us we should all panic because the January 6th Committee would forget when the midterms were and “run out of time” to hold hearings first. The media keeps telling us that prosecutors in all three jurisdictions don’t know how to read a calendar and will accidentally indict Trump too late to hold his trials before the election. And now they’ve got Bragg supposedly not knowing his own grand jury calendar.
Take note of how these doomsday proclamations by the media always require something utterly ridiculous, such as someone in charge not knowing how to read a calendar, in order to come true. Yet the media glosses over the fact that these scenarios aren’t realistic things to begin with, and instead hypes them as having a 99% or 100% chance of happening.
But back in the real world, Bragg has known his own grand jury’s calendar all along. He’s known all along that if he wanted to indict before May, he would have to indict by next week. So either he’s lined up to indict next week, or he has some important reason to wait until May.
If I were forced to guess based on logic alone, I’d guess next week is more likely than May, if only because deciding to wait until May would mean a fundamental shift in the approach Bragg has taken thus far – and we’ve seen no evidence of that. But really, we just don’t know for sure. What we do know is that Bragg isn’t suddenly waking up today and saying “oh no, I forgot how to read my own calendar, I was about to indict and now I can’t!” That’s cartoon level silly.
If anything, this grand jury hiatus would seem to increase the odds that Trump will be indicted next week. Unless Bragg has strategically decided to wait until May due to more witnesses or something, he has to indict next week. But again, he’s known the grand jury calendar all along. You haven’t, but he has. Don’t let the media goad you into believing that this is some doomsday situation created by a District Attorney not knowing how to read a calendar. Once you get past the emotional manipulation that the media builds into these narratives, you realize how ridiculous it all is.
I’m not saying Trump will be indicted next week. I wouldn’t know. I’m saying that if it doesn’t happen next week, it’ll only be because Bragg – who has known about the grand jury hiatus all along – has some strategic reason for waiting until May.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report