When the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the Manhattan District Attorney and his grand jury would immediately be given Donald Trump’s tax returns, there was a widespread sentiment on social media that this might end up partly righting the wrong that occurred when Trump was acquitted in his impeachment trial. The thing is, that’s 100% backwards.
All along, the impeachment trial had very low odds of convicting Trump. For that matter, even if he had been convicted, the most severe possible punishment would have been to ban him from seeking office again – a mere slap on the wrist. Trump had to be impeached, because it had to be put on the record that his incitement of insurrection was wrong. But that’s all the further it was ever likely to go, and it was never close to being the real prize in all this.
Contrast that with the criminal trial that Trump is going to face in New York. Because the evidence tends to be clear and indisputable, almost no one dodges conviction on the kinds of financial crimes that he’s going to be charged with. To state the obvious, the odds of Trump being convicted on financial crimes by a trial jury are infinitely greater than the odds ever were of him being convicted in an impeachment trial where seventeen Republican Senators would have needed to vote against him. And the punishment in a felony criminal trial isn’t some slap on the wrist, it’s prison.
Yes, that’s right, Donald Trump really is headed for prison. That’s always been the real prize here. As Palmer Report has pointed out for years, Trump was always headed for prison in New York if he lost reelection.
If Trump going to prison sounds like a foreign concept to you, that’s only because most of the media has spent these past few years going as far out of its way as possible to avoid stating the obvious. Sure, the real prize has always been Trump’s criminal prosecution, but that was always going to be down the road. It was easier for the media to get short term ratings by framing the impeachment trial as if it were somehow the most effective or realistic way of taking Trump off the stage.
But there’s a reason you read Palmer Report. It’s because you want to be reminded of the big picture, and the fact that criminal prosecution of Trump was always inevitable, and that it was always the big prize for taking him down.
Based on what’s leaked over the past year, the Manhattan District Attorney already had more than enough to convict Trump; the tax returns will make it a lock. That’s before getting to the criminal cases Trump is facing in Georgia and Washington DC, and anything the Feds might bring against him. This was always about criminal prosecution. Anything else is just noise. Eyes on the prize.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report