To listen to the mainstream media and the doomsday pundits spin it, you’d think new Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg had decided not to criminally prosecute Donald Trump, and that Trump was magically off the hook. But if you actually look at the details about what’s been surfacing about the case, and apply even the tiniest bit of logic to it, you end up seeing a very different picture.
Here are the known facts, as reported by various major news outlets thus far: former Manhattan DA Cy Vance handpicked two respected prosecutors to be in charge of the Trump criminal case. When new Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg took office, he didn’t like what these two prosecutors had to say about the case, so he temporarily halted their work, and they ended up resigning. Bragg then put his own handpicked respected prosecutor in charge of the Trump criminal case.
Politics shouldn’t work this way, but it often does. Incoming political leaders want their own hired guns in place – people they trust, people they know how to work with, and frankly people whose work they can take partial credit for.
The question is how these details have somehow added up to the popular narrative that Bragg has “dropped” the Trump case. The main thrust of that appears to come from the two prosecutors previously in charge of the case. They appear to be leaking to the media that Bragg wasn’t interested in the case they were building, which the media has spun into the narrative that Bragg isn’t interested in moving forward against Trump at all.
Once you get past all the doomsday spin coming from the media and the pundits, it sounds like Bragg didn’t think these two prosecutors had built the case well enough to guarantee a conviction against Trump. But if Bragg thought there were no case to be made, he’d have simply dropped it, right? Instead he put his own respected longtime white collar shark on the case. Then Bragg’s office publicly announced that the Trump case is indeed “ongoing.”
As of now there is no factual or logical basis for concluding that the Manhattan DA’s office criminal case against Donald Trump is “dead.” What we do know is that the new DA didn’t want the former DA’s two handpicked guys to remain in charge of the case – and once they figured that out, they understandably didn’t want to stick around, and left.
If Bragg and the prosecutors in charge of the Trump case were indeed at an impasse about what the Trump case should look like, then their departure would presumably be good news. It means the Trump case is now in the hands of a prosecutor whom Bragg trusts and wants to work with. Now we watch for any reports in the coming days or weeks about the grand jury process having resumed under the new prosecutor in charge. Keep in mind that as this case has gone on, news of grand jury activity – which is secret until someone leaks it or spies it – has often tended to surface several weeks after the fact.
In the meantime the breathless race by media pundits, to see who can declare the most hyperbolically that Trump has gotten away with it all, is just that – an attempt at attention. Doomsday hysteria is good for ratings, retweets, TV bookings, and pundit career trajectories. But attempts at launching ratings-friendly doomsday hysteria narratives rarely end up landing on the truth of whatever is really going on at any given time.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report