When Donald Trump’s criminal indictment in Manhattan is really happening
Here’s what we know about the Manhattan District Attorney’s criminal indictment process against Donald Trump. Michael Cohen testified to the grand jury on Monday. Cohen is testifying again today, reportedly starting in the early afternoon. He’s widely believed to be the final witness. So when will the indictment actually be issued?
That takes us into the territory of hints, incomplete information, and educated guesses. We don’t know if Cohen is going back in for just a few quick finishing touches, leaving enough time for the grand jury to vote on indictment late on Wednesday, immediately after his testimony concludes. We don’t know if Cohen’s testimony will take up all of Wednesday, meaning the grand jury will have to indict on the next day it meets. Due to some conflicting reporting, we’re not even certain when the grand jury’s next date is.
So what are we looking at as far as the indictment? Late today? Tomorrow? Friday? Is there some chance it’ll slip all the way to Monday? We just don’t know. The DA knows what his timeframe is, but we don’t. That does bring us back to the hint that a source close to the DA’s office leaked to a reporter last week, which was that Trump should beware the Ides of March. For reference, the Ides of March is today. Was that leak pointing to today as indictment day? Was it merely pointing to this week as indictment week? Is that the schedule the DA’s office is still on?
When it comes to the specific timing of the indictment, there are just so many more questions than answers right now. At this point every legal expert is predicting a slightly different date. One comical thing I did notice. Various respected legal experts on social media have been pointing to different days this week as the most likely for indictment. But MSNBC somehow managed to put the one legal expert on air yesterday who had the most pessimistic prediction of them all, which is that the indictment will somehow take another seven to ten days. It’s remarkable how MSNBC always manages to find whichever legal expert just happens to have the bleakest prediction about any given scenario, and gives airtime to that expert. It’s a reminder that you have to keep your eyes open when it comes to how the media likes to portray these things. If you didn’t take the time to survey what the various legal experts out there are actually saying, and just relied on what you were hearing on MSNBC, you’d think seven to ten days was somehow the consensus among legal experts. It’s not.
In any case, we’ll see how this plays out. As I like to say, when it comes to the legal process, your personal impatience (or mine) is irrelevant to how things actually work. Your expectation (or mine) of how long these things should take is of no relevance to how long they actually take. No one is “dragging their feet” or anything along those lines. Witnesses are testifying to a grand jury that has to decide whether to indict someone and send them on to criminal trial. It’s a process, it’s a big thing that has to be done right, and the indictment will drop on the day that the legal process allows it to drop. But make no mistake: we’re here now. Trump is being criminally indicted. We’re all waiting with champagne. Trump is surely sick to his stomach.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report