It’s Not the Election or Documents That Will Take Down Donald Trump, it’s Stormy Daniels
Ever since he entered the public sphere as a political possibility, Donald Trump has divided people. He’s someone you either
Ever since he entered the public sphere as a political possibility, Donald Trump has divided people.
He’s someone you either worship, or you loathe – few people ride the fence.
Love or hate him, everyone is aware of all the things he’s done that walk the line of legality – and suspect those that cross well into illegal.
But despite the fact that he’s facing a number of incredibly high-stake potential indictments over things like election interference and improperly storing classified documents, those may not be the first things to bring Trump to his knees.
In a completely ironic twist of fate, it could be former porn star Stormy Daniels.
Stormy Daniels Could Bring Down Donald Trump
Of all the crimes to catch up with Donald Trump, it’s surprising that the first may be the hush money he paid to Stormy Daniels to cover up an alleged affair. And the money he used to do so is at the heart of the issue.
According to reports, Trump had an affair with Daniels in 2006. In 2016, just a month before the Presidential election, he paid her $130K to keep her from speaking out about the affair.
In the “hush money” case, a New York Times report suggests that New York City District Attorney Alvin Bragg has signaled that indictments are close by inviting Donald Trump to sit and testify before the grand jury next week – although the former President will likely decline.
It’s a signal that the grand jury is wrapping up their work, and things will move quickly.
Raw Story reports, “While Trump might be trying to claim the victim, former prosecutor Renato Mariotti told MSNBC’s Joy Reid, ‘I think it’s fair to say that Trump is ultimately the driver of this scheme.’
Indeed, when your signature is on the check, it makes a fairly clear link.
In a thread with Teri Kanefield, a former appellate defender, she cited attorney and former federal public defender Mark Reichel
‘This could be the prosecution’s last move before they decide what to do: Indict. Not indict,’ she wrote in a Mastodon thread. ‘Now, some semantics. Was the headline inaccurate or misleading? The headline is misleading, but the subheading is accurate because of the word ‘could.’ ‘A STRONG INDICATION’ that an indictment ‘COULD’ soon follow. In other words, it’s sort of a definite maybe. Now, nonlawyerly: I’d think YES he’ll be indicted.'”
Trump denies any affair with Daniels, saying that the money was paid under legal advisement to settle Daniels’ attempt at extortion.
In a Truth Social post, Trump denied any wrongdoing and tried to make a case for the issue to be a federal one rather than state.
That could be because federal crimes can be pardoned by Presidents (such as he hopes to be again soon), but state crimes can not.
What’s Taking So Long?
That leaves people wondering: if the election interference charges and classified documents charges are so much more serious, why are they still in slow motion mode?
The reasons are numerous, but the most important ones come down to legality and hesitation.
In order to build a case against a former President, the Department of Justice and any departments investigating Trump need to be sure beyond a shadow of a doubt.
While jury convictions only require surety “beyond a reasonable doubt,” people looking to indict a former President have to be more than sure.
They have to have an iron-clad case that proves every in and out, every interaction, and provides a clear case between A and B where the line was drawn by Trump himself.
Otherwise, they’re setting the country up for a messy criminal legal battle that could disrupt justice norms and upend the upcoming Presidential election. If the indictments are overturned, they would have done it for nothing.
So they have to be sure.
And beyond that, there’s one thing that has to be spinning through the mind of US Attorney General Merrick Garland and keeping him up at night: indicting a former President is a big deal.
It’s not like indicting another politician, of which we have a dime a dozen: this is a President.
And it opens the door to some disturbing precedent.
After all, you can’t be sure every person to hold the office of Commander in Chief will be ethical. So having the Department of Justice levy charges against a President (current or former) means that it can be done again – and that’s something that Garland and others have to consider.
While letting Trump get away with alleged crimes would be by far the worse outcome, there’s no lack of dangerous roads they could be exposing the country to if they choose to indict Trump.
That doesn’t mean he won’t be indicted, however – he likely will be, and many times over.
But what happens next – pardon or prison – could determine the fate of democracy in the United States forever.