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Ahead of arraignment, Trump demands prosecutor ‘indict himself’

Ahead of a criminal suspect’s arraignment, nothing conveys a defendant's confidence more than asking the prosecutor to “indict himself.”


As you’ve probably heard, Donald Trump flew to New York yesterday and is scheduled to surrender to authorities in Manhattan this afternoon. As part of the process, the former president is expected to be fingerprinted and then arraigned in court at 2:15 p.m. eastern. While the precise details of his indictment have not yet been confirmed, they will almost certainly be unsealed as part of today’s process.

The Republican has already announced plans to return to Mar-a-Lago following the legal proceedings, and he’ll apparently deliver some kind of speech tonight at his glorified country club.

Trump arraignment: Follow our live blog beginning at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday for the latest updates and analysis on Trump’s arrest in New York.

But those wondering what the former president is thinking about these extraordinary circumstances won’t have to wait until tonight’s remarks. On the contrary, Trump continues to publish to his social media platform — and continues to take aim at those trying to hold him accountable.

In recent days, he’s focused a fair amount of energy whining about Judge Juan Merchan, who is expected to preside over the former president’s arraignment, but as NBC News noted, Trump also hasn’t given up targeting the prosecutor in the case.

Trump on Monday night called for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to “INDICT HIMSELF” after claiming he leaked information about the indictment against the former president, apparently referring to new reporting on some of the details of the charging document.

“Wow! District Attorney Bragg just illegally LEAKED the various points, and complete information, on the pathetic Indictment against me. I know the reporter and so, unfortunately, does he,” Trump wrote last night. “This means that he MUST BE IMMEDIATELY INDICTED. Now, if he wants to really clean up his reputation, he will do the honorable thing and, as District Attorney, INDICT HIMSELF. He will go down in Judicial history, and his Trump Hating wife will be, I am sure, very proud of him!”

Ahead of a criminal suspect’s arraignment, nothing conveys a defendant's confidence more than asking the prosecutor to “indict himself.” (Trump soon after published a follow-up item calling on Bragg to resign, too.)

To the extent that anyone might have questions about why, exactly, he threw this particular tantrum, Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff published a report — about a half-hour before Trump’s online tantrum — that said the former president will be “charged with 34 felony counts for falsification of business records, according to a source who has been briefed on the procedures for the arraignment of the former president.”

That reporting hasn’t been confirmed elsewhere, and it’ll be a few hours before we know for sure whether that’s correct. What’s more, we have no idea who Isikoff’s source was.

But as Trump sees it, Isikoff’s source was the district attorney — why he made this assumption is anyone’s guess — which means Bragg “MUST BE IMMEDIATELY INDICTED.”

It’s a silly argument, peddled by someone who appears to be quite anxious about his legal jeopardy. It’s also an extension of the former president’s bizarre pattern of arguing that those who suspect him of crimes must themselves be criminals.

For good measure, Trump also apparently noticed yesterday’s Washington Post reporting on his classified documents scandal, which led to a related missive published shortly before midnight.

“Speaking of LEAKS, Special ‘Prosecutor’ Jack Smith (What did his name used to be?) leaked massive amounts of information to The Washington ComPost,” he wrote. “This is illegal, and I assume this Radical Left Lunatic, much to the chagrin of his Trump Hating wife and family, will be PROSECUTED?”

First, Trump’s preoccupation with Smith’s name continues to be hilarious. Second, there’s literally nothing to suggest the special counsel was the Post’s source.

And third, the apparent fact that the Republican wants Smith to also be “prosecuted,” along with the Manhattan district attorney, reinforces impressions that Trump is in the midst of a meltdown.