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Trump haunted by misguided bravado as Georgia indictment arrives

When Donald Trump claimed in the spring that the Fulton County grand jury had cleared him, it was foolish. It looks vastly worse now.


It was roughly six months ago when Donald Trump wrote to his social media platform how pleased he was with the state of the criminal investigation in Georgia. To hear the former president tell it, the probe into post-election interference was going his way.

“Thank you to the Special Grand Jury in the Great State of Georgia for your Patriotism & Courage,” the Republican wrote. “Total exoneration. The USA is very proud of you!!!”

Even at the time, the boast was ridiculous, and served as a timely reminder that Trump routinely struggles with the meaning of the word “exoneration.”

Nevertheless, a month later, the former president expressed similar delight in how the process was unfolding in Fulton County, as a grand jury considered the allegations and the evidence compiled by the special grand jury. “I have gained such respect for this grand jury [and] perhaps even the grand jury system as a whole,” Trump wrote in March, in all-caps rant. He added that members of the grand jury realized that prosecutors had “no case here,” and they were reluctant to “vote against a preponderance of evidence” that the Republican insisted was “overwhelmingly” in his favor.

With the benefit of hindsight, we now know that all of this fell into the “wishful thinking” category. NBC News reported overnight:

Former President Donald Trump and top allies, including his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, and a top former Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark, were indicted Monday on felony charges in connection with efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia. The sweeping 41-count indictment also names lawyers John Eastman, Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro, Jenna Ellis and Ray Smith, along with several others. All were charged with violating Georgia’s RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) act.

“Trump and the other defendants charged in this indictment refused to accept that Trump lost, and they knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump,” the indictment says.

Among the charges the former president is now facing are felony racketeering and numerous conspiracy charges, and if convicted, the charges raise the prospect of a prison sentence. The former president has denied any wrongdoing.

Of course, that’s not all he’s said. In fact, fairly recently, Trump tried to tell his supporters that yet another criminal indictment might actually be a good thing. “I NEED ONE MORE INDICTMENT TO ENSURE MY ELECTION!” he wrote two weeks ago.

“We need one more indictment to close out this election,” the Republican added at an event in Alabama a day later. “One more indictment, and this election is closed out. Nobody has even a chance.”

Despite the recent bravado, Trump seemed far less pleased overnight. “So, the Witch Hunt continues!” he wrote around 1:30 a.m. eastern. “19 people Indicated [sic] tonight, including the former President of the United States, me.”

As for the significance of the case, MSNBC’s Jessica Levinson explained, “If our criminal justice system stands for anything, and if the rule of law is more than just an empty platitude, these charges had to be brought. The leader of this country has been accused of implementing a criminal pressure campaign to invalidate the election results, falsely claim victory so that he could illegally stay in power. The criminal justice system withers to stacks of meaningless words on reams of paper in dusty criminal law books if such actions are permitted.”