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Trump struggles to respond to grand jury eyeing hush money case

As a grand jury hears evidence in Donald Trump's hush money scandal, the former president tried to push back against the controversy. It didn't go well.


As if Donald Trump weren’t already dealing with a series of criminal investigations, Monday’s news made matters worse for the former president. Prosecutors in New York have begun presenting evidence to a grand jury as part of an investigation into the Republican’s hush money scandal.

As we discussed, at issue is the 2016 matter in which Trump used his fixer, Michael Cohen, to pay illegal hush money to Stormy Daniels, a prominent porn star. The point of the arrangement was obvious: The then-candidate hoped to keep secret an extramarital affair he allegedly had with Daniels, so Trump cut a check to buy her silence.

When the details of the scheme emerged, Cohen was charged, prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to prison. The lawyer directly implicated his former client, telling a court he arranged the illegal hush money payments at Trump’s instruction. Nevertheless, the former president was never charged, and the pre-election scandal was eclipsed by a series of more dramatic controversies that unfolded while he was in office — even after Trump was caught lying about what transpired.

Since we took note of the legal developments, it seems only fair to note that the former president has now responded to the controversy. Here, for example, was the Republican’s message on Monday afternoon, by way of his social media platform.

With murders and violent crime surging like never before in New York City, the Radical Left Manhattan D.A., Alvin Bragg, just leaked to the Fake News Media that they are still going after the Stormy “Horseface” Daniels Bull....!Working closely with the Weaponized Justice Department, this is a continuation of the Greatest Witch Hunt of all time. They long ago missed the Statute of Limitations, & I recently won big money against “Stormy” in the 9th Circuit — NEVER HAD AN AFFAIR. This is old news!

Note, amid this rhetoric, Trump didn’t actually deny the underlying allegations. Instead, he focused on the timeline — saying the alleged misdeeds happened “long ago” and are “old news” — while denying an extramarital affair with a woman he apparently now considers unattractive.

Unexplained is why he agreed to pay Daniels hush money if they “never had an affair.”

This morning, Trump tried again with a follow-up missive:

With respect to the “Stormy” nonsense, it is VERY OLD & happened a long time ago, long past the very publicly known & accepted deadline of the Statute of Limitations. I placed full Reliance on the JUDGEMENT & ADVICE OF COUNCIL, who I had every reason to believe had a license to practice law, was competent, & was able to appropriately provide solid legal services. He came from a good law firm, represented other clients over the years, & there was NO reason not to rely on him, and I did.

Again, none of this included an actual denial. Putting aside the fact that he still doesn’t know how to spell “counsel,” Trump’s pitch is that the illegal hush money payments were Cohen’s fault. It’s a difficult line to take seriously, in large part because, by Cohen’s telling, it was Trump who directed the payoff.

As for his references to the statute of limitations, that doesn’t work either.

This led to a third message from the former president:

If the District Attorney of Manhattan would spend half as much time trying to solve the Murder and Violent Crime epidemic that is taking place in our once great City, as he does in perpetuating the greatest Witch Hunt of all time, at the behest of the Department of Injustice (D.C.), New York would be a much safer place to live, and perhaps people would stop leaving in RECORD NUMBERS!

Note, there’s still no denial here. Instead, Trump seems to think others’ crimes should receive more scrutiny than his alleged misconduct.

This was soon followed by Response #4, published late Tuesday morning.

The “Stormy” Fake Witch Hunt has been stop and go, on again, off again, for years, to the point where the whole thing has become Prosecutorial Misconduct. Missed Statute Big. The Fake News has been pushing the D.A., and all D.A.’s and Prosecutors, at a level that they have NEVER been pushed before. Just study D.A. Bragg’s CNN interview from 2 months ago — Disgraceful! There’s NO GUILT, just Trump Derangement Syndrome. GET this man, even if he’s innocent. It’s all WEAPONIZED POLITICS. So Sad!

Finally, Trump got around to suggesting he’s not guilty, though he made no effort to explain how or why he arrived at such a conclusion. He simply asserted it as fact, despite the evidence to the contrary.

Finally, the former president published the conclusion of his online tantrum, which featured a variety of examples of his idiosyncratic approach to spelling and grammatical rules.

The Democrat D.A.’s, Attorney Generals, and Prosecutors are very DANGEROUS to the well being of our Country. Many are deranged and only interested in pleasing the Fake News Media and the Democrat Party. Fair and True Justice means NOTHING in our Country anymore. I am being hit by so many DEMOCRAT Prosecutors, LOCAL, STATE, & FEDERAL, all to keep me from “running,” and all because I am leading by sooo much. The great people of our Country aren’t going to take it. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

Time will tell what becomes of the Republican’s many legal difficulties, but Trump does not sound like a man who’s confident that he’ll soon be fully exonerated.