We've known for quite a while that Donald Trump has been facing legal challenges on multiple fronts, including the possibility of an indictment from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who has spent months examining fraud allegations surrounding the former president and his business. What we didn't know is just how far that investigation has progressed.
With this in mind, the Washington Post's overnight reporting raised a few eyebrows.
Manhattan's district attorney has convened the grand jury that is expected to decide whether to indict former president Donald Trump, other executives at his company or the business itself, should prosecutors present the panel with criminal charges, according to two people familiar with the development.
The article added that the developments indicate that the district attorney's investigation "has reached an advanced stage after more than two years," and it also suggests that Vance believes "he has found evidence of a crime — if not by Trump, by someone potentially close to him or by his company."
This does not necessarily mean that Trump will face criminal charges, but it raises the possibility that the Republican will be the first former president in American history to be indicted.
To be sure, these developments did not come out of nowhere. It was three years ago when the public first learned about the possibility of charges against the Trump Organization stemming from Michael Cohen's hush-money payment to a porn star with whom Trump allegedly had an extramarital affair.
It was one year ago when there was public reporting that the investigation was also examining "possible bank and insurance fraud" committed by the former president's business.
This is the same probe that sought Trump's tax returns -- a matter that was ultimately resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court. It's also, incidentally, the same investigation that has generated conversations among officials in Florida and New York about how to deal with the possibility of the former president's indictment.
All of this, of course, is separate from the ongoing criminal probe in Georgia, where members of a grand jury are also hearing evidence about Trump's alleged efforts to intervene in the state's vote count. It's also separate from the questions at the federal level about Trump possibly having committed obstruction of justice while in office (the statute of limitations hasn't run out).
For his part, the former president has acknowledged the existence of the grand jury proceedings, last night calling the legal process "a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history." The Republican added in a written statement, "This is purely political, and an affront to the almost 75 million voters who supported me in the Presidential Election, and it's being driven by highly partisan Democrat prosecutors."
For what it's worth, I can't say with any confidence what will happen with the grand jury, but if its members hear evidence and agree to issue criminal charges against Trump, he might need a better response than effectively declaring, "This doesn't count because prosecutors in New York don't like me."