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Trump arrested, released on bond from Fulton County jail: Takeaways

The former president had his mug shot taken while being booked on charges in Fulton County DA Fani Willis' 2020 election probe in Georgia.

What to know

  • Donald Trump surrendered at an Atlanta jail tonight after being indicted in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' election interference probe. His mug shot has been released by the sheriff's office.
  • Trump faces 13 felony counts for his scheme to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia, including one count of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
  • Many of his 18 co-defendants have already been booked, including lawyers Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman and Sidney Powell. The rest of them have until noon tomorrow to surrender.

Few Americans are mentally prepared for the year ahead

Alex Wagner

As Alex Wagner said minutes ago on MSNBC:

I find it distressing. He’s clearly quite angry. I also think everyone should get very used to that image because we’re going to see it emblazoned on a lot of things for a long time. And to me it seems like honestly the starting gun of the next year, which is this bizarre split screen we’re going to see between a man who is running for president and a man who is defending himself in multiple criminal trials.

This is the beginning of it. This is the march if you will for the year ahead. I don’t think any of us really mentally prepared for the complications, the tests. Trump in recent weeks started to temper his language around Jan. 6 and it being a “stolen election” — at least for a day, he seemed to be listening to his lawyers and was couching his language a little bit more cautiously.

I don’t think that’s going to last. And I think what we’re going to have to sort of manage as a democracy, as journalists, as just onlookers to history, is the ways in which this individual mug shot is going to test what is legally allowed for him to say as a defendant and as a candidate. I think the justice system is going to be tested like never before. I think our ability to tenaciously follow this as Americans given the onslaught of information we are diving into — that’s what the year ahead is going to look like. 

Truly, we have no idea how it ends. In some ways, I think as journalists, that’s exciting. But as an American who’s used to institutions and the integrity of those institutions, it is also terrifying.

Trump tweets for first time since Jan. 6, 2021

Twitter banned Trump shortly after the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021. The company's new CEO, Elon Musk, reinstated his account in November 2022, but Trump hasn't tweeted ... until now.

You'll never guess what his first tweet was about. Well, maybe you will.

Trump is selling a T-shirt with his mug shot because of course he is

Yes, really.

It is a plain white T-shirt with his mug shot and the words “No Surrender.”

It costs $34 to purchase.

It is being sold through his Save America Joint Fundraising Committee.

No, I am not linking to it.

While Trump was getting photographed, here’s what Biden was up to

Current U.S. President Joe Biden has consistently avoided commenting on his likely 2024 election opponent’s indictments, and he continued that approach Thursday night:

Marjorie Taylor Greene still does not know what ‘communism’ is

I’m starting to get the feeling that the congresswoman from Georgia has never read “Das Kapital,” let alone the “Communist Manifesto.” Because I can assure you, the mug shot of a former president, taken as he is processed by a criminal justice system set up in a democratic state does not fit into any definition of “communism” that I’ve ever seen.

These 7 defendants have until noon tomorrow to surrender

With Trump’s booking, that makes 12 of the 19 co-defendants named in the Fulton County indictment who have surrendered for processing. The other seven now have a little over 12 hours to do so before warrants are issued for their arrest. Here’s who’s left:

Rachel Maddow: Do not take this mug shot lightly


On tarmac, Trump trots out same old false equivalence

Speaking at Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta, after being booked in the Fulton County jail, Trump repeated what’s been the go-to defense for him and his supporters.

“When you challenge an election you should be able to challenge an election," he said, adding: "And I should have every right to do that. As you know, you have many people that you’ve been watching over the years do the same thing, whether it’s Hillary Clinton or Stacey Abrams or many others.”

Of course, neither Clinton nor Abrams nor anyone else in modern American history has sought to overturn the Electoral College. No one else has encouraged officials to create alternate slates of so-called fake electors. No one else has asked the governor of a state to “find 11,780 votes.” No one else pressured a vice president to intervene in the electoral vote count. And no one else encouraged his supporters to come to Washington the day of the count and then sat on his hands for hours after they invaded the Capitol.

Other than those and many other differences, though, it’s “the same thing.”

Here's Trump's mug shot

The Fulton County Sheriff's Office has released Trump's mug shot.

Image: Former President Donald Trump was booked at the Fulton County jail in Atlanta on Aug. 24, 2023.
Former President Donald Trump was booked at the Fulton County jail in Atlanta on Aug. 24, 2023.Fulton County Sheriff's Office

Yikes: There was a bomb threat at the Fulton County courthouse

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to NBC News that there was a bomb threat called in against the county courthouse this evening. It doesn’t seem like there’s been anything found, but still a major yikes given the other threats against judges and the like we’ve seen in recent weeks. (And it’s worth noting that Trump was at the county jail today, not the courthouse.)

The lack of pro-Trump trouble shows why these indictments are important

As my colleague Hayes Brown noted, once again security measures around a Trump indictment went untested (fortunately). In each instance, turnout for pro-Trump protests has fallen short of expectations. To be clear, prominent MAGA personalities have called for peaceful protests (though many did the same before Jan. 6, 2021).

But once again, pro-Trump diehards have also explained away low attendance by claiming that government agents would infiltrate pro-Trump protests in “false flag” operations to make the president’s supporters look bad.

In other words, the lack of protests has proved MSNBC columnist Frank Figliuzzi’s hypothesis from after Trump’s first indictment: "The high-profile prosecution of Jan. 6 rioters may be a deterrent to future violence.”

It’s not unreasonable to expect the indictments related to the 2020 election interference to have a similar effect — for now at least. Should Trump win in 2024, or somehow otherwise avoid conviction on any of these charges (always a possibility), then perhaps those who interfered in 2020 will be emboldened in the future. But for now, the most anti-democratic elements in American politics seem at least moderately cowed.

Once again, protests fizzle around a Trump indictment

It feels like this has become a pattern. Trump is indicted, he shows up to be processed, and outside there’s nothing but a handful of supporters to cheer him on.

His brief appearance in Georgia today has been no exception, with crowds smaller than those that turned out when he was arraigned in Florida, a much more favorable turf for him. So much for the chaos in the streets that Trump once promised should he ever be charged with a crime.

Beware of fake mug shots

Fareeha Rehman

It's been confirmed Trump had his mug shot taken at the Fulton County jail tonight, but it’s not the one you might be seeing online right now. The sheriff's office hasn't yet released the photo to the public.

At least one fake mug shot of Trump has already begun circulating. One possible tell is to compare his suit and tie to confirmed images of Trump en route to the jail tonight. We’ll have the official mug shot as soon as it’s released here.

Former President Donald Trump steps off his plane as he arrives at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Aug. 24, 2023, in Atlanta.
Former President Donald Trump steps off his plane as he arrives at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Aug. 24, 2023, in Atlanta.Alex Brandon / AP file

Trump’s fundraising pitch around Georgia arrest is a little different

Trump has predictably already sent out a fundraising appeal based on his surrender at the Fulton County jail tonight.

Most of the email sent from the Save America Joint Fundraising Committee, which raises money for both Trump's presidential campaign and his PAC, is his typical kvetching about how unfair the system is to him before trying to get his supporters to fork over more cash. A good chunk of the loot funneled to his PAC will then be spent paying for Trump and his allies’ legal defense.

But there’s one line that stood out to me in this particular email: “If you are doing poorly due to the sinister people in control of our country right now, don’t even think about donating!”

That’s interesting on two fronts. Trump has never seemed to have any qualms with milking his fans for cash before, raising millions in the aftermath of each of his indictments. Back in 2020, he sent out hundreds of fundraising emails after the election, raking in enough cash based on lies to make former prosecutors wonder if he might catch a wire fraud charge.

But in noting that some people might not be able to afford to keep on giving, he’s providing an out for those who really can’t keep sponsoring a billionaire down on his luck. And by framing any hesitancy as a consequence of Biden’s economic policies, he’s making sure that they don’t blame him for any lack of discretionary income they might have right now.

The jail where Trump just surrendered is under a civil rights investigation

As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow just mentioned on air, the jail where Trump was booked tonight is known for other not-so-laudable reasons. Last month, the Justice Department announced a civil rights investigation into the Fulton County jail.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement at the time, “We launched this investigation into the Fulton County Jail based on serious allegations of unsafe, unsanitary living conditions at the jail, excessive force and violence within the jail, discrimination against incarcerated individuals with mental health issues, and failure to provide adequate medical care to incarcerated individuals.” 

Image: An official stands guard in front of the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta on Aug. 24, 2023.
An official stands guard in front of the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta on Aug. 24, 2023.Ben Gray / AP

“In the last few weeks alone,” reports NBC News’ Rebecca Shabad, “several inmates have died, including a 40-year-old man who was found unresponsive in his cell and another man, 66, who was also found unresponsive inside a medical unit cell.”

One incident cited by the DOJ was the death of 35-year-old Lashawn Thompson in his cell, “covered in insects and filth.”

Of course, it’s incredibly unlikely that Trump caught a glimpse of those deplorable conditions. But it’s the closest he’s ever come to a dark reality too common in America’s carceral system.

Trump mug shot was taken, NBC News reports

Trump had his mug shot taken, a source familiar with the booking process told NBC News. A historic day for America indeed.

Minutes after arriving, Trump is booked and released

And just like that, the former president has been arrested for the fourth time. Trump already paid his $200,000 bond before arriving to jail. But just minutes after arriving to the jail, he was processed and quickly released.

He was likely fingerprinted, as he was for his other indictments. But it remains unclear whether a mug shot was taken like it has been for the other defendants in this case.

Ahead of arrest, Trump suggests U.S. could see more political violence

Trump’s interview this week with Tucker Carlson was, for the most part, remarkably unremarkable. But then came Carlson’s last question: “Do you think we’re moving towards civil war?”

“There’s a level of passion that I’ve never seen,” replied Trump. “There’s a level of hatred that I’ve never seen.”

He then launched into a defense of those who marched on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“I have never seen such spirit and such passion and such love," he said. "And I’ve also never seen, simultaneously, and from the same people, such hatred of what they’ve done to our country.”

Asked by Carlson whether “open conflict” was possible, Trump only said, “I don’t know.”

It was classic Trump: defend those encouraging violent ends, then try to wash his hands of the consequences.

Trump booking details released as arrives to jail

Trump already forked over the cash for his bond

Trump has already dropped the $200,000 cash bond that the agreement announced earlier this week required. That money was routed through noted bail bondsman Charles Shaw of Foster Bail Bonds, whose previous clientele has included the likes of rappers T.I., Rick Ross and Gucci Mane. Shaw confirmed to NBC News that he’s already paid the required sum at the Fulton County jail ahead of Trump’s arrival.

Trump lands in Atlanta ahead of fourth arrest since April

Trump's plane touched down moments ago at Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta. His motorcade will soon depart for the Fulton County jail, which is roughly 30 minutes away by car.

It seems far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia may be at the jail waiting to meet him. The Trump loyalist went to New York City in April to protest the former president's indictment there too.

Judge sets court date for Georgia co-defendant Jeffrey Clark

U.S. District Judge Steve Jones has Sept. 18 as the date for an evidentiary hearing in former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark’s request to move his case to federal court. Clark is one of 19 defendants in Willis' election case.

Clark’s request to extend the deadline for turning himself in was already rejected by Jones, as was a similar request from Meadows. (Meadows' hearing on the matter is scheduled for Monday.) Clark still has until noon on Friday to turn himself in.

Clark has argued that his case belongs in federal court because the actions he is charged with were undertaken as part of his duties at the Justice Department. But Clark was in charge of the department’s environmental and natural resources division and was acting head of its civil division. Neither department deals with elections. Regardless, the Hatch Act and DOJ policy prohibit interfering with elections.

What I saw at the Fulton County courthouse today

The day started simply enough. With half of Trump’s co-defendants needing to surrender before tomorrow, I boarded a plane for Atlanta, expecting most of today’s developments would happen about 15 minutes from the Fulton County courthouse at the infamous Rice Street jail.

To be clear, the arrests happened. Mark Meadows was booked without ever having been detected approaching or leaving the jail. Harrison Floyd, one of those allegedly involved in pressuring election worker Ruby Freeman to admit to a crime she never committed, was booked ... and never left.

A "Trump 20-24 years in prison" sign hangs from a building near the Fulton County Superior Court today.
A "Trump 20-24 years in prison" sign hangs from a building near the Fulton County Superior Court today.Lisa Rubin / MSNBC

But a casual visitor to the Fulton County Superior Court itself might have thought it was a sleepy day there. After all, the number of courthouse marriages we saw seemed to exceed protestors. In lieu of organized chants and marches, we mostly heard honking and squeals of, “Trump won!” out the windows of some moving vehicles.

Adding to the sense of quiet was a heat so oppressive that it could drain the energy from even the Energizer Bunny. Yet there was real excitement today in court, and specifically, through electronic submissions that the various players volleyed back and forth all day like a tennis ball gone berserk.

First, there was the Trump legal team shake-up. And then there was the Cheseboro trial date back-and-forth, which ended with Judge Scott McAfee ordering an Oct. 23, 2023 trial date for Chesebro alone — at this time.

In all, may have looked like a quiet day at the Fulton County courthouse. But with the electronic filings coming fast and furious, it was anything but.

Trump’s got a new top lawyer in Georgia

Atlanta criminal defense attorney David Sadow will be leading Trump’s legal team moving forward, according to a filing this morning. He replaces David Findling, who first signed on with Trump last August. 

“The president should never have been indicted,” Sadow said in a statement. “He is innocent of all the charges brought against him, we look forward to the case being dismissed or, if necessary, an unbiased, open minded jury finding the president not guilty.”

For once, it looks like the shift might not be because the mercurial Trump has soured on the performance of one of his lawyers or an instance of drama among the ranks. Findling was definitely aggressive in the months before the indictment dropped, trying hard to get Willis either booted off the case or have it preemptively thrown out altogether. But as my colleague Lisa Rubin has noted, Trump’s posting about rival Mike Pence last night would give many lawyers pause.

Either way, Sadlow, who has represented Usher, Rick Ross and other high-profile clients, was likely seen as a strong replacement, given his previous experience in fighting RICO charges in Georgia and criticism of Willis’ use of the racketeering statute.

Read more from my colleague Ja'han Jones on Sadlow below.

Trump's co-defendants have a tough choice to make

Chuck Rosenberg

This month, after his federal election indictment, Trump wrote: “If you go after me, I’m coming after you!”

Coming after you how? Physically? Reputationally? By stirring up the dark forces he used to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6? Was his message intended for prosecutors? Perhaps. For the judge? Maybe. But I am certain that his 18 co-defendants in Georgia understood that message’s potential implications for them, too.

Trump’s rantings may be an effort to keep his co-defendants, well … co-defendants. It may signal to them that they should not choose to mitigate their own risk by pleading guilty and testifying against others (including him).

It may also signal to them that whatever punishment the justice system metes out will not be as harsh as the punishment Trump — or his minions — may attempt to mete out. There are 18 people out there trying to decide how best to defend themselves from serious criminal charges. Pleading guilty and becoming witnesses for the prosecution is one path forward for them. It may be in their best interests to do exactly that. But in Trump’s world, there is only one interest that matters — his. Anyone who turns on Trump is an enemy. 

Read more below.

Raffensperger subpoenaed in Meadows case

Meadows is trying to move the charges against him to federal court, arguing his actions took place as part of his job in the Trump White House. Willis disagrees strongly, noting in a filing yesterday that Meadows’ actions were political in nature, and therefore separate from his gig as White House chief of staff. 

U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones has ordered a hearing scheduled for Monday to weigh the arguments. Now it looks like Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his former lead investigator, Frances Watson, will be on hand as well.

Willis subpoenaed both of them today, according to court filings, to show up and back her case to Jones to shoot down Meadows’ motion.

GOP debate participants shrug off potential Trump conviction

One of the more memorable moments in last night's GOP presidential debate came when Fox News moderator Bret Baier asked the candidates whether they would support Trump as the party’s nominee if he was convicted in a court of law.

Vivek Ramaswamy quickly and predictably raised his hand, joined soon after by former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum. After a painful pause, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis raised his hand too, as did former Vice President Mike Pence.

Of the eight candidates on the stage, only former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said no. Not coincidentally, both are afterthoughts in the polls.

Of course, Trump is doing everything he can to postpone his trials until after the 2024 election. His lawyers in the federal election interference case, for example, have already made the preposterous argument that the trial should be postponed until 2026. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him make a similar request in the Fulton County case.

Nicolle Wallace: Why a Trump mug shot would be devastating


House GOP plays defense for Trump with ridiculous new probe

Republicans' “investigate the investigation” tactic is utilized so frequently that it’s become something of a running joke in some political circles. For several GOP lawmakers, most notably House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, it’s become a reflexive, go-to response to probes the party finds politically inconvenient for one reason or another.

Take a wild guess what the Ohio Republican leading the House Judiciary Committee wants to do now.

In a written letter to Willis, Jordan said the “indictment and prosecution implicate substantial federal interests, and the circumstances surrounding your actions raise serious concerns about whether they are politically motivated.” To that end, the far-right congressman directed Willis to hand over information on her federal interactions — including work with special counsel Jack Smith’s office — by Sept. 7, which is two weeks from today.

Read more below.

Judge signs off on Oct. 23 trial for Cheseboro

Well, that was fast. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee has already approved Willis’ request to have Cheseboro’s trial start on Oct. 23. Unlike the filing from Wilis though, which included Trump and all 18 other co-defendants, only Cheseboro is listed on the scheduling order from McAfee. It also notes: “At this time, these deadlines do not apply to any co-defendant.”

Translation: For now, the timeline that’s been laid out — including a Sept. 6 arraignment — applies only to Cheseboro at this time. But that could still change in the future

Trump departs Bedminster for Atlanta ahead of arrest

Shortly before 4 p.m. ET, Trump left his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, to fly to Atlanta. (Yes, that’s the same golf club that is a key location in the classified documents case against Trump.) On Truth Social earlier today, the former president said he expected to be arrested at "7:30 p.m."

Trump seeks to sever after Willis asks judge for October trial date

In response to a request from Kenneth Chesebro, a lawyer who advised Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election, for a speedy trial, Willis filed a motion today asking a judge to set the trial date for Oct. 23 of this year.

Trump — whose legal strategy so far has been delay, delay, delay — is apparently not pleased with the potential for such an early trial date. His camp filed a notice this afternoon of its intention to file a motion to sever his case from Chesebro's.

Meadows, Floyd mug shots released

The two co-defendants surrendered to Rice Street jail in Fulton County this afternoon.

Mark Meadows.
Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was booked on charges in the Georgia election probe today.Fulton County Sheriff's Office
Harrison Floyd.
Black Voices for Trump leader Harrison Floyd was booked on charges in the Georgia election probe today.Fulton County Sheriff's Office

Trump says 7:30 p.m. 'arrest time' tonight

In a Truth Social post moments ago, Trump said he was getting ready to travel to Atlanta to "get ARRESTED by a Radical Left, Lowlife District Attorney." He has repeatedly used racism and sexism to attack Willis.

He said his "arrest time" tonight will be 7:30 p.m.

Here's everyone who has surrendered so far

Harrison Floyd, the executive director of Black Voices for Trump, also surrendered at the Rice Street jail minutes ago. He did not negotiate a bond agreement and is currently in custody, according to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office.

Eight defendants have not yet surrendered: Trump, former Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark, lawyer Robert Cheeley, Trump 2020 campaign official Mike Roman, so-called fake elector Shawn Still, Pastor Stephen Lee, Kanye West-linked publicist Trevian Kutti, and former Coffee County elections supervisor Misty Hampton.

Check out the post below for the most up-to-date details on the defendants who have surrendered and the charges they face, as well as their mug shots and bond agreements.

Mark Meadows booked at Fulton County jail

Mark Meadows, Trump's former White House chief of staff, surrendered at the Rice Street jail in Atlanta minutes ago. His bond was set at $100,000. His mug shot has not yet been released.

His surrender follows Willis' refusal earlier this week to delay his arrest, as his attorneys had requested. Meadows had wanted to delay his surrender until a hearing on whether his case will be moved to federal court.

“Your client is no different than any other criminal defendant in this jurisdiction,” Willis wrote in a forceful email to Meadows’ legal team, according to court filings.

Though Meadows was charged in Willis' election probe, he is not believed to be among the six co-conspirators in special counsel Jack Smith's 2020 election interference case in Washington. (Those co-conspirators, which include Giuliani and Eastman, have not been charged.)

Read the full Fulton County indictment

Trump is one of 19 co-defendants charged in Willis' investigation into 2020 election interference in Georgia. Read through a full PDF of the document below to see the defendants and their respective charges.

After skipping GOP debate, Trump prepares for fourth arrest

Trump is expected to travel from his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club to Atlanta so he can surrender today at Fulton County's Rice Street jail. His bond has been set at $200,000 — the highest of the 19 defendants in the Georgia election interference case.

He should be well-rested today given his decision to skip the first Republican presidential debate last night. He instead taped an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who shared it on X, formerly known as Twitter, minutes before the debate kicked off.

This will the former president's fourth arrest since April. He faces 91 counts in all four of his ongoing criminal cases: the federal election interference case, the classified documents case, the New York hush money case, and, most recently, the Georgia election interference case.