Even those who've been in denial since Donald Trump snuck out of the White House in January 2021 recognize he will likely be indicted in up to four localities before the summer, and as soon as today. On Saturday, Trump posted to his Truth Social site that the “leading Republican candidate and former president of the United States will be arrested on Tuesday of next week,” although it's unclear whether this will in fact occur and whether there is any merit to the actual date. What is clear is that the toupee titan is trying to rally and mobilize his base in an unconventional manner.
One of Trump's attorneys, Joseph Tacopina, has answered the question as to whether Trump will surrender to New York authorities if indicted, claiming the former president "will follow normal procedures." Tacopina was only speaking for Trump agreeing to arrive in Manhattan, where procedure would require he is to be handcuffed, taken into custody, and arraigned, after which bail can be posted. (If I were the bail bondsman, I'd make him sign over Mar-a-Lago to ensure he/she gets paid.)
In case you haven't been keeping track, Trump also faces possible criminal charges in Fulton County, Georgia, and two separate federal cases being overseen by Special Counsel Jack Smith. The four cases involve hush money payments, tampering with an election, obstructing justice, and inciting the government's overthrow.
We likely won't see a Law & Order-type perp walk where Trump tries to cover his face and is led through a crowd of reporters trying to get a comment. In the Manhattan case, Trump may have already gotten a sealed indictment, in which the Manhattan D.A. would try to make an appointment with Trump's lawyers to bring him in quietly. We're depending on reporters at Mar-a-Lago to let people know Trump is on the move. We know New York reporters will be staked out at every location where Trump could be brought for arraignment. With apologies to Gil Scott-Heron, the arraignment will be televised.
The second perp walk will likely be in Atlanta. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said weeks ago that "charging decisions are imminent," which many assume will include Trump. In New York and Georgia, Trump must either agree to appear and transport himself or be extradited, opening up a new can of worms.
Though his New York lawyer says Trump will appear, I wouldn't bet on it until it happens. Should Trump change his mind, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis—Trump's political rival and likely opponent in the Republican primaries—must agree to Trump being extradited. DeSantis must choose between following the law and riling up the Trump base he would need to get elected president. This isn't a hard call; DeSantis can't win with Trump in the race. He needs Trump in jail as much as Democrats want to see him there.
If Trump is indicted after either of the two ongoing federal investigations, he could avoid extradition by turning himself in, in Florida. Cameras surround Mar-a-Lago night and day during this arraignment watch. It's not likely he'll slip out, especially given a Secret Service detail accompanying him.
The Secret Service has coordinated with the FBI and local law enforcement in New York and Palm Beach County, Florida, to ensure things go smoothly. The risk doesn't appear to be that Trump will be harmed but rather that his supporters might try to block the proceedings—just as they'd attempted at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
As an aside, I've seen Trump in person on two occasions: Once at a Super Bowl in Minneapolis and another time at the U.S. Open in New York. Neither of which called for formal attire. Yet when Trump does his perp walk, he'll be in a suit, trying to give the impression he's in charge. When the feds slap the cuffs on him, though, he might cry like a baby. We'll be watching.
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