It’s almost as though Trump is trying to start an alternative government in domestic exile, one that functions extra-legally and extra-judicially.
A few months ago, the Toteboard was about to publish a very different post from the one appearing today, when an unfortunate computer crash – i.e., a computer crashing to the ground – obliterated a nearly-complete draft, as well as several months’ worth of other documents of varied importance (not to mention the author’s otherwise high spirits). Since then, as the Toteboard dithered about whether to try to reconstruct the lost post, the Trump three-ring legal circus has taken off with a fury, so much so that no one except the junkiest of political junkies can really keep up with every new real time development. We now have four indictments within four different jurisdictions, on scores of counts, with dozens of co-conspirators (both indicted and un-indicted), supported by millions of pages of textual and recorded evidence. And every day, just as some previously unknown or overlooked fragments of the attempted coup come to light, Trump (or some lawyer, or some lawyer’s lawyer) predictably counters with some frivolous legal motions or belligerent public statements. And oh yeah, let’s not forget the craziest of Trump’s crazies stirring up trouble on social media, or worse.
But the funny thing is, that while things are happening awful fast, they are also happening awful slow. With so many players, and so many moving parts, there really is no telling when the good stuff is actually going to happen, and how long all that will drag on when it finally does happen. It’s pretty clear that Trump and his minions basically want litigation to continue until Halley’s Comet puts in its next appearance, hoping to duck and dodge, to stall and appeal and issue procedural challenges until he can somehow wangle himself a pardon, or until his adversaries simply lose interest, or die. The Indictment March may have indeed blown in like a speedy hare, but it will unfold like a creaky tortoise, at least for a while.
It should be noted that such delay tactics play into another, and more dangerous, aspect of what appears to be Trump’s game plan. By now it should be depressingly clear that Trump wants nothing more than to try the cases on social media rather than in the courts, with the hope that public pressure from his base – whether through online threats, acts of violence, or out-and-out rioting – will effectively neuter or circumvent the entire legal system. It’s almost as though Trump is trying to start an alternative government in domestic exile, one that functions extra-legally and extra-judicially. That’s probably why he seemed to believe that his aborted press conference (which had been scheduled for yesterday) would be sufficient to “prove” election fraud in Georgia and “exonerate” him of all charges, as though one can actually do those things on an internet platform rather than in a courtroom. What's more, Trump certainly knows that doing such things can only egg on the critical mass of his followers who are already convinced that their cause justifies acting outside the law, and it doesn’t help one bit that most republican politicians fail to acknowledge the gravity of Trump’s crimes (and mindlessly repeat the “witch-hunt” trope), rendering themselves pretty much complicit in the continuing chaos. You think Trump was dangerous when he won the White House? He’s far more dangerous now that he lost.
With all of this happening as we speak, every politician, every legal scholar, every journalist, every schmuck with access to a keyboard or within shouting distance of a microphone, has something to say about what lies ahead with Trump’s indictments, and of course it’s all pretty hard to know whom or what to believe.
And with that, enter the Toteboard. Stage left.
In an attempt to sort out what is likely to happen in the coming months, the Toteboard is pleased to debut the Indictment Toteboard. This will be updated periodically, with new line-items added or subtracted as the circumstances change and the stove gets hotter. Toteboard readers are invited to offer your own take on any of these odds, or to suggest new line-items that should be appearing. Note that unless otherwise specified, odds refer to cases involving Trump, rather than those only of his cronies.
The 8/22/23 Numbers:
Trump is indicted at least once more for federal or local crimes: 2-3
At least one more private citizen files a civil suit against Trump: 1-3
At least one specific count in one or more of the current indictments is dismissed before trial: 1-20
At least one current indictment is entirely dismissed before trial: 20-1
All current indictments are dismissed before trial: 500-1
At least one indictment actually goes to trial before the 2024 election: 1-2
All of the current indictments go to trial before the 2024 election: 10-1
None of the current indictments goes to trial before the 2024 election: 2-1
At least one indicted or currently un-indicted co-conspirator flips on Trump: 2-3
Five or more indicted or currently un-indicted co-conspirators flip on Trump: 20-1
At least one co-conspirator leaves or attempts to leave the country: 4-1
At least one judge, juror, witness, or court officer receives verbal threats from Trump supporters: Already occurred
At least one more judge, juror, witness, or court officer receives verbal threats from Trump supporters: 1-100
At least one judge, juror, or witness is physically assaulted (or worse) by Trump supporters: Even
At least one Trump supporter will be arrested for threatening to harm or actually harming judges, jurors, or witnesses: Already occurred
At least one more Trump supporter will be arrested for threatening to harm or actually harming judges, jurors, or witnesses: 1-90
The Georgia legislature’s Prosecuting Attorneys Oversight Committee investigates Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis: 1-3
The Georgia legislature removes Fani Willis from her position as Fulton County District Attorney: 2-1
One or more of Trump’s co-conspirators serves jail time: 3-7
Trump serves jail time: 100-1
So there we have it. Once again, feel free to give the Toteboard an earful if you disagree with any of these odds, or believe more line items should be added at this time. And in the meantime, enjoy the rest of the summer!