The Morning Briefing: Who Is Directing the Annoying Trump/Bragg Soap Opera?

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Top O’ the Briefing

Happy Thursday, dear Kruiser Morning Briefing friends. Delwyn felt that all that was holding him back was his inability to perfect his signature “Tacos al Pastor” cologne.

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We find ourselves in another one of those 24-hour news cycles that’s well past its shelf life, closing in on a week now. Yeah, other things are happening in the world, but — right or left — everyone is talking about whether Donald Trump is going to be arrested or not. It’s the one truly bipartisan thing happening in the United States at the moment.

While recording this week’s episode of our “Unwoke” podcast (which will post later today), Kevin Downey Jr. and I briefly discussed whether Trump might be hanging back and enjoying all of this political high drama. Readers here know that I think it will work out well for Trump if Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg finally goes through with it. I’m not the only one who believes that. I’m sure it’s crossed Trump’s mind a time or two.

Rick wrote something yesterday about what might be going on in Trump’s mind:

The grand jury that will vote out an indictment on Donald Trump — or not — isn’t sitting today, delaying DA Alvin Bragg’s big moment in the sun of getting to arrest the former president.

Trump has reportedly told aides that as long as he’s going to be arrested and processed, he may as well make a “spectacle” of the event. He has allegedly made it known to several aides that he wants to be handcuffed and perp-walked into the courthouse. Trump believes that refusing special treatment — a “remote” surrender or him arriving at the courthouse surreptitiously — would show strength and defiance.

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Trump has always known how to maximize almost any kind of publicity for his benefit. His flair for the dramatic made him one of the most successful reality television stars ever, after all.

In fact, Trump is so good at this that, at some point in the last few days, it almost seemed as if control of the situation shifted from Bragg to him. It was Trump, not Bragg’s office, who told the public that he would be arrested on Tuesday of this week. When that didn’t happen, it made Bragg look weak.

The fact that the grand jury wasn’t seated on Wednesday really made it seem as if Bragg was faltering. According to a post Matt wrote, there’s nothing definitive set for the grand jury for the rest of the week:

Trump was clearly on to something. The Wednesday session of the grand jury has been canceled, according to a report from Business Insider.

Two law enforcement officers have informed Insider that the grand jury in the Trump case has been instructed not to report for duty on Wednesday — the day previous reports suggested there would be a possible indictment vote against former President Donald Trump. Although there is no confirmed schedule beyond Wednesday, one of the sources, speaking anonymously, indicated that it is doubtful the grand jury will convene at all this week. The grand jury typically meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and Fox News reports that the grand jury is on standby for Thursday.

This is pure speculation, but it does appear that the combination of Trump getting in front of the narrative and scrutiny from House Republicans gave Bragg a temporary case of cold feet. I think he has been dreaming about the perverse star turn he’ll get from indicting Trump for so long that he will eventually go through with it. When he does, Trump’s public relations machinations of the past week will probably make it backfire on Bragg even more than it would have if he’d done it on Tuesday.

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Trump has definitely had his “A” game going in this situation. That hasn’t always been the case in recent months (see: “DeSantimonius”). When he’s focused, he can play PR chess better than anybody.

When he’s focused.

Reminder: last chance to get something in for tomorrow’s Mailbag of Magnificence!

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