Will Trump Get Indicted?

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump. Photo: Chet Strange/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
July 3, 2022

There’s not a lot of love for Donald Trump on Wall Street, for obvious reasons. He’s notoriously poor at paying his debts and has stiffed major banks out of hundreds of millions of dollars over the years. Then there was his regrettable one term as president, during which he upended nearly every civic norm and managed to become the first occupant of the Oval Office to be twice impeached. If that weren’t enough, he followed that up with his pathetic and ungracious display of indignity in the wake of the 2020 election, culminating with his encouragement of the January 6 tragedy. Now, we’ve had weeks of congressional hearings that have revealed the gory details of Trump’s insurrection, including the riveting testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, the 25-year-old aide to former Trump chief of staff, Mark Meadows. (Trump has vehemently denied the accusations made in her testimony.)

Is it time yet for Trump to be indicted by Merrick Garland’s Justice Department, and if so, for what? Are we any closer to that actually happening, or is that still too politically and legally hazardous? I put these questions recently to an elite group of attorneys and former prosecutors. “Yes,” replied one former prosecutor rather quickly, even though he was on a European sojourn and had just enjoyed “a good bottle of red wine.” He added, “A prosecutor with a pair of balls would indict him.” He then emailed back that even though that “legal analysis” came after the bottle of wine, “I stand by it.” Another former prosecutor agreed that “Yes, definitely” Trump was inching closer toward being indicted but it was “still not a done deal.” I asked what it would take at this point to push the Justice Department into an indictment. “Determination and courage,” he replied. “I think D.O.J. has both in this case.”