Donald Trump Is Never Going to Jail

Can we stop pretending he will?

Will Leitch

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Here is a section from a piece about Donald Trump’s legal liabilities and the odds of him going to jail:

Trump now faces a level of legal risk unlike anything in his notoriously checkered past — and well beyond anything faced by any previous president leaving office. To assess the odds that he will end up on trial, and how the proceedings would unfold, I spoke with some of the country’s top prosecutors, defense attorneys, and legal scholars. For the past four years, they have been weighing the case against Trump: the evidence already gathered, the witnesses prepared to testify, the political and constitutional issues involved in prosecuting an ex-president. Once he leaves office, they agree, there is good reason to think Trump will face criminal charges. “It’s going to head toward prosecution, and the litigation is going to be fierce,” says Bennett Gershman, a professor of constitutional law at Pace Law School who served for a decade as a New York State prosecutor.

That reads like it came from something written in the wake of the January 6 Committee referring Trump for criminal prosecution on Tuesday. But it wasn’t. It was written in September 2020, in New York Magazine. That piece, which the above illustration accompanied, laid out, in well-reported detail, how Trump facing charges and legitimate jail time was a serious, and imminent, possibility. That piece ran 27 months ago.

If that piece seems familiar, here’s another one, from Politico, from December 2018.

If President Donald Trump is reelected in 2020, he will win more than four more years in the White House. He might also delay or even dodge any criminal prosecution. A Justice Department filing on Friday underscored the depth of the president’s potential legal exposure, after prosecutors found that Trump directed his then-personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to silence two women ahead of the 2016 election who claimed to have had affairs with the businessman-turned-politician.

Here is your reminder that Trump did not win reelection in 2020 yet still, somehow, is not indicted or in prison.

We can go back even farther, of course: Multiple federal investigations in the 1980s found clear connections between the

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Will Leitch

Author of six books, including “How Lucky” and "The Time Has Come." NYMag/MLB.. Founder, Deadspin. https://williamfleitch.substack.com