The former president faces far more serious allegations than paying hush money to an adult film star. This is only the beginning
Donald Trump has built his career on brazenness. A man without shame, he has hurtled on apparently unstoppably, through serial scandals, two impeachments, electoral rejection and an armed insurrection by his supporters. Now he is setting another grim precedent, as the first former US president in history to be charged with a criminal offence. Half a century after the first investigation into his business dealings, a New York grand jury has voted to indict him. But even if he cannot bluster or bully his way out, he will keep fighting the law, and the law may not win.
That the case relates to paying hush money to the adult film actor Stormy Daniels is at once apt and disconcerting. Apt, in that its tawdriness and banality encapsulate the man. Disconcerting, in that it appears almost inconsequential beside the damage he has wrought upon the nation. He still faces multiple other civil and criminal cases: on the latter score alone, he is being investigated in relation to potential mishandling of classified documents; attempts to overturn his loss in Georgia in the 2020 election; and obstructing the transfer of power, as part of the justice department’s probe of the January 6 insurrection. Many would rather have seen charges brought against him on one of these grounds.