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Trump isn’t the ringmaster he once was. But we’re still watching his show | Margaret Sullivan

Despite everything, Trump now seems more likely to secure the Republican nomination. He’s still the sun around which the Republican party orbits

Reporters were lined up outside overnight, hoping to get one of just a handful of press seats in the courtroom. Protesters arrived, too, both supporting and opposed to the former president, and the cops corralled them into separate pens. By mid-morning, the scene on Centre Street in lower Manhattan had become crowded, chaotic and carnivalesque. Anti-Trump liberal protestors chanted “Lock him up!”, mimicking Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan in a delighted display of sinking to your opponent’s level.

Pro-Trump protestors donned aviator sunglasses and their trademark red hats, and led confused cries of, “USA! USA!” Someone had handed out whistles, transforming the scene into a discordant, echoing cacophony. There were cameras outside Trump Tower in Midtown to film when he got into his motorcade to go to the arraignment, and there were cameras there outside the courthouse, to watch him get out of the car and walk inside.

Moira Donegan is a Guardian US columnist

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