Bolton Is 'Extraordinarily Distressed' by Trump's Indictment: 'Weaker Than I Feared'


Former National Security Adviser John Bolton is ripping Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case against former President Donald Trump.

During an appearance on CNN after the indictment was unsealed, Bolton said, “Speaking as someone who very strongly does not want Donald Trump to get the Republican presidential nomination, I’m extraordinarily distressed by this document.”

“I think this is even weaker than I feared it would be, and I think it’s easily subject to being dismissed or a quick acquittal for Trump,” he added.

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Weeks after Trump stirred up speculation by predicting he would be arrested in Bragg’s investigation into hush money payments ahead of the 2016 election, he has been officially charged.

Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts related to falsifying business records. That crime is normally a misdemeanor in New York, but it can be bumped up to a felony if it was committed to hide another crime. In this case, Bragg argues that false business records were made to hide election law violations.

However, The Washington Post noted there could be several pitfalls with the case:

“Bragg told reporters that among the election laws he believes were broken is the federal cap on campaign contributions. It is unusual to argue that state laws have been broken to hide federal violations, and a judge may balk at the attempt. He said too that the scheme violated a New York law that makes it illegal to conspire to promote a candidacy by unlawful means. But, in turn, state election laws are not typically applied to federal campaigns.”

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And it is not clear Bragg can charge Trump with a felony by arguing he falsified business records to cover up a federal crime.

Additionally, legal analysts suggested it could be difficult to prove the hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels was made to influence the 2016 campaign.

The Post notes, “While the court documents unsealed Tuesday provide copious details of written records that demonstrate Trump falsely described the reimbursement payments to [Michael Cohen], they provide fewer details about evidence — beyond Cohen’s word — that Trump directed Cohen to pay Daniels in the first place and did so to win the election.”

And then there is the issue of the statute of limitations for nonviolent felonies, which expires after five years in New York. Still, some legal experts have pointed out that the statute of limitations can be paused under various circumstances, including the defendant leaving the state.

When Bragg was asked why he chose to bring this case now, he simply said, “The case was ready to be brought.” Perhaps there was some new evidence his team found, but he did not elaborate.

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The indictment comes off as a convoluted plot to try to charge the former president for allegedly violating a state election law during the 2016 presidential campaign, and a federal election law — which he does not have the jurisdiction to enforce — to bump up a misdemeanor charge and “get Trump.”

Bolton was not the only Trump critic to criticize the case. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said in a statement, “I believe the New York prosecutor has stretched to reach felony criminal charges in order to fit a political agenda.”

Between the questions about the legal theory of the case and the statute of limitations without apparently any new bombshells, it does seem like one that could be quickly tossed out in court, or end in Trump’s acquittal, or at the very least be tossed out on appeal.

And this case could create the perception that any subsequent charges are just a politically motivated pile on to take out the leading contender for the Republican nomination.

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