Report: Trump Was 'Blindsided' by Indictment

Sources say former president, aides thought it was weeks away
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2023 5:34 AM CDT
Report: Trump Was 'Blindsided' by Indictment
Kathy Clark of Lantana, right, and "Maga" Mary Kelley show their support for former President Donald Trump , Thursday, March 30, 2023, near Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

The timing of Thursday evening's historic indictment of former President Trump came as a surprise to him and his aides, insiders say—but there was a plan already in place. Sources tell the New York Times that the Trump team was caught off guard because they expected the indictment to happen weeks from now, if it all. On Wednesday, there were reports that the Manhattan grand jury was scheduled to take a break for most of April. According to the Times' sources, Trump was angry Thursday evening but "seemed eager to project confidence and calm" and dined publicly with wife Melania and her parents at Mar-a-Lago.

Politico's sources also say Trump was "blindsided" by the indictment, but his campaign team had been preparing for the moment for weeks. Within minutes, the campaign sent out a statement from Trump calling the indictment "Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history." The campaign also sent out fundraising emails and numerous statements from Trump supporters. The sources say that in an attempt to turn the first indictment of a former president in US history into a positive, the campaign plans to step up small-dollar fundraising appeals in the coming days and "pepper the airwaves" with pro-Trump talking points.

Trump and his aides have been preparing lines of attack on Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg and potential witnesses for weeks, a source tells the Washington Post. Trump slammed the indictment in numerous posts on his Truth Social and hinted at another line of attack in his final post of the night. "WHERE'S HUNTER?" he wrote a little before 3am. More on the indictment here. (More Donald Trump stories.)

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