On the eve of his 77th birthday, Donald Trump was arraigned in Miami federal court on Tuesday, marking the former president’s second surrender in a little over two months after he pleaded not guilty to hush money charges back in April.
As expected, he pleaded not guilty to federal charges related to his mishandling of classified documents. He will soon head to his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club where, as he did after his April arraignment, Trump will deliver a speech that’s all but certain to feature a similarly tedious banquet of lies and false claims accusing the Justice Department of engineering a political hit job.
The day’s events, while extraordinary, are also part of a well-padded pattern. The first US president to get impeached twice is now the first former US president to surrender to federal charges. Though he joins a small list of former presidents who sought the White House after leaving office, Trump is almost certainly the most scandal-ridden and legally perilous former president to attempt it. And with the grand jury investigation in Georgia over his alleged efforts to interfere in the 2020 election expected to wrap up this summer, Trump stands to continue the ignominious, history-making courtroom appearances. Don’t forget, he also lost a civil suit for sexual assault this month, too.
How is all this drama playing out in the Republican presidential field? Most, including Ron DeSantis, have echoed Trump’s attacks on the Justice Department. Chris Christie is using the news cycle to boost his angle as a chief critic of the former president. In a more spectacular twist, Vivek Ramaswamy is pledging to pardon Trump if he becomes president. And Nikki Haley is once again flip-flopping.
This post has been updated with new developments.