National Emergency: What Trump Showed Us In His New York Court Appearance

National Emergency: What Trump Showed Us In His New York Court Appearance

Former President Donald Trump at civil trial in New York Supreme Court on November 6, 2023

Sketch by Jane Rosenberg

This is the day that Defendant Donald Trump revealed his plan for the rest of his life. Today in the case brought against him by New York Attorney General Letitia James in a Manhattan courtroom, every syllable Trump uttered was in furtherance of getting himself elected to the presidency of the United States. He doesn’t care that he has already lost the case against him, having been declared liable for defrauding banks and insurance companies in a scheme to enrich himself. He doesn’t care what the decision by Judge Arthur F. Engoron with respect to penalties and potential loss of control of his businesses will be.

He made that clear as can be in his arrogant, dismissive testimony on the stand when questioned by Kevin Wallace, the lawyer for the New York Attorney General, or when cautioned by Judge Engoron to stop making speeches and answer the question.

Trump doesn’t care about the verdict and any penalties that might be levied by the court and the state of New York, because in his mind, when he becomes president in January of 2025, he’ll just ignore them. He won’t pay the penalties. He won’t yield control of his companies. He won’t listen and he won’t obey the judgements, because he will be president, and who’s going to say anything different? He doesn’t care about his upcoming trial for defamation in the case brought by E. Jean Carroll — the second defamation case, by the way — because he won’t abide by the verdict in the last case or this one.

Trump has already announced that when he is elected president and takes office, he is going to clean out the Department of Justice and put in an Attorney General and team of lawyers loyal to him, and he will order them to go after Joe Biden and his entire family. He will fire Special Prosecutor Jack Smith, and go after him too. He will ignore any judgement against him that has been made by a jury of 12 citizens of Washington D.C. and carried out by Judge Tanya Chutkan. If he is ordered to serve time in jail and the judgement is suspended pending appeal, he will ignore that, too. If he is fined, he won’t pay the fine. If he is ordered to do community service, he won’t do it.

The same will be true for any decision of guilt by a jury in the classified documents case in Florida. He will ignore the decision of the jury and judge in the case. If the case is still ongoing in 2025, he will have his attorney general order that it be dismissed.

He will do the same thing in the racketeering case brought against him in Fulton County, Georgia. If there is a verdict of guilty in that case, he will ignore the verdict and decline to serve any time in jail or pay any fine ordered by the judge in the case.

Donald Trump’s plan for the next 12 months is to win the election for president on November 5, 2024, and on January 20, 2025, appoint himself King of the World. If he wants to make crooked deals that enrich himself and his family with foreign countries like China and Russia and Saudi Arabia, he will make them right out in the open, and he will hold a press conference in the White House or give an interview on Fox News and say, “What are you going to do about it?”

Who is going to tell him differently? He has a 6 to 3 majority on the Supreme Court who will rule for him slavishly on any case brought against him in federal court, and in any state case that is appealed to the Supreme Court. It doesn’t matter who controls the House of Representatives or the Senate. If they are controlled by Democrats, he will tell them to go pound sand. If Republicans control either house, or both houses, he will tell them what he wants them to do. If any Republican votes against him in either chamber of the Congress, he will order the Republican Party to run someone against them in a primary so that they lose their seats.

If the Congress is controlled by Democrats and will not pass the budget he wants or the laws Trump wants them to pass, he will issue executive orders and declare that his orders have the force of law by fiat. If anyone puts up an argument, legal, moral, or otherwise, that he can’t do that, he will say, in effect, what are you going to do about it?

Trump has already said that he will use the Federal Communications Commission to take the broadcast licenses of companies like CNN and NBC and MSNBC and ABC and CBS that broadcast programs he doesn’t like. The FCC does not regulate newspapers, but if he is threatening to end the broadcasting of news he doesn’t like, we should take him at his word and understand that he and his minions will be looking for ways to shut down newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post. What Trump is threatening is to take on the First Amendment to the Constitution. If he does that, can arresting and jailing journalists be far behind?

Trump will fire all the senior generals in the Pentagon and appoint replacements that have sworn a loyalty oath to him. He has already said that on his first day in office as president in 2025, he will put in force his powers under the Insurrection Act and use active-duty soldiers to put down any protests against him or his policies. The Insurrection Act also temporarily suspends the Posse Comitatus Act that forbids using the military from taking part in federal law enforcement. Trump will extend the “temporarily” provision of the Insurrection Act for as long as he likes, enabling federal forces to “assist” civilian forces with law enforcement. This will give the U.S. military the power of arrest and detention.

If Trump’s military law enforcement officials fill the civilian jails, he will order that detention camps be built to hold all of those arrested for demonstrating against him and his government and its policies. If someone has the temerity to file a lawsuit against his invocation of the Insurrection Act and suspension of the Posse Comitatus Act, and the case reaches the Supreme Court, and by some miracle the court rules against Trump while his military enforcement of the law is in effect with soldiers in the streets, he will challenge the Supreme Court’s authority by saying of their enforcement powers, “Yeah, you and whose army?”

When Donald Trump says he will assert his powers under the Insurrection Act, we should believe him. When he states that on his first day in office, he will go after Joe Biden and his entire family, we should believe him. When he says he’s going to staff the Department of Justice with loyalists and use it for retribution against his enemies, we should believe him. When he says he is going to get ride of the “woke” generals in the Pentagon and promote “his” generals who will follow his orders, we should believe him.

If Donald Trump wins the presidency in 2024 and takes power in 2025 and starts carrying out the plans he has already announced, he will not allow himself to be voted out of office in 2028. The arrogant id-fueled man who testified in court today in New York City will not be denied. What we’ve seen on the stand in Manhattan is what we will get.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this is reprinted with permission.

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