By David O'Brien
RepresentUs Policy Director

April 5, 2023

If you’re confused about what’s going on this week, you’re probably not alone.

One of the things RepresentUs does best is to translate all the legal and policy wonk talk into, ya know, normal people speak. So here’s a breakdown of what’s going on with President Trump:

What’s happening this week?

Yesterday, former President Trump was arraigned on criminal charges. An arraignment is the first time someone charged with a crime appears in court to hear the charges and enter an initial plea. This is the first time the former president – and the rest of the world – learned what specific crimes he’s been charged with.

What’s President Trump accused of?

Trump has been charged with 34 offenses, ranging from falsification of business records to conspiracy arising from hush money payments made to an adult film star before the 2016 election.

Why should I care?

At its most basic, this is a major moment in American history. Never before has a former president faced criminal charges.

Despite what a lot of people are saying, the willingness to prosecute former leaders is often a good sign of a democracy’s strength. Investigating former leaders isn’t necessarily a sign that a place is a “banana republic”. Established democracies like France, South Korea, Israel and Italy have all had criminal prosecutions of former presidents or prime ministers in recent years.

That said, we’re about to enter some uncharted waters politically and constitutionally, and that could lead to stressful situations and constitutional crises. One thing is for certain, this is a big moment for the anti-corruption movement and we’re grateful to have you with us.


What does RepresentUs think about the case?

Listen, we’re proud to live in a country where everyone is innocent until proven guilty. We’re not here to pass judgment. We, as the American people, need to take a breath and allow the courts to do their thing instead of coming to hasty conclusions or spreading misinformation.

However, here at RepresentUs, we feel strongly that in a healthy democracy, when a politician – or any American – breaks the law, they should be held accountable. There shouldn’t be one justice system for everyday Americans and another for the rich and powerful.

What I know for sure is that our work to root out corruption and strengthen democracy must continue. If you’re ready to take the next step and help us continue to win anti-corruption campaigns across the country, I hope you’ll join the Common Wealth community by starting a monthly commitment today.

When you do, 100% of your donation each month will go directly to supporting the front lines of this movement, not things like overhead. Your support will help us mobilize volunteers, make phone calls, send texts, and provide strategic support to pass laws that put power in the hands of voters.


RepresentUs is America’s leading anti-corruption organization working city-by-city, state-by-state to fix our broken political system.