"Wonderful news!": Maggie Haberman reveals former Trump employees texted her to celebrate indictment

Some former TrumpWorld allies are "really happy" about the criminal charges against the ex-president

Published March 31, 2023 12:51PM (EDT)

Maggie Haberman speaks during "Confidence Man" - Maggie Haberman In Conversation With Alex Burns at 92NY on October 03, 2022 in New York City. (Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
Maggie Haberman speaks during "Confidence Man" - Maggie Haberman In Conversation With Alex Burns at 92NY on October 03, 2022 in New York City. (Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman revealed that she personally received texts from former President Donald Trump's inner circle celebrating his indictment.

A Manhattan grand jury on Thursday voted to indict the former president in connection to a 2016 hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. Haberman, the author of "Confidence Man," told CNN that she started getting texts from Trumpworld contacts within minutes of the news. 

Host Kaitlan Collins asked Haberman if there were people within the Trump Organization that were "quietly cheering" amid news of the indictment. 

"By quietly, I'm sure they were loudly on their end of the phone, but were texting me," Haberman said. "And there was a long trail of people who feel burned in one way or another by Donald Trump. We certainly saw that in the White House. This was a pattern that existed for decades before the Trump Organization."

"The number of people I heard from yesterday who worked for his company, who were really happy. One person texted with the words 'wonderful news!'" she revealed. "That really tells you something about where these folks' heads are."

Haberman also said that Trump's advisers were "caught by surprise" and some of them even learned of the news from her and her colleagues. 

"He's very angry and should not really surprise anybody," Haberman said of Trump. "I don't think that means that he's throwing staplers, but I think he's really angry. Everything that you were saying in his statement about how this is a political persecution or a political prosecution, I think, is something that he genuinely believes. And I expect that it is going to be said with greater degrees of intensity."

She also shared that they expect Trump to surrender on Tuesday, but that they're not sure how that's going to look. 

"This is not an ordinary defendant," Haberman cautioned. "He comes with a phalanx of Secret Service. This is going to require multi-agency protection. He's not just any other defendant in reality."

In another appearance on Thursday night's edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, Haberman said that the "process of getting arrested" will be "much more jarring for him than I think most people realize."

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"I've been told that he's been briefed on what that will look like. It will involve fingerprinting. It's going to be unlike, you know, a normal arraignment because he's going to have Secret Service and this is going to look different," she said. 

"This is somebody who has spent more than four decades trying to avoid being arrested or being indicted. And so this is a really scary moment for him, despite whatever he says," Haberman continued. "Now, you talk to different people tonight, you hear he's fine. You talk to others who say that he's very angry. I expect that we will be hearing all of those emotions going in various ways for the coming days."

Haberman explained that she doesn't know what the fallout is going to be politically, but that this is the first time that she can think of where he can't control a situation. 

"He was able to control impeachment in some way because Mitch McConnell was on his side in the Senate trial and because House Republicans were on his side," she explained. "He was even able to control the second impeachment to some extent. With the Mueller report and the investigation. He was never going to get indicted as a sitting president."

"I think that he has an overconfidence in his ability to impact events by intimidation tactics, by pushing out headlines," she concluded. "This is now in the hands of whatever judge he draws and what the voters think."

By Samaa Khullar

Samaa Khullar is a former news fellow at Salon with a background in Middle Eastern history and politics. She is a graduate of New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism institute and is pursuing investigative reporting.

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