Tuesday Briefing

Donald Trump leaving court yesterday in Manhattan.Credit…Pool photo by Victor J. Blue

Opening statements in Trump’s Manhattan trial

The first criminal trial of a former U.S. president began yesterday, with lawyers from each side presenting divergent visions of Donald Trump in their opening statements.

Prosecutors delivered a raw recounting of Trump’s seamy past, portraying him as a co-conspirator in a plot to cover up three sex scandals that threatened his 2016 election win and claiming that Trump lied “over and over and over” again to protect his candidacy.

Trump’s lawyers called the case a “business records violation” that wasn’t, arguing that the 34 felony counts Trump faces amounted to “just 34 pieces of paper.” They sought to undermine the credibility of the prosecution’s key witnesses, like Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer.

The day also included brief testimony from David Pecker, who ran The National Enquirer and whom prosecutors say bought and buried stories that could have imperiled Trump’s 2016 campaign. The proceedings ended early to accommodate the Passover holiday and a juror’s emergency dental appointment.

Here are five takeaways.

Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva is the most senior official to step down since the Oct. 7 assault.Credit…Dan Balilty for The New York Times
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