Ex-President Donald Trump is to be arrested on April 4, the European Commission agreed on countermeasures against economic coercion, and the Kremlin plans to get ammunition from North Korea.
Meanwhile, from April 1, Russia will be presiding over the UN Security council for a month and plans to hold three sessions.
offers a digest of Western mass media at the end of the March 27–31, 2023, business week.
What will happen when Trump is arrested on April 4
If Donald Trump surrenders on April 4, he is expected to face the standard procedure of arrest on felony, according to The New York Times.
He will be fingerprinted. He will be photographed. He may even be handcuffed. However, accommodations may be made for the former commander in chief: white-collar defendants deemed to pose less danger have their hands secured in front of them, not behind their backs.
It may take several days for Mr. Trump to appear at the courthouse. Now that the grand jury has voted to indict him — meaning to charge him with felony crimes — the indictment will remain sealed until his expected arraignment on Tuesday, when the charges will be formally revealed.
Prosecutors have already contacted Trump’s defense lawyers and negotiated the terms of his surrender, a common practice in white-collar investigations.
Lawyers for Trump have said on Thursday, March 30, that he will surrender, and he is expected to be arraigned on Tuesday.
After that, he is almost certain to be released on his own recognizance, because New York law doesn’t provide for holding a defendant on bail if the indictment contains only nonviolent felony charges.
In the event that the former president refuses to surrender, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has already said that his state "will not assist in an extradition request," should one come from New York authorities. Still, if DeSantis attempted to protect his Republican rival, he could possibly face legal action himself.
What the Trump indictment means for the U.S.
This is the first time in American history that a former president of the United States has been indicted on criminal charges, the NYT notes. "Whether the indictment is warranted or not, it crosses a huge line in American politics and American legal history," said Jack L. Goldsmith, a Harvard Law professor and former top Justice Department official.
Donald Trump can also face a second indictment in Georgia and a third from federal prosecutors and potentially even a fourth. The decision of the New York grand jury will encourage prosecutors to follow suit by charging the ex-president with more serious crimes.
Despite being unprecedented, this situation has been envisioned by the Constitution of the United States. According to it, a president impeached by the House and convicted and removed from office by the Senate "shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law."
However, some lawyers worry about the long-term political consequences of this case, which can open the door to prosecutors around the country taking it upon themselves to go after a president.
"Especially if this indictment is followed by even a justified indictment from the special counsel, we will see recriminations and retributions in the medium term, all to the detriment of our political national health," says Goldsmith.
Meanwhile, Trump would not be barred from running for his old office by an indictment or even a conviction. Thus, in 1920, Eugene V. Debs, the Socialist leader, mounted his fifth bid for the White House from prison, where he was serving time for his opposition to World War I.
The EU agreed on countermeasures against economic coercion: what they are about
This week, the European Commission, governments and Parliament agreed on a range of countermeasures to retaliate against economic bullies, Politico reports.
Alarmed by China's blockade of Lithuania over the Baltic member country's deepening ties with Taiwan, Brussels wants to get tougher with Beijing over an economic and trading relationship.
It's a message that Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will deliver when she visits China next week, together with French President Emmanuel Macron.
The instrument is "not a toothless tiger; it’s a tiger with teeth. It’s not a water pistol; it’s a gun," said Bernd Lange, a member of the European Parliament.
Countermeasures that the Commission could deploy include increased customs duties, intellectual property restrictions or export controls, under a time-bound procedure lasting no more than a year. A final deal is expected before the summer break, with the anti-coercion instrument likely to enter force in the second half of the year.
The idea of creation of an anti-coercion tool was originally inspired by the former U.S. President Donald Trump's imposition in 2018 of steel tariffs. Then, Brussels upgraded the EU’s so-called enforcement regulation for the first time, making it possible to retaliate with tariffs in the case of a trade conflict with a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
But, in the end, it was China that delivered the political impetus to get a deal over the line. When Beijing stopped imports of Lithuanian goods in retaliation over Taiwan, Brussels was powerless to defend itself.
The Commission's initial proposal in 2021 sparked fears of a "power grab," in which its powerful trade department would circumvent the current requirement for unanimity on foreign policy in the Council. This didn’t go down well with EU capitals, which eventually insisted on the possibility to block Commission action by a qualified majority vote.
The Netherlands can become the first example of application of the new instrument. The Dutch government bowed recently under U.S. pressure to impose export controls on equipment used to manufacture microchips. China’s ambassador to the Netherlands warned this would not stay "without consequences."
As of now, there is no clear-cut scenario to activate the anti-coercion instrument, EU diplomats said.
"The instrument is meant to deter and de-escalate when there’s specific coercive action," said Miriam García Ferrer, a European Commission spokesperson. "It will only be deployed as a last resort."
Russia wants to trade food for North Korea for ammunition
According to the BBC, Russia is sending a delegation to North Korea to offer food in exchange for weapons, U.S. national security spokesperson John Kirby has said.
He added that any arms deal between North Korea and Russia would violate UN Security Council resolutions.
The U.S. has previously accused North Korea of supplying arms to the Russian military in Ukraine and the Wagner group of Russia mercenaries. Pyongyang denied the claims.
North Korea is one of the poorest countries in the world and has experienced chronic food shortages for decades. In February, experts warned the country was facing a critical food crisis due poor weather, strict border controls, and the effect of international sanctions.
On Thursday, the U.S. Treasury blacklisted a Slovak national, Ashot Mkrtychev, for brokering deals that would enable North Korea to ship weapons to Russia in late 2022 and early 2023. In return Pyongyang received cash, commercial aircraft, commodities and raw materials..
Russia to take charge of the Security Council: what the aggressor plans
Russia is about to take charge of the Security Council: on April 1, it will be Russia’s turn to take up the monthly presidency, The Guardian reports.
The media outlet underscores that it happens while Moscow is pursuing a war of aggression in Ukraine and in The Hague, Vladimir Putin is facing an arrest warrant for war crimes.
The last time Russia held the gavel was in February 2022, when Putin declared his "special military operation" right in the middle of a Council session.
After a year of the full-scale war, putting Russia in the driving seat of a world body tasked with "maintaining international peace and security" seems like a cruel April fools joke, The Guardian writes.
"As of 1 April, they’re taking the level of absurdity to a new level," said Sergiy Kyslytsya, the Ukrainian permanent representative. "The security council as it is designed is immobilized and incapable to address the issues of their primary responsibility."
The ambassador said Ukraine would stay away from the security council in April except in the case of an "issue of critical national security interest".
The U.S., Britain, France, and their supporters on the council are likely to show their disapproval, but no member state is known to be planning any form of boycott.
The council presidency does give the monthly incumbent the power to organize its own sessions, and Russia is planning three:
- on 10 April it will hold a briefing on the "risks stemming from the violations of the agreements regulating the export of weapons and military equipment", at which it is expected to whine about arms supplies from the U.S. to Ukraine;
- two open debates on "effective multilateralism" and on the situation in the Middle East, over which its foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, is expected to preside.
As for the balance of diplomatic forces in the Security Council, The Guardian points out that China, one of the permanent members, regularly echoes Russian talking points in the Council. Among the 10 non-permanent members, Mozambique, the United Arab Emirates, and Gabon have generally stayed neutral over the Ukraine invasion, with Brazil moving into their direction recently.
"Under President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil was making an effort to engage with Russia and position itself as a potential peacemaker over Ukraine," says Richard Gowan, the UN director at the International Crisis Group.
However, he doesn’t think Russia has many close allies in the Security Council.