Trump uses impeachment to unite GOP, even as his weaknesses are apparent

A grand jury in New York voted to indict former President Donald Trump on charges related to hush money payments made to allegedly cover up affairs Trump had, multiple sources close to Trump confirmed to NPR Thursday. 

And the Trump GOP machine went right to work, rolling out a political playbook meant to insulate the former president with his base. 

"This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history," Trump said in a statement Thursday night. He added that it was "an act of blatant Election Interference" that would "backfire" on Democrats, and he attacked the New York district attorney, Alvin Bragg, a Democrat who brought the charges. 

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called the indictment an "unprecedented abuse of power." House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan put out a one-word statement that only said: "Outrageous."

Of course, the indictment brought against Trump isn't the result of something a prosecutor or judge did by fiat. A grand jury hears evidence from a prosecutor, then decides whether there's enough there to file charges against a suspect in a crime. And they did so. 

Politically, an indictment is very different from a conviction, and there are questions about the actual case Bragg has.