How Will a Trump Indictment Affect His Campaign?

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

It appears that Democrats are ready to follow through with their strategy to stop former President Donald Trump from possibly occupying the White House once again, by using the legal system against him. Trump is facing a possible indictment and arrest coming sometime next week over the Stormy Daniels affair.

The news isn’t much of a surprise, as the Manhattan district attorney’s office has been looking for ways to indict the former president for years. However, there may be some issues in how they approached this matter that might make the situation more complicated than it seems.

Nevertheless, Trump confirmed on Saturday morning in a post on Truth Social that he is expecting to be indicted and arrested. Legalities aside, it makes sense to consider how this might affect his bid for the presidency in 2024.

On Truth Social, Trump lashed out at District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who was heavily funded by George Soros, would be indicting him “with no crime being able to be proven, & based on an old & fully debunked…fairy tale.”

Trump concluded:


Hours after Trump’s post, a spokesman issued a statement noting that the former president did not yet have direct knowledge of the timing of his impending arrest. “President Trump is rightfully highlighting his innocence and the weaponization of our injustice system,” the statement said.

According to the New York Times:

Although prosecutors working for the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, have signaled that an indictment of Mr. Trump could be imminent, they have not told Mr. Trump’s lawyers when charges would be sought or when an arrest would be made, people with knowledge of the matter said. At least one more witness is expected to testify in front of the grand jury, which could slightly delay any indictment, the people said.

The NY Times also noted that a source explained that “a Tuesday surrender was unlikely given the need to arrange timing, travel and other logistics.”

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer who was involved in the alleged crime involving porn star Stormy Daniels, told the New York Post that the former president “would have no reason to put out the statement unless he has been contacted by the [District Attorney of New York] and advised accordingly.”

“Donald’s post is eerily similar to his battle cry prior to the January 6th insurrection; including calling for protest. By doing so, Donald is hoping to rile his base, witness another violent clash on his behalf and profit from it by soliciting contributions,” he said.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to a charges related to a $130,000 payment to Daniels in the latter days of the 2016 campaign. Daniels claimed the money was intended to keep her quiet about her claims that she slept with Trump in 2006. Trump denies the allegation.

Cohen said that Trump ordered him to make the payment for the “principal purpose of influencing” the election. He was later repaid the money he paid Daniels, through payments listed by Trump’s organization, as “legal fees.”

NBC News reported that Bragg is “investigating Trump for felony falsification of business records.”

However, there could be some problems in the upcoming attempt to prosecute Trump over the Stormy Daniels issue. RedState’s Bonchie pointed out that even left-leaning media outlets like the New York Times have acknowledged that this prosecution is “based on an ‘untested’ and ‘risky’ legal theory that attempts to connect several different laws, some of which may not actually connect.”

Moreover, Cohen, being the primary witness, “is a former felon with an ax to grind,” which would give Trump’s attorneys enough ammunition to sow seeds of doubt in a jury. But even more pressing is the reality that the prosecution has to show that the former president “intended to commit a second crime by making the hush money payment,” which is how they are trying to upgrade the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony.

All of these facts will certainly play into Trump’s campaign.

On the one hand, if the prosecution has evidence that the former president committed a serious crime, and manages to convict him, then it is likely that his future political aspirations are doomed. While the conservative base still adores Trump, this might be enough to show them that he has far too much baggage to have a chance at defeating the Democratic candidate in the upcoming election. This will undoubtedly be used by those challenging him for the GOP nomination.

Conversely, if it turns out that the problems with the impending charges are too glaring, this whole thing could work in Trump’s favor. If the prosecution cannot show enough evidence that he committed a serious crime – anything more severe than a misdemeanor – we can be sure that the former president and his team will use it to their advantage. If they are smart, they will push the narrative that Democrats in government are once again using their positions to launch another politically-motivated effort to keep Trump from securing the nomination and the presidency.

They would have ample reason to do this – the history shows that people in government have been targeting Trump since before the 2016 election. The Spygate scandal, along with the promotion of the Russia collusion hoax, will lurch back into the conversation. The FBI’s raid on Trump’s home will also be used as even more evidence showing that Democrats are using government agencies to attack him. It will be a narrative that will sell largely because it is true.

I can think of nothing else that would re-energize Trump’s base. The fact that Democrats are going to such extreme lengths to stop Trump will only make him more of a sympathetic figure on the right, and the base will want blood, politically speaking, of course.

Is this how this situation will shake out? We will probably know within a few months.

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