Donald Trump Is Campaigning For His Freedom – It Might Just Work: Former President Donald Trump is doubling down on utilizing his ongoing criminal cases as a campaign strategy for the upcoming 2024 election, according to sources close to him.
This strategic move follows a summer laden with legal challenges, including charges related to retaining national security documents in Florida and attempts to overturn the 2020 election in Washington and Georgia. These trials are scheduled to occur before the next election.
Despite the legal turmoil, the indictments have unexpectedly provided political advantages for Trump. They have given him the opportunity to frame the prosecutions as politically motivated and test lines of attack that resonate with his base, leading to fundraising and polling gains. Trump’s campaign recognizes that blurring the lines between legal and political efforts could be his best overall strategy.
The Guardian reports that within the campaign, it has been joked that Trump is not just running for the White House in 2024, but also for his freedom. If he were to win, he could appoint an attorney general to dismiss any pending cases or potentially pardon himself if already convicted. Of course, that would only work in federal cases, not in the states.
The newspaper’s Washington reporter Hugo Lowell also highlights how this strategy could soon run into challenges in the forthcoming general election.
Lowell suggests that independent voters may be put off by Trump’s constant focus on his legal problems, especially if he is convicted on serious charges like retaining classified US military plans. The Trump campaign is aware that the 2024 election, whether in the Republican primary or against Joe Biden, will be overshadowed by Trump’s legal battles, regardless of their campaign efforts.
Dining Out on Election Interference
The core of this strategy revolves around embracing the dominant theme of Trump’s criminal indictments in the 2024 race and using them to his advantage. He has settled on a key message that portrays the criminal cases as election interference orchestrated by Joe Biden, despite their non-political nature.
Trump’s ability to create a circus-like atmosphere and dominate news coverage has been instrumental in diverting attention from his legal troubles and benefiting his campaign. While it remains to be seen whether this gamble will pay off, Lowell admits that Trump’s advisers have already pointed out that discrediting the indictments as partisan has been successful in garnering support within his base and among Republican primary voters. Nonetheless, the challenge lies in adapting this strategy for the national election while addressing the concerns of a broader audience.
Georgia 2020 Election Investigation
Trump’s latest indictment reveals the first-ever mugshot of a former US president, as Donald Trump turned himself in at Fulton County Jail on 24 August. The charges stem from attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss in Georgia, with 13 counts against him, including alleged violations of Georgia’s Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
The potential penalties are severe, with a racketeering charge carrying a maximum 20-year jail sentence. Trump, who pleaded not guilty, has defended the infamous phone call and accused prosecutors of political motivations.
2020 Election Investigation
In a separate federal investigation tied to efforts to overturn the 2020 election, Trump faces four counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of official proceedings. These charges stem from actions following the election and the 6 January Capitol riot.
The penalties for these charges include fines or imprisonment up to 20 years. Trump, who also pleaded not guilty in this case, argues that the charges are an attempt to hinder his 2024 presidential election prospects.
Classified Documents Case
Facing a whopping 40 criminal charges related to mishandling classified material, Trump’s alleged obstruction of retrieving these documents is also under scrutiny. The majority of charges are for the wilful retention of national defense information, and if convicted, they could potentially lead to substantial prison time.
While Trump denies the charges and pleads not guilty, legal experts speculate that traditional imprisonment for a former president is unlikely due to logistical, security, and political reasons.
New York Hush Money Case
Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to a hush-money payment made before the 2016 election to adult film star Stormy Daniels. The charges pertain to a violation of federal campaign finance law.
Each charge carries a maximum of four years in prison. Trump, who denies the allegations, is set to stand trial in March 2024.
In the face of these legal challenges, Donald Trump remains defiant, maintaining his innocence and positioning these cases as politically motivated attacks. As these cases unfold, they are sure to cast a significant shadow over Trump’s political ambitions in the upcoming 2024 presidential race. Stay tuned for updates on this evolving legal saga.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.
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