Will Donald Trump's legal issues help him win the 2024 election?
Former President Donald Trump is facing an array of criminal and civil lawsuits and investigations. The month of February brought many legal setbacks for Trump, and it doesn't appear life will get any easier for the ex-president any time soon.
During the first week of March, the January 6 House Committee made a court filing which argued that Donald Trump and members of his campaign "engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States."
Lately, it seems that things seem to be going from bad to worse for Trump as he is engulfed in legal problems that affect him on all levels. His businesses may be hit with severe civil penalties, and Trump himself could even be indicted on serious criminal charges.
As the walls close in on Donald Trump, we can't help but ask how will he respond? How is he going to save his business and political career? Could all these problems actually help Trump if he runs for President in 2024?
First of all, although an indictment of Donald Trump is quite likely, the chances of a conviction are pretty low. The civil probe that the New York attorney general is disposing of the Trump family for could only result in financial penalties, certainly not jail time.
And although the Jan. 6 Committee in Congress has clearly stated that there is more than enough evidence to support the idea that the ex-President may have engaged in criminal behavior in an attempt at a coup, there is no evidence that the Justice Department is investigating these events.
In addition, even if Trump is found guilty of a crime that landed him in jail, there are not any laws that would disqualify him from running for President from prison. There are also no federal rules that disqualify candidates under indictment from running for Presidency, and in fact, Trump's persecution may just help his cause.
Even if Trump is indicted or his businesses are strongly financially penalized, Donald Trump will likely find a way to use these setbacks to his advantage. Trump loves to claim he is a victim of a witch hunt against himself and his family, and MAGA followers love this rhetoric.
Curious about some of the legal issues that Trump has been facing so far in 2022? Click on to read about his legal woes and his plans for the future!
In Februrary, Mazars USA, the longtime accounting firm for the Trump Organization cut ties with the Trump Organization and retracted ten years of financial statements.
By ending their relationship with the Trump Organization, Mazars USA potentially exposes Trump to significant financial and legal problems.
The papers in question are known as "statements of financial condition," which Donald Trump used to obtain loans for hundreds of millions of dollars.
On February 9, William Kelly, Mazars' general counsel, informed the Trump Organization that the family business financial statements prepared between 2011 and 2020 were no longer reliable.
The accountants informed the Trump organization that following their own investigation into Trump's economic situation, they were "not able to provide any new work product to the Trump Organization."
Of the multiple investigations against Trump, the most threatening is the investigation by New York state attorney general Letitia James. The release of Trump's financial documents by Mazars may aid in James' investigation.
In January, James put Trump and the Trump Organization under incredible pressure with the release of business details when she filed multiple instances related to golf courses, assets, and real estate.
James stated that Trump had "falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic benefit."
According to The Guardian, Trump is currently facing nineteen legal problems, of which six are due to alleged financial irregularities.
It is indeed a tricky time for Donald Trump, his business, and his family with what appear to be new legal threats on the weekly.
At the start of the year fifteen boxes of documents and other items were retrieved by The National Archives and Records Administration at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home.
According to Archive officials, the former president should have turned the material over to the agency following his departure from the White House.
The fact that Trump had official presidential documents in his home one year after he lost the election certainly raises a few concerns.
It seems that Donald Trump did not adhere very strictly to the Presidential Records Act, which according to The Washington Post, stipulates that memos, letters, notes, emails, faxes, and other written communications related to official duties be preserved.
The Washington Post reported that among the items collected were "correspondence with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which Trump once described as "love letters," as well as a letter left for Trump by President Barack Obama."
However, Trump advisers rebuff abhorrent intent and claim that it was nothing more than gifts, souvenirs, and letters from other world leaders left at Mar-a-Lago.
The Washington Post spoke to two former Trump advisers who claim that the packing process was very chaotic when the time came for Donald Trump to leave the White House, mainly "because Trump did not want to pack or accept defeat for much of the transition."
After losing the election, being kicked off social media, and losing access to the White House media apparatus, Donald Trump had a rough start to 2021. We all knew he would not simply sit back and enjoy the life of a retiree....so what has Trump been up to?
From an intense last year of his presidency - one of the most eventful in American history - Donald Trump certainly has quieted down. But appearances can be misleading. Trump's withdrawal from public debate is not voluntary.
Naturally, the first order of business, on Trump's 2021 agenda was to create his own social media platform, so he could express himself freely.
Thus, TRUTH Social was born. And just 13 months after Trump was kicked off Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, the former President launched his own social media app. According to the Apple Inc App Store listing, TRUTH Social was released on the 21st of February, 2022, on President's Day.
Apart from him saying "I'll be back" when leaving the White House, there are many other indications that Donald Trump is preparing his comeback.
Though the 2024 election is still far away, he already told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on February 28 that "our movement of hard-working patriots has just begun and we will win in the end." How does Trump think he will return to the political fray, and what kind of alliances and support is he counting on?
At the CPAC in Florida, in late February, Donald Trump made clear that he will not create his own political formation. Instead, he will continue as a member of the Republican Party, where grassroot support is as strong as ever.
A poll of CPAC attendees showed that 68% of those present were in favor of Trump running in the Republican primaries for re-election in 2024. The event even honored him with a golden statue. It may seem trivial, but since the rise of the radical Tea Party, grassroots movemens have demonstrated that they can put whomever they want in leading positions.
Some politicians within the Republican Party support Trump out of convenience or opportunism. Others, especially those in the more moderate party establishment, are pushing back on too great an influence from Mar-a-Lago.
Donald Trump seems to be playing these two groups of Republicans against each other. At the CPAC, the former president summed up the names of 17 Republican legislators who had voted to impeach or convict him in his impeachment trials. "Get rid of them all," he said.
Author Michael D'Antonio of the book 'The Truth about Trump' told The Guardian that the tycoon "believes in getting even... It’s always a matter of, ‘Are you with me? And if you’re not with me, then you’re against me, and you must be destroyed.’"
Among Trump's powerful enemies within the Republican Party is Liz Cheney, the daughter of George W. Bush's vice-president. Trump named her specifically as someone to "get rid of" in the next election for Republican Senator of Wyoming.
Considering her background, and the fame she gathered while voting to impeach the former president, Cheney may well be entering the Republican primary for the presidency. She would be a good conservative choice for a broad base.
Trump has also vowed the unseat the Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, The Guardian reports. He called her "disloyal" because she voted to convict him for inciting the Capitol Hill insurrection on January 6.
For Cheney, Murkowski and other Republicans he wants to eliminate, Trump has set up the strategy of sponsoring and endorsing any Republican candidate who runs against them.
While preparing his comeback to politics, Trump turned his Mar-a-Lago mansion into a meeting place for his fans within the Republican Party. Politicians are either visiting the Florida resort to work on a strategy to get Trump back into the White House, or they are requesting his endorsement for their own races in the Senate or House.
One of the allies he received there since leaving office is Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. One of Trump's staunchest supporters, she has visited him in his retreat at Mar-a-Lago. Curiously, this conservative political activist is also the niece of Mitt Romney, one of Trump's great enemies within the party.
In addition, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has visited Mar-a-Lago, various US media reported. He used to be a Trump detractor but has since converted to the religion of the former president. Graham claims that during his meeting, Trump received no less than 10 phone calls from prominent personalities showing their support for him.
The phone calls are probably from Republicans who want something in return for their compliments and loyalty. Jason Miller told The Guardian that Trump is considering whom to endorse for various positions in the House and Senate. "Everybody is coming to Mar-a-Lago or trying to get President Trump on the phone to ask for his endorsement," he said.
Among the Republican 'pilgrims' to Mar-a-Lago, The Guardian mentions House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky (in the photo).
Given the popularity of Donald Trump among Republican voters, his support - or withholding of support - for candidates like these gives Trump a form of leverage within the Republican Party.
The leverage of his popularity among Republican voters and the loyalty of the candidates he endorses, Trump can use, in turn, to reach his own goals. It may be a run for presidency in 2024, or an indirect influence on policies. It's also possible that Trump will encourage one of his relatives to run for office.
While Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump may have burnt out during the legislature that ended abruptly with the storming of the Capitol, Trump continues to focus on members of his clan to take on positions of political power.
Donald Trump Jr. rallies alongside his father and is expected to play an important role in future Republican primaries.
Eric Trump's wife Lara is also much talked about as an important player in the campaign to return to the White House. A television producer and presenter, she masters the medium that Trump is passionate about.
According to reporters who follow her closely, Ivanka has recently been dressing differently from before. This may imply that she is trying to change her image in order to run for office.
Voters tend to like an "outsider" in politics, such as a "relatable supermom," Alaina Dimopoulos of the Daily Beast suggested, "hence the dowdy khakis and polos she wears while golfing." Although outlets like the Daily Beast speak of "a precarious rebranding," it is obviously too early to tell whether Ivanka is preparing for a political career or not.
Whatever difficulties Trump is having in his private business, fundraising for a new campaign seems to be going well. He had a difficult time when big donors turned their backs on him in the wake of the Capitol riot, but at the same time, smaller donations have multiplied. Once again, we see grassroots fervor versus elite fear in play.
Trump has set up his own political action committee, the Save America Pac, which basically competes with other fundraisers of the Republican Party for donations. Jason Miller told The Guardian that Trump's Pac already has $80m in the bank. Critics in the party say that Trump is not helping the Republicans this way. He "is more focused on raising money for himself rather than helping the Republican party regain control of Congress," The Guardian summarizes their comments.
Some critics go even further, by claiming that Trump is raising these funds for personal use. "Capitalizing off of his political brand may be Trump’s best financial prospect at this point," The Guardian says. "The Trump Organization’s revenue sharply declined last year, and Trump is personally responsible for $300m in loans that are due over the next four years, according to a New York Times analysis of his tax records. His financial woes come as the Manhattan district attorney has launched an expansive investigation of the Trump Organization’s business dealings."
The paper cites a Trump critic within the Republican Party, Michael Steele, in saying with regard to his political venture, that "this is all transactional for him. It’s not personal. It’s the next level of financial transactions that Trump wants to engage in." The author D'Antonio adds to this observation: "If you look at all the peril he faces legally and the near collapse of many of his businesses, he’s looking for a revenue stream... I think that’s his new business."
While Joe Biden is pursuing a normalization agenda in which only his progressive policies make the news and not his character, Trump appeals to a group of Americans who wish to return to the imperial and economic glory of former times. Will Trump fight his way back into the White House? Will he beat his opponents within the Republican Party? Could he win the 2024 election? We shall see.