Donald Trump and his allies are preparing voters for potential bad news

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Former president and 2024 presidential candidate Donald Trump has been making strong statements suggesting that the judicial system is unfairly targeting him, extending beyond mere disagreement with the ongoing hush money trial. Trump’s remarks seem to be aimed at preparing his supporters for the possibility of a guilty verdict.

 

Donald Trump and his allies are preparing voters for potential bad news
Donald Trump and his allies are preparing voters for potential bad news

Trump has been vocal about his criticisms of the trial in various settings, including political rallies, social media, and interviews close to the courthouse in New York. These statements appear calculated to influence public opinion ahead of what he and his advisors anticipate could be an unfavorable ruling.

During a recent press interaction, Trump underscored, “The New York judicial system has been severely mistreated. The entire world is observing.” His comments reflect a strategy to cast doubt on the fairness of the legal proceedings.

The allegations against Trump involve claims of unlawful influence on the 2016 presidential election through payments to women to prevent them from disclosing alleged sexual encounters. Throughout, Trump has maintained his innocence in this matter.

Trump targets moderate voters

Trump has been careful not to explicitly predict a guilty verdict, occasionally expressing public optimism about the unfolding developments in his trial. “Many positive developments are unfolding in the case,” he remarked on Thursday.

However, a considerable amount of Trump’s attention has been focused on accusing the judge, prosecutors, and potential jurors of political bias, often making unsupported claims that his political adversaries are actively seeking his imprisonment.

Moreover, Trump and his supporters have entertained the idea that a guilty verdict could be overturned on appeal—a scenario that wouldn’t come into play if he were acquitted or if the jury couldn’t reach a decision.

Legal analysts suggest that Trump might have little choice but to consider the potential impact of a guilty verdict on his campaign against President Joe Biden.

By emphasizing perceived unfairness in the trial, Trump’s criticisms are aimed not only at his core supporters but also at moderate and independent voters who have had doubts about his behavior.

Bradley P. Moss, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney specializing in government transparency issues, commented, “His base will unquestionably believe his assertions. The critical question is how independents will perceive these claims.”

 

Trump appeals to New Jersey

Trump’s latest effort to prepare his supporters for potential legal challenges will unfold on Saturday during a campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey. This marks Trump’s return to the campaign trail since his May 1 rally at an airport in Freeland, Michigan, where he extensively discussed his ongoing legal battles.

In discussing the ongoing trial in New York, Trump hinted at potential outcomes, suggesting, “we haven’t had a decision here, but the decision here can probably only be one thing, I guess … ’cause … this whole thing – it’s a rigged deal; it’s a rigged deal.”

Trump drew comparisons between the hush money trial and significant civil cases where he faced adverse judgments, including a case involving bank loan fraud and two others related to defamation and allegations of sexual abuse by writer E. Jean Carroll. Collectively, civil courts have imposed judgments requiring Trump to pay over $500 million in damages.

During the Michigan rally, Trump expressed confidence in the appeals process, saying, “Hopefully, we’ll win all of that stuff easily on appeal.”

‘Orchestrating Trump’s conviction’

Trump is employing a strategic approach to challenge the anticipated New York verdict by citing legal experts who align with his criticisms of the trial. Some analysts predict that Trump may face a guilty verdict based on concerns about how the trial is being managed by New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan.

On May 5, Trump shared a post on Truth Social highlighting comments from former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, who suggested that Judge Merchan is orchestrating Trump’s conviction.

Trump also opposes the gag order imposed on him, framing it as a tactic to influence the proceedings. Judge Merchan has reprimanded Trump multiple times for violating the gag order, particularly for making derogatory comments about witnesses and court staff.

During a critique of the trial on Friday, Trump expressed caution due to the gag order, stating, “If I mention the wrong word, they’ll come out here and they’ll take me out to jail some place, because that’s the way it is with this judge – he wants to show how tough he is.”

Rerun: Trump previously warned of indictments

The political landscape has witnessed similar courtroom dramas prior to Trump’s initial indictment. In late 2022 and early 2023, Trump prepared his supporters for potential indictments and preemptively criticized the investigations as politically motivated.

By June 2023, three months after the hush money indictment, Trump addressed a Republican gathering in New Hampshire, suggesting that additional indictments related to “election interference” could be imminent. Ultimately, Trump faced indictment in four separate criminal cases.

Aside from the New York hush money case, the former president is confronting trials in South Florida for mishandling classified information, and in Washington, D.C., and Georgia for federal and state charges respectively, linked to alleged attempts to undermine the 2020 election against Biden. Trump is seeking to delay the latter three trials until after Election Day on November 5, potentially leaving the New York case as his sole trial during the campaign.

Politically, these indictments may have solidified Trump’s support base, particularly among steadfast Republican voters who endorsed his 2024 presidential nomination bid. However, polls and primaries indicated skepticism towards Trump among moderate and independent voters, some of whom continued to support former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley even after her withdrawal from the race.

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