Trump faces unprecedented legal jeopardy, but will Republican voters turn against him? 2023

When Donald Trump became the first former president charged on criminal charges in March, his reelection campaign received a major fundraising boost. Political opponents rallied behind him. After the New York state accusations, he remained the frontrunner.

Trump was indicted again on Thursday for handling secret materials.

Trump was indicted Friday on 37 counts of deliberate retention and illegal distribution of national security information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and corruptly concealing a document or record. Top charges bring a 20-year jail sentence.

After his indictment, Republican supporters showed signs of trusting him again with the nation’s darkest secrets and power over the laws prosecutors claim he broke.

Republican pollster Neil Newhouse said the indictment will not impact Trump’s standing in the GOP or his edge in the crowded 2024 Republican race.

In any other decade, this would murder a presidential candidate in the infancy. “That’s no longer true—especially for Donald Trump,” Newhouse remarked. He claimed Trump had been teasing further allegations for months.

“This surprises few Republicans,” Newhouse remarked. “Trump’s been predicting indictment. His indictment. Republican voters believe this is political.”

Trump’s hold on the Republican Party and his transformation of American democracy make it possible for someone under indictment twice to run for president.

It shows how well he sets expectations and controls the narrative to avoid political damage. It underscores rising Republican animosity against the federal government, notably the Justice Department, which Trump has vilified for a decade.

Even if the indictment doesn’t hurt Trump with Republican primary voters, it’s unlikely that general election voters, including independents and moderates in both parties, will be as forgiving next fall in a potential matchup against President Joe Biden.

The former president may face four trials in Georgia and Washington, D.C. while running for president again.

Republican congressional leaders defended Trump.

The latest indictment puts Trump back in the limelight, dominating every news cycle and preventing his opponents from reaching voters just as several have begun their campaigns.

Sarah Longwell, head of the Republican Accountability Project and a vocal Trump critic, said the indictment may help Trump win the GOP nominee.

She said, “I’ve certainly seen a ‘rally around Trump effect’ every time Trump is impeached or indicted,” but much relies on his Republican 2024 competitors.

“Can anyone capitalize on this political opportunity?” “Will they all back Trump?” she asked. “Because if they all defend him, they will relegate themselves to bit players in Trump’s drama and never get around to making an affirmative case for themselves.”

Another Republican strategist, Doug Heye, said Trump’s primary opponents have a significant chance to demonstrate that the former president cannot win in 2024 due to his baggage.

“This should be gold for Republican presidential candidates, if they choose to use it,” Heye added.

Trump’s challengers appear to be supporting him, acknowledging his popularity with GOP voters they need to win the nomination.

After being criticized for criticizing Trump on the New York case, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted at the Justice Department Thursday night. “The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to free society,” he wrote.

Only former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a long-shot contender and Trump opponent, criticized. “This reaffirms the need for Donald Trump to respect the office and end his campaign,” he added.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy called the indictment “a dark day for the United States of America” and “grave injustice.”

Trump will be in court Tuesday as asked.

Trump learned of the charges Thursday evening at his Bedminster, New Jersey, club. He announced it on Truth Social.

His staff, well-practiced in crisis management, contacted supporters for supporting remarks and promptly responded with a fundraising appeal and opposition research targeting special counsel Jack Smith. Trump DJed at dinner with Elvis Presley, Pavarotti, and James Brown tunes while campaign money flowed in.

“He’s not shrinking from the fight,” he remarked Thursday. He won’t hide in Scotland. He’ll fight this case with his solicitors.”

On Friday, Trusty and another Trump attorney withdrew.

Trump’s allies have always considered the Mar-a-Lago case more serious than the New York hush money claims. Smith is harder to demonize than Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, and a federal conviction would entail far worse penalties.

Trump’s support among Republicans has increased after his first conviction.

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