Is Ron DeSantis slipping?

Is Ron DeSantis slipping?

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), whose meteoric rise to fame in The Republican Party earned him the informal title of GOP heir-apparent, is seeing his momentum slow just as the presidential primary season begins in earnest. 

Every public poll tracking the Republican primary horserace over the last two months points to the same trend: DeSantis is losing ground, while Trump is gaining. 

Analyst Nate Cohn chalks up DeSantis’s decline to a combination of three factors. First, the midterms — i.e., DeSantis’s landslide win and the underperformance of Trump-backed candidates — have moved further in the rearview. Second, Trump is going on the offense, attacking DeSantis’s record and deploying opposition research. And lastly, DeSantis is standing on the sidelines, not mounting a defense or firing back against Trump. 

While these factors do lend an explanation to DeSantis’s deterioration, I would argue that Ron DeSantis actually has a much larger problem with his own positioning that has come to light recently, which threatens to derail his presidential ambitions. 

That is, DeSantis is trying to straddle the two opposing worldviews that exist within The Republican Party. On one hand, he is courting the establishment figures who would welcome a return to pre-Trump party politics. On the other, he is working to appeal to the party’s far-right populist wing, many of whom are Trump loyalists and will likely be further emboldened to rally around the former president if, as reports suggest, Trump is indicted this week. 

The latest public criticisms DeSantis has faced underscore how difficult of a balancing act this is. Last week, as Trump was railing against DeSantis for being part of the old GOP establishment à la Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), prominent mainstream Republicans were criticizing the Florida governor for his Trump-esque isolationist positions on the war in Ukraine, which DeSantis had labeled a “territorial dispute,” rather than a vital U.S. interest. 

To be sure, DeSantis has yet to formally declare his candidacy, and elections are still one year away. But at this point, it is difficult to envision any candidate, including DeSantis, being able to cut into a significant share of Trump’s support among the far-right populist wing, while also maintaining the favor of the party establishment. 

Moreover, the core distinction DeSantis has implicitly drawn between himself and Trump — i.e., that he can win the general election against Biden, while Trump can’t — doesn’t appear to be resonating with GOP voters, hence Trump’s strength. Most Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they will support the candidate who agrees with their views on major issues (59 percent), rather than the candidate who has the strongest chance of beating Joe Biden (41 percent), per the latest CNN/SSRS poll

In an effort to win over the far-right, DeSantis has allowed — if not facilitated — his campaign to move further out of the mainstream during Florida’s current legislative session. The legislature has advanced a 6-week abortion ban, which is far more restrictive than the state’s current 15-week rule, and DeSantis recently endorsed the open carry of handguns without a permit. 

DeSantis is clearly reasoning that this will allow him to consolidate support on the far-right — yet, it is just as likely that he will dissuade the more moderate Republicans he is courting, who could defect to one of the other mainstream candidates. 

Despite these challenges, the attention Trump has paid to DeSantis suggests that he views the Florida governor as a formidable threat. This is still a valid assessment, considering DeSantis’s popularity in his home state, his rising star within the party and his success courting big-money donors, including many who once backed Trump

There are also signs that Trump could be struggling in the all-important first primary state of Iowa. A recent poll there finds that, while both candidates are viewed very favorably by Republicans, Trump’s unfavorable numbers rose 11-points over the past two years, and the percentage of Iowa Republicans who said they would “definitely” vote for Trump has dropped 20 percent during the same time. 

In a transparent effort to overshadow his ex-protégé, Trump visited Iowa just three days after DeSantis made his debut there. The candidates’ dueling visits, which offered voters the first side-by-side comparison of the two men, revealed a sharp stylistic divide. 

Though DeSantis was met with a warm reception in Davenport, his event was tightly scripted and heavy on policy, and he did little retail politicking on the trip, giving what essentially amounted to a stump speech. Speaking to a smaller crowd, he stuck to his now-customary anti-woke talking points and touted his winning record in Florida, never mentioning Trump or the criticisms he has leveled. 

Drawing an implicit contrast to DeSantis’ buttoned-up event, Trump’s trip was quintessential, well, Trump. His energy was combative and high-spirited, reminiscent in many ways of his infamous 2016 campaign when his charisma on the campaign trail propelled him to win the nomination. 

Trump stopped to greet patrons at a local restaurant before his speech to over 3,000 people, which he bookended by taking live questions from attendees. In classic Trump fashion, he ad-libbed his speech, bragged about his record, played to the audience, and went heavy on the personal insults of DeSantis. 

While some of Trump’s attacks — i.e., dubbing DeSantis Ron “De-Sanctimonious” and mocking his smaller crowd sizes — likely won’t dissuade potential DeSantis supporters, others could be particularly harmful if they continue to go uncontested. Trump disparaged DeSantis for being disloyal to the MAGA movement, knocked his support for cutting ethanol production (a key agriculture issue in Iowa), and repeatedly decried him for wanting to “decimate” Social Security and Medicare. 

It is important to note that DeSantis would not necessarily benefit — and in fact, could suffer, as many Republicans did during the 2016 campaign — from leveling personal attacks against Trump. That being said, there is a clear risk to DeSantis not engaging at all, as Cohn noted, especially when he is being attacked for favoring cutting entitlements that the broad majority of Republican voters (59 percent)support

DeSantis ultimately has two interrelated problems; a positioning problem and a Trump problem. The Florida governor is caught in the crossfire between the two competing factions of the Republican Party, and at the same time, is struggling to distinguish himself from Trump and deflect his relentless attacks.  

There is always a chance that DeSantis will be able to overcome these challenges and carve out a coalition as the campaign progresses. But in all likelihood, he will create room for other non-Trump candidates to ascend, which in the end will translate into a victory for Donald Trump.

Douglas E. Schoen is a political consultant who served as an adviser to President Clinton and to the 2020 presidential campaign of Michael Bloomberg. His new book is:  “The End of Democracy? Russia and China on the Rise and America in Retreat.”  

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Trump news – live: McCarthy calls for no protests over indictment or arrest as Cohen critic to testify today

Trump news – live: McCarthy calls for no protests over indictment or arrest as Cohen critic to testify today

Donald Trump vows to stay in 2024 race if he faces criminal charges

Kevin McCarthy has called on Americans not to protest if Donald Trump is arrested as part of a grand jury investigation into his alleged role in hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Mr Trump has claimed he will be arrested on Tuesday and called for protests to “take our nation back” in language that drew comparisons to his rhetoric leading up to the January 6 Capitol riots.

House majority leader Mr McCarthy responded to Mr Trump’s call on Sunday, saying: “I don’t think people should protest this stuff.”

It comes as a one-time ally turned critic of Michael Cohen – Manhattan prosecutors’ star witness in the case – will testify before the grand jury today.

Robert Costello, who once worked as a legal adviser to Cohen, told CNN he will appear before the grand jury at the request of the former president’s legal team. He is expected to cast doubts on Cohen’s credibility.

Cohen also revealed he was asked to appear as a possible rebuttal witness.

It is not clear if the pair will be the final witnesses before the grand jury votes on whether to criminally indict Mr Trump.


Will Fox News settle the Dominion defamation lawsuit?

Embarrassing and potentially reputation-damaging behind-the-scenes revelations, stitched together in Dominion’s sprawling case alleging a media empire that relies on lying to its audience, may be compelling evidence, but they are not necessarily enough to reach the high bar in a billion-dollar defamation case, according to legal analysts.

Has the voting machine company at the centre of right-wing conspiracy theories met the extremely high bar for proving defamation by the press? Maybe, but the network says losing the case would be a blow to all media.

Alex Woodward20 March 2023 12:50


Mike Pence is ‘disappointed’ in Trump over January 6 but mum on ex-president’s trustworthiness

A conversation between the former vice president and ABC’s Jonathan Karl on Sunday quickly centred around the issue of whether Mike Pence generally trusts the words and public pronouncements of his former boss as he looks currently poised for a dominant performance in the upcoming 2024 GOP primary.

And under repeated questioning from Karl on the issue of Trump’s statement in the hours before the January 6 attack claiming falsely that Pence would aid in his effort to overturn the 2020 election, the former vice president would only say that he was “disappointed” in the former president, not that he did not trust him. He would not even specifically say that Trump had lied.

The Independent’s John Bowden reports:

Alex Woodward20 March 2023 12:30


ICYMI: Trump will hold his first 2024 campaign rally in Waco

Donald Trump will hold his first 2024 presidential campaign rally in Waco, Texas, on 25 March – within the 30th anniversary period of the deadly 51-day law enforcement siege at the compound of the Branch Davidians religious cult.

Alex Woodward20 March 2023 12:10


Trump claims he’s about to be charged. What happens next?

Donald Trump is expected to face charges filed by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose office dove back into the case in 2022, and empaneled a grand jury only as recently as January in the investigation.

So what happens next in this unprecedented case? The Independent’s John Bowden explains:

Alex Woodward20 March 2023 11:50


Trump supporters float ‘Patriot Moat’ to protect ex-president as charges loom

Trump’s supporters have called for a so-called “patriot moat” to surround the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate to prevent what he predicted would be his arrest on Tuesday.

Mr Trump could make history this week if he is indicted over alleged hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the run-up to the 2016 election.

The former president made the arrest prediction in a furious all-caps post on his Truth Social platform on Saturday morning and called on his supporters to protest any arrest and to “take our nation back.”

Alex Woodward20 March 2023 11:30


Trump hush money grand jury to hear testimony from Michael Cohen critic Robert Costello

A one-time ally turned critic of Michael Cohen will testify today before the grand jury investigating Donald Trump over his alleged involvement in hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Robert Costello, who once worked as a legal adviser to Cohen, told CNN that he will appear before the Manhattan grand jury on Monday at the request of the former president’s legal team.

A source told the outlet that it was Mr Costello who had reached out to both Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s Office and Mr Trump’s legal team to offer evidence in the case.

Mr Costello, who has previously represented Mr Trump allies Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani, is expected to contradict public statements Cohen has made about the payments to Ms Daniels and cast doubts on his credibility.

Cohen, Mr Trump’s former “fixer” and the prosecutors’ star witness in the case, also revealed that he has been asked to make himself available as a rebuttal witness on Monday.

The Independent’s Rachel Sharp has the full story:

Rachel Sharp20 March 2023 11:10


Nancy Pelosi and Democrats condemn Trump’s ‘reckless’ statement as he stokes unrest over indictment

Trump’s critics and activist groups have condemned his inflammatory rhetoric and a statement from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as Republicans quickly rallied to the former president’s defense against possible criminal prosecution.

Read this weekend’s reactions from Democratic officials and current and former Republicans:

Alex Woodward20 March 2023 10:50


Can Donald Trump still be elected president if he’s indicted?

What happens to the 2024 race, and Donald Trump’s ability to participate in it, if he comes under criminal indictment? The short answer is: not much. The Independent’s John Bowden explains:

Alex Woodward20 March 2023 10:30


Kevin McCarthy calls on Americans not to protest Trump indictment

GOP leader Kevin McCarthy has called on Americans not to protest or turn to violence if or when Donald Trump is criminally indicted over the hush money payments.

“I don’t think people should protest this stuff,” the House majority leader said in a press conference on Sunday.

His comments come after Mr Trump claimed on Saturday that he will be arrested on Tuesday and called for protests to “take our nation back” in language that drew comparisons to his rhetoric leading up to the January 6 Capitol riots.

Mr McCarthy suggested that Mr Trump was not speaking “in a harmful way” but was calling for his followers “to educate people about what’s going on”.

“He’s not talking in a harmful way. Nobody should harm one another,” said the GOP leader.

“And this is why you should really make law equal because if that was the case, nothing would happen.”

He added: “If was this to happen, we want calmness out there.”

Rachel Sharp20 March 2023 10:10


Michael Cohen critic Robert Costello to testify today

A one-time ally turned critic of Michael Cohen will testify today in the grand jury investigation into Donald Trump’s role in the hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Robert Costello, who once worked as a legal adviser to Cohen, told CNN he will appear before the grand jury at the request of the former president’s legal team.

A source told the outlet that it was Mr Costello who reached out to both Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s Office and Mr Trump’s legal team to offer evidence in the case which would go against Cohen’s public statements about the 2016 payments.

Mr Costello, who has also represented Mr Trump allies Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani, is expected to testify against Cohen and cast doubts on his credibility.

Cohen – who has been Manhattan prosecutors’ star witness in the case – also revealed that he had been asked to appear as a possible rebuttal witness.

It is not clear if the pair will be the final witnesses before the grand jury votes on whether to criminally indict the former president.

Rachel Sharp20 March 2023 09:50

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John Oliver Spots ‘Deeply Wrong’ Sign Trump Really Hates His Own Kids

John Oliver Spots ‘Deeply Wrong’ Sign Trump Really Hates His Own Kids

John Oliver said Donald Trump’s latest video contains a slip that might reveal a little more than the former president intended.

In the clip, Trump repeats a boast he’s made at recent events about helping family farms, including a false claim that he “got rid of the death tax” on farms (in reality, he increased the exemption).

Trump in his new video says farmers who love their children can leave them the farm “and they won’t have to pay tax.”

Then, he went off on a weird tangent.

“But if you don’t love your children so much and there are some people that don’t, and maybe deservedly so, it won’t matter because frankly, you don’t have to leave ’em anything,” Trump said. “Thank you very much, have fun.”

“He’s still got it,” Oliver fired back. “And by ‘it,’ I mean whatever it is that is so deeply wrong with his brain. Do you know how much you have to hate your kids to get distracted by that thought in the middle of a political speech?”

The “Last Week Tonight” host offered up a scathing example: “We should have pulled out troops from the region sooner. Speaking of regretting not pulling out sooner: Don Jr.

He noted that the video was filmed with two cameras and a cutaway shot suggests it was edited down.

“They cut something out of that,” he pointed out. “And given what they kept in, I am dying to know what it was. And then to stick the landing at the end with ‘have fun?’ It’s impeccable!”

In his longer segment, Oliver looked at the special hell of the world of timeshares ― especially when people find that it’s practically impossible to escape many of those contracts.

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‘No one is above the law’: Stephen King and George Takei react to Trump saying he’ll be arrested this week

‘No one is above the law’: Stephen King and George Takei react to Trump saying he’ll be arrested this week

Celebrities from across the world of culture have reacted to the latest news concerning former US president Donald Trump.

On Saturday (18 March), Trump claimed on his Truth Social page that he will be arrested on Tuesday.

In an incendiary all-caps post, Trump took aim at a “corrupt and highly political Manhattan district attorney’s office”, and called for protests to “take our nation back”.

Charges are expected to be brought against Trump over a hush money payment made to adult film actor Stormy Daniels before his election to office in 2016.

You can keep up to date with the latest developments on the story here.

Among those to react to the news were novelist Stephen King, and filmmaker and actor Rob Reiner.

“Donald Trump is a sociopath and a criminal,” wrote King. “To let him near the nuclear codes again would be insane.”

“When Donald Trump became the Republican nominee for president in 2016, I joined Twitter. I wanted to speak out against a man I knew to be a Pathologically Lying Misogynistic Racist who was and is an existential danger to our Democracy,” wrote Reiner.

“The elimination of this scourge is upon US.”

Star Trek star George Takei wrote: “ Seeking justice for crimes that Trump committed is not political vengeance. No one is above the law.

“If powerful people committed criminal acts, they should answer for them like anyone else. Do you disagree?”

Twitter CEO Elon Musk has claimed that Trump will win “in a landslide” if he is indicted.

A spokesperson for Mr Trump, meanwhile, stated: “There has been no notification, other than illegal leaks from the Justice Dept. and the DA’s office, to NBC and other fake news carriers, that the George Soros-funded Radical Left Democrat prosecutor in Manhattan has decided to take his Witch-Hunt to the next level.

“President Trump is rightfully highlighting his innocence and the weaponisation of our injustice system. He will be in Texas next weekend for a giant rally. Make America Great Again!”

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Trump’s legal woes pick up speed as Republican 2024 race heats up

Trump’s legal woes pick up speed as Republican 2024 race heats up

As Donald Trump runs again for the White House, he’s dogged by four criminal investigations that have gained momentum, including two focused on Trump’s zealous drive to overturn his 2020 election loss, raising the odds he will face charges in one or more inquiries in coming weeks or months, say former federal prosecutors.

All four inquiries have accelerated in recent months with numerous subpoenas to close Trump associates and testimony by key witnesses before grand juries in Washington DC, Georgia and New York, that pose growing legal threats to Trump, plus several of his ex-lawyers and allies.

Two investigations are homing in on Trump’s nonstop efforts to thwart his 2020 election loss with bogus fraud charges, while others are looking into Trump’s retention of hundreds of classified documents post his presidency, and Trump’s role in a $130,000 hush money payment in 2016 to porn star Stormy Daniels with whom he allegedly had an affair.

An indictment of Trump in the Daniels hush money case could even come within days. Trump’s fears over the issue even prompted him to post on social media about being arrested this week in New York, triggering a flood of Republicans to issue statements of support despite Trump calling for protests against any such move.

The four inquiries have been examining separately whether Trump violated several laws including obstruction of an official proceeding and defrauding the United States by his actions to overturn the 2020 election, and breaking other statutes.

The multiple investigations of Trump, two of which are being led by justice department special counsel Jack Smith, are unparalleled for an ex president – especially as he seeks the White House again, say ex-prosecutors.

“It seems quite possible, or even likely, that Trump will be defending himself in four different criminal cases as he is campaigning for president in 2024,” said Barbara McQuade, former US attorney for eastern Michigan. “Making court appearances in New York, Georgia, Florida and Washington DC while also maintaining a campaign schedule may prove to be a daunting task.”

McQuade added: “Trump, no doubt, will use criminal charges as a fundraising tool and as a way to portray himself as the eternal victim. On some level, he may relish the spectacle of it all, but it seems likely that accountability is headed his way.”

Other ex-prosecutors say Trump’s legal travails are unique for a presidential candidate.

“The sheer number and diversity of criminal investigations of Trump’s conduct are totally unprecedented for a major candidate in modern times,” said Dan Richman, a Columbia University law professor and ex-prosecutor in New York southern district.

The criminal inquiry by the Fulton county district attorney, Fani Willis, into Trump’s efforts to reverse his 2020 defeat in Georgia with his high-pressure call to the secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, on 2 January 2021 asking him to “find 11,780 votes”, and other calls, is expected to bring charges against him and some close allies in coming months, say ex-prosecutors.

In late January, Willis said a special grand jury had completed a seven-month inquiry involving interviews with 75 witnesses in her investigation which reportedly had at least 17 targets, including Trump and his former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

A number of indictments have reportedly been recommended by the special grand jury, and Willis has said a decision is “imminent” about convening a regular grand jury that Georgia law requires before she brings any charges.

Separately, Smith’s inquiry into Trump’s drive to thwart Joe Biden’s election seems to be in its late stages, in light of subpoenas this year to former vice-president Mike Pence and Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, both potentially key witnesses to Trump’s drive to block Biden from taking office. Ex-prosecutors say Meadows is a subject of the investigation.

Those subpoenas “show that the January 6 investigation is serious and narrowing,” said Paul Pelletier, former acting chief of the justice department’s fraud section.

Smith has secured grand jury testimony from other key figures including Pence’s former top aide Marc Short and his former chief counsel Greg Jacob, plus former White House counsel Pat Cipollone as part of his inquiry into whether Trump’s actions before and during 6 January 2021 violated an official proceeding and defrauded the government.

On another legal front, Smith has also been leading a wide ranging inquiry into Trump’s retention of hundreds of classified documents at Mar a Lago after he left the White House, a potential violation of three laws – the Presidential Records Act, obstruction and the Espionage Act.

Meanwhile, a grand jury convened by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, to look into Trump’s alleged arranging hush money payments of $130,000 via his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen to Daniels in 2016, heard testimony from Cohen this week.

Michael Cohen, center, is joined by his attorney Lanny Davis as he speaks to reporters after a second day of testimony in New York on 15 March.
Michael Cohen, center, is joined by his attorney Lanny Davis as he speaks to reporters after a second day of testimony in New York on 15 March. Photograph: Mary Altaffer/AP

Last week, Trump declined an invitation by the DA’s office to testify, a sign reportedly that he could soon be indicted.

Trump has blasted all the investigations as politically motivated and said he’s done nothing illegal, decrying Smith’s appointment as “part of a never ending witch-hunt”.

But ex-prosecutors see huge legal headaches ahead for Trump, and probable charges at least in the Georgia invsstigation.

“With the Manhattan DA now presenting evidence to a grand jury, Trump now faces four credible criminal investigations – unprecedented for the most hardened criminals, never mind a former president who is seeking to enter the White House again,” Pelletier said.

“Of all the investigations, Georgia appears likely to bring the most serious charges imminently against Trump. The Mar-a-Lago document investigation has picked up speed, but, frustratingly, appears to be on a more cautious and deliberate track.”

Other former federal prosecutors see strong signs that in Georgia charges against Trump, and some of his top lawyers and allies are coming.

“There is little doubt that a number of indictments are on the horizon in Georgia. My sense is that the Fulton county DA is putting the final touches on bringing Rico [racketeering] charges involving Trump and others” said former US attorney Michael Moore, of Georgia.

“Trump will surely be the main player, and I expect to see some well-known names in upcoming indictments,” adding that Trump, as well as Meadows and Giuliani “are likely to each see more of the inside of a courtroom than any of them might like”.

Trump has dubbed his call to Raffensperger as “perfect”.

Moore noted: “There will be an unavoidable overlap of efforts by the Fulton DA and the special counsel. The efforts to overturn the 2020 election had both state and federal implications even while dealing with the same facts.

“The ability of the special counsel to delve into conduct across many jurisdictions may prove especially useful when looking at the efforts to string together the fake electors schemes in multiple states,” referring to a scheme the justice department has focused on involving efforts by Giuliani and others to replace electors in key states Biden won with Trump electors.

Other ex-prosecutors note significant overlap between the Georgia probe investigation and the special counsel’s, both of which threaten Trump, Giuliani, ex-Trump lawyer John Eastman and others.

“While Trump’s calls to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and other Georgia state officials appear to be at the center of the Fulton county DA’s probe, that investigation likely extends to efforts by Trump’s legal team, including Rudy Giuliani, to convince Georgia legislators to overturn the election results,” said Richman.

“Yet the legal team’s nationwide efforts by Giuliani, Eastman and others – encouraged by Trump to an extent that will need to be clarified – to present slates of phony electors to Congress and to otherwise disrupt the electoral certification also seems to be at the heart of one prong of Jack Smith’s federal investigation.”

Not surprisingly, Trump’s legal expenses to fend off these investigations and other legal headaches involving personal and corporate matters have been hefty.

According to federal records, Trump spent about $10m last year out of his political action committee to pay law firms representing him in the four criminal inquiries, plus cases involving the Trump Organization and lawsuits.

Those costs will surely mount for Trump as the investigations ratchet up subpoenas of top former Trump allies to build their cases before grand juries, as Smith has been doing in the two inquiries he’s spearheading.

“Prosecutors tend to conduct investigations in concentric circles, starting at the outer edges and then progressing ever inward with the target at the center,” McQuade said. “They want to arm themselves with as much information as possible when they question those who are closest to the target. Now that Smith is serving subpoenas on Meadows and Pence, it seems that he has entered the final circle of his investigation.”

Little wonder that as Trump runs for the White House again, quite a few Republicans are feeling very edgy.

“It does not bode well for the Republican party if Trump should be indicted and win the nomination,” said former Pennsylvania Republican congressman Charlie Dent. “The electoral outcome would be disastrous for the GOP. How much losing can we take?”

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Trump ‘Very Anxious’ Ahead Of Possible Indictment, NYT Reporter Says

Trump ‘Very Anxious’ Ahead Of Possible Indictment, NYT Reporter Says

Former President Donald Trump is “very anxious” ahead of a possible indictment over hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, according to The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman.

Haberman made the comments as Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg signaled his office may be close to filing charges against the former president, a historic moment linked to a $130,000 payment made to Daniels in the final days of Trump’s 2016 campaign. If he is indicted, it would be the first time a former president has been criminally charged.

The investigation is just one of several Trump faces: Others are probing his effort to overturn 2020 election results in Georgia and his absconding with classified documents to his Mar-a-Lago estate.

“He’s very anxious about the prospect of being indicted for a couple of reasons,” Haberman told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. “Two things can be true at once. He is aware that there are reasons to believe this could help him politically … But he does not want to face getting arrested, which is what happens when you get indicted. You get fingerprinted. You get brought in. You have to ask for bail. None of that is something that he is excited about.”

Haberman went on to reiterate her reporting last week that Team Trump is preparing for a broad attack against Bragg and his associates amid any charges, hoping to smear the group as Democratic agents and linking them to his 2024 rival, President Joe Biden. A spokesman for his campaign attacked the investigation last week as a “witch hunt,” threatening that Americans would “not tolerate” an indictment.

Trump himself said this weekend his arrest was imminent, attempting to rally his supporters and calling for protests should any charges be levied against him.


Haberman said the post wasn’t part of any “grand plan” but still signaled his deep anxiety about the DA’s investigation.

“He and his political folks are preparing for a huge blitz politically to push back on the Manhattan district attorney,” Haberman said. “I don’t think that his Truth Social post yesterday morning calling for protests was part of a grand plan, he did it and a bunch of his aides were surprised by it.”

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