No, This Indictment Is Not Going to Kill Trump’s Campaign

First of all, let’s get the obvious question out of the way: No, the indictment of Donald Trump does not bar him from running for president. In fact, even a conviction likely wouldn’t put the kibosh on his presidential campaign. “There are actually not that many constitutional requirements to run for president,” a law professor explains to the Washington Post. “There is not an explicit prohibition in the Constitution in respects to having a pending indictment or even being convicted.” The Post notes, however, that practically speaking, it could be difficult to run for president and face a criminal trial at the same time. More coverage surrounding the historic indictment:

  • “Witch hunt”: One of Trump’s favorite phrases was being thrown around by Republicans who quickly jumped to Trump’s side; his advisers are expected to frame the legal brouhaha as, yes, a “witch hunt.” The Daily Beast has rounded up a bunch of reaction from the right, including at least one call for President Biden to be impeached.
  • Is this actually a good thing for Trump? Some are arguing it could be, as the former POTUS thrives when he’s riling up his supporters against the perceived injustices doled out from the left. The Washington Examiner wonders if he can, in fact, turn this indictment into “2024 gold.” “Nearly any other candidate would have to suspend their campaign in response to a development of this nature,” writes politics editor y W. James Antle III. “Trump could easily use his mugshot or images of his perp walk to galvanize the Republican base.”
  • Signs are already pointing to yes: RedState reports that Trump had already been surging in the polls, and that surge continued after it became clear an indictment was likely. In a poll released the day before the indictment was handed down, Trump was leading Ron DeSantis (who has not yet formally announced a run) 54% to 24%. A pollster says the indictment “reanimates feelings that Trump is still fighting forces [his supporters] see as corrupt and out of control.”
  • And Fox is back on his side: The Guardian reports Fox News has apparently made “amends” with Trump; it notes that one commentator said Trump getting a mugshot would make him “a badass.”
  • Unprepared: The New York Times reports Trump and his aides were “caught off guard” by the indictment, believing it might not ever happen—and that if it did, it wouldn’t be for weeks.
  • It’s not just Stormy Daniels: The Manhattan prosecutors investigating the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels have also been probing a $150,000 payment to Karen McDougal, the former Playboy model who also alleges an affair with Trump. Prosecutors repeatedly questioned witnesses who testified before the grand jury about that payment, the Wall Street Journal reports. It’s not clear whether they might bring charges related to that payment or simply use the information to establish a pattern of behavior, the paper notes.
  • But speaking of Daniels: CNN has reactions from her and Mike Pence, who spoke to the network’s Wolf Blitzer Thursday night. Daniels is “relieved,” her attorney says. As for Pence, he told Blitzer, “I think the American people will look at this and see it as one more example of the criminalization of politics in this country.”
  • Meanwhile, for people who are just waiting with their popcorn: Forbes runs down the “various livestreams in Florida and New York waiting for the moment the former president could get perp-walked to jail.” See how to watch here.
  • What’s next? CNN reports Trump is expected to appear in court for his arraignment Tuesday. Sources say he faces more than 30 counts related to business fraud. Officially, however, all the Manhattan district attorney’s office has said is that it has contacted Trump’s attorney to “coordinate his surrender.”

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