Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

How the Trump campaign plans to use his court dates for political gain

By 37ci3 Mar15,2024

Donald Trump’s campaign is planning to “make lemonade out of lemons” as his political calendar is full of court appearances.

The strategy, the former president’s advisers told NBC News, is to create and ultimately compel President Joe Biden to “arrest” political opponents, muddy the waters between Trump’s and Biden’s legal challenges, and create politically-focused counter-programming events. will consist of trying to describe. postpone trials as much as possible.

The unprecedented case of the presidential candidate, who swayed the courts and public opinion at the same time, has long been in the background. Trump has turned his legal woes into early gold, but replicating that success in the general election — where swing voters matter — is proving more difficult.

The trial of the first criminal case has begun March 25, a Manhattan grand jury will consider charges that Trump falsified business records to cover up hush money payments to an adult film star during the 2016 campaign. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, however said Thursday he is not against delaying the start of the trial by 30 days.

In addition to the obvious legal pitfalls, the trial will have Trump in courtrooms almost all day at least four days a week with the general election starting — a trial that could last eight weeks. This means that Trump will sometimes be a part-time presidential candidate, unable to regularly hold live campaign events or fundraise.

Trump’s criminal legal woes, which include dozens of separate indictments on four separate charges, served as political rocket fuel during the GOP primary among key voters who viewed almost entirely, if not the evidence, through Biden’s lens. using the justice system to go after his main political rival.

As we head into the general election, the politics of Trump’s legal problems are getting darker and darker.

And his team knows it.

“The charges are not ideal, we would like the boss not to be in court,” said a senior adviser to Trump. “But here will be an attempt to make lemonade out of lemons.”

Another admitted it “clearly presents a scheduling conflict,” but added: “We’ll work on it.”

In the weekends between the test days, Trump is expected to take more policy-driven action, drawing contrasts between his proposals and Biden’s record. Events will be held in specific communities affected by the specific policy highlighted that day. In addition, on Wednesdays – a non-court day – Trump is expected to focus on fundraising.

At this point in the campaign, unlike the stretch after Labor Day, Trump’s schedule would not be packed with rallies. But as long as he is on trial, court dates could lighten his political calendar.

To try to fill Trump’s vacuum, the team plans to deploy more senior campaign surrogates to “have a say outside of New York press conferences” and increase attacks on Biden on issues such as immigration, his mental health, crime and crime. The economy, according to one Trump adviser.

They will also try to counter attacks by their political enemies that a second Trump term would bring a boring dictator to the White House.

“They [Democrats] We will try to run a campaign about abortion and that we are a threat to democracy,” Trump’s adviser said. “It’s hard to say we’re a threat to democracy when you’re trying to arrest political opponents.”

Republican strategist Matthew Bartlett said the impact of Trump’s trials on the election is difficult to predict because “an unprecedented part of American history is now colliding with the unpredictability of electoral politics.”

We don’t even have to win the argument, we just have to neutralize it.

Trump’s advisor

“There are serious allegations, but it is not clear whether the American public can distinguish each individual case or even the critical details at this time,” he said.

The hush money case in New York will be Trump’s first indictment to go to trial, but others are likely to keep the former president in courtrooms throughout the general election calendar.

He is accused of handling classified documents after his presidency in a federal court in Florida, in which prosecutors have requested a trial this calendar year, but have yet to set a date after a judge agreed to delay a May start. .

He faces another federal trial in Washington on charges related to trying to overturn the 2020 election. That case has been put on hold while the Supreme Court hears Trump’s claim that he should be immune from criminal charges for actions he took while president. If the high court allows the case to move forward, it could mean Trump’s highest court is in a final sprint to Election Day.

Finally, Trump faces separate charges in Georgia over his and his allies’ efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results. The case has a proposed trial date of August 5, but delays are expected. The judge in that case is currently considering whether prosecutor Fanny Willis should be disqualified for misconduct related to her relationship with a subordinate.

Procedural delays are also a key part of Trump’s legal strategy.

“What if none of this is heard or resolved before the election?” A Trump supporter said. “I mean, so what? What are we talking about here?’

The stunning nature of the former and potentially future president, who has been accused of trying to block a smooth transition of power, has been a major focus for Democrats and is central to the Trump campaign’s strategy while his nominee is stuck in court.

Advisers believe that if they ramp up attacks on Biden that attempt to equate Trump’s legal challenges with Biden’s, they can effectively muddy the waters with voters and in the process make the legal challenges, including those related to election interference, less important. .

“We don’t have to win the argument, we just have to neutralize it,” said another Trump adviser. “If we do that, the decision-making calculations favor us.”

This will be the key to the strategy report It was issued by special counsel Robert Hurr, a former Trump-era Justice Department official who was appointed last year by Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate Biden’s handling of classified documents after becoming vice president.

Hur did not indict Biden, but his report left plenty of ammunition for the president’s political critics.

In a report released last month, Hur wrote that he did not recommend indicting Biden because a jury would find him to be a “sympathetic, well-intentioned old man with a failing memory.” overtly partisan politics, and Republicans have used it to continue building a narrative that Biden is mentally retarded. The Transcript of Huron’s interview was more nuanced, suggesting the president stumbled over some facts and clearly remembered others.

The Hur report offers a one-two punch to the Trump campaign.

This allows his assistants to attack both his mental acuity and the idea of ​​an armed justice system. The main difference in the classified documents case is that Biden cooperated with investigators when it was discovered that he may have withheld classified documents, while Trump did not. Still, Republicans say the failure to indict Biden and the fact that Trump faces 37 criminal charges since his discovery is further evidence of a two-tiered justice system.

“These are things that can really help us change the script on this,” the Trump adviser said. “It’s something that people are going to hear a lot more about.”

Republican strategist Rob Godfrey of South Carolina said the value of Trump’s weaponization of government argument was more effective with GOP primary voters than with gullible voters in the general election, a finding supported by polling data.

According to the New York Times/Siena, as of February, 21% of Republicans believe Trump has “committed serious federal crimes,” rising to 57% for independent voters. tracking request. NBC News vote It also revealed in February that Trump’s position would be hurt by a felony conviction. Trump led Biden 47% to 42% overall, but Biden won 45% to 43% when respondents were asked how they would feel about Trump if convicted of a crime.

That’s why Trump’s messaging needs to be two-pronged, Godfrey says.

“Let the court cases continue to keep the core supporters behind it because that’s obviously a motivation for them,” he said. “But when it comes to independent voters, it’s an open question how much of a motivator the court cases are when it comes to softer Republican voters.”

“So what the Trump campaign and its allies need to do,” Godfrey added, “is make sure these people are paying attention to the policy differences between the two candidates.”

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