Trump’s criminal hush money trial to collide with 2024 campaign

Former President Donald Trump’s legal troubles and his 2024 White House campaign are in full conflict this week, with his New York City trial over hush money allegations set to begin on Monday.

Mr. Trump is expected to spend four days a week in court over the coming weeks, but his campaign is trying to maintain supporter enthusiasm by making virtual appearances, suspending in-person campaigning over the weekend, and focusing media attention on expected legal proceedings. plans to take advantage of the rush. In the face of what Republicans have accused of a partisan ploy to prevent him from running again.

“Crooked Joe Biden and the Democratic Party’s failed election interference strategy is an attempt to lock President Trump in court and keep him from campaigning,” Trump campaign national spokeswoman Caroline Leavitt said in a statement to The Hill. mentioned in.

“Unfortunately for Crooked Joe, voters believe that President Trump is the strongest candidate to lead our country and that no one will fight back as hard as he does,” she added. “President Trump will continue to fight for the truth in the courts and deliver his message of victory on the campaign trail.”

Trump’s trial, which begins Monday in Manhattan, comes after a series of efforts last week to delay the start date. The former president was charged with repaying his then-fixer Michael Cohen, who paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Trump just before the 2016 election. He has been charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records. he denies it.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and characterized the incident as a partisan political blowback led by Democratic District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Days before the trial began, Trump denounced it as “election interference at its finest” in a Truth Social post.

But Trump’s aides are downplaying the threat to his campaign in the White House and are already planning how to make the most of the former president’s campaign time in the coming weeks.

One Trump ally argued that the New York City trial may also be less onerous for the Trump campaign because of its timing.

“If you’re going to go to trial, it’s better to do it in the spring than in September,” a Trump ally told The Hill.

Trump allies also noted that the former president’s lead in the Republican primaries widened after he was indicted in New York City, Florida, Georgia and Washington, D.C. last year.

Trump campaign officials said they planned to take advantage of court breaks Wednesday and over the weekend. President Trump is already scheduled to attend a fundraiser in North Carolina on Saturday, April 20th.

The official said Trump intends to use the intense media attention to spread the message that he is the victim of a politically motivated incident.

“Every time the president appears in court, all eyes are on the president and his message,” the official said. “While we hope he is not subjected to this sham trial and believe this trial should be dismissed, President Trump’s ability to dominate the airwaves has proven undefeated.”

President Trump and his campaign are expected to attack Mr. Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, for his decision to file the lawsuit at a time when New York City is grappling with a high rate of violent crime. Trump himself has repeatedly highlighted virus incidents since February, when immigrants were recorded scuffling with police in Times Square.

Although crime is on the decline nationwide, New York state leaders have deployed state troopers and National Guard troops to subway stations after a number of high-profile violent incidents.

But there are still signs that the trial itself could prove difficult for Trump in the long run, especially if he is found guilty.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday found that 64% of voters surveyed considered the hush money charges to be at least “somewhat serious,” compared to 64% of voters who did not consider the charges to be serious. It was 34%.

However, the New York trial was considered less serious than Trump’s other three criminal cases. For example, 75% of voters surveyed consider the lawsuit against Trump in Washington, D.C., to overturn the 2020 election to be at least somewhat serious.

A Politico/Ipsos poll conducted March 8-10 found that 50% of respondents believed Trump was guilty of the crimes in Manhattan, and 36% of independents believed he was guilty of the crimes in the Manhattan incident. He said he would be less likely to support Trump if convicted.

Trump’s being forced to sit in a New York courtroom will give the White House and the Biden campaign an opportunity to draw contrasts by allowing the president to freely visit battleground states.

The president will be in Pennsylvania for three days this week, visiting Scranton, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. And the campaign was quick to highlight Mr. Biden’s robust travel schedule, visiting every battleground state throughout March, while Mr. Trump held only a few public campaign events.

In a sign that Biden wants to differentiate himself from Trump by focusing on policy issues, his campaign said Biden’s Scranton event was “the tax code is aimed at the wealthy and the middle class.” “It poses a simple question: Which do you think is more appropriate?” The president has made it clear what he thinks the answer is, and so has Donald Trump. ”

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