Over the weekend, Donald Trump appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where, in addition to delivering one of his patented lie-filled speeches, he told reporters that there was no way he’d drop out of the 2024 race should he be hit with criminal charges from one of the many investigations into his conduct. “Oh, absolutely. I wouldn’t even think about leaving,” he said on Saturday, adding, incredibly, that one or more indictments would “probably…enhance my numbers.”
While it’s true that his being criminally charged might get the ex-president’s most loyal followers all riled up on his behalf, it seems extremely unlikely that independents and relatively sane Republicans would say to themselves, You know, I was on the fence about whom to vote for, but the fact that Trump has been formally accused of crimes that could result in prison time tips the scale. Trump it is! On the other hand, who knows? Maybe he’s right! Maybe a state or federal indictment would “enhance” his numbers. One good way to test the theory would be for prosecutors to actually charge the former guy and see how things shake out—and as luck would have it, that’s exactly what might happen!
The Daily Beast reports that in taking the position last week that Trump could be sued for encouraging his followers to attack the Capitol on January 6, 2021, “prosecutors…[laid] the groundwork for a potential criminal indictment against Trump for inciting the insurrection,” according to legal experts.
“If they took the position that the president was absolutely immune, then they wouldn’t be able to bring a criminal prosecution,” a person familiar with the DOJ’s probe told the outlet. As one attorney opined: “If they’re saying [Trump’s actions that day are] outside the scope of immunity of civil suits, and outside the scope of protected speech, there really isn’t anything else out there protecting Trump.” Meanwhile, the Justice Department’s decision impacts the possibility of charges against Trump from not only the federal government but also the state of Georgia.
Per the Daily Beast:
Elsewhere, former New Jersey governor (and former US attorney for the District of New Jersey) Chris Christie said in an interview last week that he expects Trump will be indicted in at least one case before the 2024 election—likely by the state of New York, which is investigating his 2016 hush money payment to Stormy Daniels. And according to Christie, the biggest liability for Trump, with regard to his freedom, is his tendency to make things worse by opening his mouth. “I think it’s impossible…not to make the situation worse,” Christie told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. While the former governor noted that the Stormy Daniels matter “seems to be a pretty cut-and-dried situation,” he added: “Every time you open your mouth, as you know, in this kind of situation, you run the real risk of it adding complications to a case where you could lose your liberty. And that’s why defense lawyers always rightfully tell their clients to keep quiet, because you don’t need to make that situation more complicated, because your liberty is at stake.”
Christie, of course, knows a little something about indictments—specifically indictments against people with almost no degree of separation from the Trump family, having sent Jared Kushner’s father to prison for tax evasion, illegal campaign contributions, and witness tampering. (Luckily for Charles Kushner, he received a presidential pardon in December 2020 from his son’s father-in-law.)