, February 25, 2024

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How Trump Was Indicted Again And Why His Supporters Stay Unswayed


  •   6 min reads
How Trump Was Indicted Again And Why His Supporters Stay Unswayed
Wikimedia Commons
by Alina Liebholz

On November 15, 2022, Donald Trump entered the race for the US presidency once more, adding his name to a growing list of Republican candidates competing for the GOP presidential nomination.

During a recent rally in South Carolina, he asserted: “Together we will complete the unfinished business of making America great again.”

As he gears up for the 2024 campaign, it seems that there is indeed some “unfinished business” lying in wait for Trump—namely, multiple pending lawsuits against him.

Trump currently faces two federal indictments and various state charges, making it likely he will face at least three criminal trials next year while campaigning for the presidency.

In June this year, Trump became the first former president to confront federal criminal charges when he was indicted for retaining classified government documents at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida after leaving office.

Now Donald Trump was indicted again on felony charges for attempting to overturn the 2020 election and inciting the January 6 Capitol riot.

The Latest Indictment Against Trump

On 1 August, former President Donald J. Trump was indicted on four counts, including three conspiracies related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and one count of obstructing an official proceeding.

The 45-page indictment details allegations about how Trump and six co-conspirators sought to reverse his defeat by promoting false claims of fraud and attempting to subvert the certification of the Electoral College vote.

While the alleged co-conspirators are not named, their descriptions match prominent figures close to Trump, such as Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman.

Furthermore, the indictment provided new insights into Trump’s alleged months-long campaign of lies about the election results, accusing him of conspiring to defraud the US government and obstructing the official election process.

It also highlights how Trump supposedly exploited the violence and chaos during the Capitol attack to delay the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

“The attack on our nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy,” said Jack Smith, the Justice Department’s (DOJ) special counsel for the investigations.

He continued: “It was fueled by lies, lies by the defendant targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the U.S. government: the nation’s process of collecting counting and certifying the results of the presidential election.”

Additionally, the indictment points to claims about Trump’s direct involvement in pressuring former Vice President Mike Pence to interfere in the election certification.

Before the indictment was officially publicised, Trump had shared the news on his own social media platform Truth Social:

“I hear that Deranged Jack Smith, in order to interfere with the Presidential Election of 2024, will be putting out yet another Fake Indictment of your favorite President, me, at 5:00 P.M. Why didn’t they do this 2.5 years ago? Why did they wait so long? Because they wanted to put it right in the middle of my campaign. Prosecutorial Misconduct!”

A potential challenge for the prosecution could be that some of Trump’s statements around the January 6 riots and his allegation of voter fraud may be protected by the Free Speech Amendment.

However, speech that helps commit a crime is not covered by the Amendment. Hence the DOJ’s special counsel argued that Mr Trump’s false statements were part of a plot to overturn the election and stop the vote count.

Trump is due to appear in the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday.

The Other Lawsuits Against Trump

In the meantime, Trump is facing several other criminal cases in New York and Florida.

Furthermore, prosecutors in Georgia are also investigating the former president’s efforts to reverse his 2020 election loss.

Here’s a breakdown of the charges, lawsuits and indictments Trump faces in different states:

  • New York: State prosecutors have charged Trump with falsifying business records related to a hush-money payoff to a porn actress before the 2016 election. The trials are scheduled to begin in October 2023 and March 2024.
  • New York: Writer E. Jean Carroll previously won $5 million in damages from Trump for sexually assaulting and defaming her in the 1990s. Trump has denied her claims and stated that he will appeal. Carroll noted that she would also sue him for defamation over remarks he made on CNN in May. The new trial is scheduled to begin in January 2024.
  • Florida: The Justice Department has brought more than three dozen felony counts against Trump, accusing him of illegally possessing classified documents after leaving the White House and attempting to conceal them from investigators. The trial is set to start in May 2023.
  • Washington, DC: The Department of Justice indicted Donald Trump on four counts, including three conspiracies related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and one count of obstructing an official proceeding. The trial start date is unclear.
  • Georgia: Prosecutors are actively investigating Trump and his allies for their efforts to reverse his election loss to Biden in Georgia. The district attorney of Fulton County is expected to announce charging decisions within weeks.

What Does The Indictment Mean For Trump’s 2024 Campaign

The lawsuits against the former president cannot hinder him from running for president.

Furthermore, despite facing multiple charges, former President Donald Trump remains the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination, supported by a loyal base of voters who view him as being the victim of a “witch hunt”.

Moreover, many of his supporters see the criminal charges as politically motivated.

The day after the latest indictment charges, a post by Trump on Truth Social stated:

“THANK YOU TO EVERYONE!!! I HAVE NEVER HAD SO MUCH SUPPORT ON ANYTHING BEFORE. THIS UNPRECEDENTED INDICTMENT OF A FORMER (HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL!) PRESIDENT, & THE LEADING CANDIDATE, BY FAR, IN BOTH THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND THE 2024 GENERAL ELECTION, HAS AWOKEN THE WORLD TO THE CORRUPTION, SCANDAL, & FAILURE THAT HAS TAKEN PLACE IN THE UNITED STATES FOR THE PAST THREE YEARS. AMERICA IS A NATION IN DECLINE, BUT WE WILL MAKE IT GREAT AGAIN, GREATER THAN EVER BEFORE. I LOVE YOU ALL!!!”

Despite the indictments, it seems Trump’s popularity and electability have not experienced significant shifts in polls. Instead, the support for the former president is increasing.

The ongoing Republican primary race sees Trump leading with a commanding 37 percentage point advantage over potential rivals like Ron DeSantis and Mike Pence.

Political analyst Stu Rothenberg, before the new Trump indictment was handed down, predicted that the new charges would only rally Trump’s supporters to his talking points, reinforcing his narrative of being targeted by the establishment and the “deep state.”

This sentiment has been echoed by his loyal base, who remain steadfast in their support for the former president, no matter how many lawsuits or indictments Trump faces—making it very likely that the 2024 election will once again say: Biden vs Trump.

The loyalty of Trump’s followers however raises questions about the health of American democracy. How can people accept Trump as a corrupt businessman, acknowledging his moral limitation and yet see Trump’s candidacy as viable? It is as if the polarisation of the American political system has blinded people and made them unable to assess a person’s integrity or worse, demand that the man in the White House be an honest, upright individual.

Some American observers are beginning to wonder what is happening to American democracy. A just published analysis by Peter Baker, New York Times chief White House correspondent, who has covered the last five presidents, makes a strong case that Trump’s indictment “has broad implications for American democracy”, noting that:

“… not since the framers emerged from Independence Hall on that clear, cool day in Philadelphia 236 years ago has any president who was voted out of office been accused of plotting to hold onto power in an elaborate scheme of deception and intimidation that would lead to violence in the halls of Congress.”

Of course, this is “only” the New York Times. No doubt Fox News will have another take.

First published in Impakter. You can read the article here.


Alina Liebholz

Alina Liebholz grew up in Germany and moved to England for university, where she is currently in her third year of a Global Law LLB at Queen Mary University of London. While on an exchange program at the University of Texas at Austin, Alina worked for the law school's Human Rights Clinic and discovered a passion for journalism. Her interests lie in human rights, intellectual property, and foreign affairs. Alongside her studies, she enjoys hiking, running, and experimenting with new dishes and cuisines.


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