Historic day in the United States with the reading of charges against a former president. The arrival of Donald Trump in New York, under tight security measures and if he went through the courts, has once again polarized the country. However, Trump knows how to turn the tables and take advantage of the judicial process to boost his run for the White House. Faced with this new key day in US history, we asked Professor Matthew Wilson about. Wilson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University, says the prosecutor’s prosecution is legally weak. Likewise, the expert points out that, for most Americans, “an alleged affair with an adult film actress is seen as sordid, but not atrocious.”
Donald Trump’s campaign team claims it has raised more than $5 million in the last 48 hours. Can the former president’s impeachment boost his run for the White House?
This accusation is likely to boost Donald Trump’s campaign, at least in the short term. Since the charges appear somewhat flimsy and are based on unorthodox legal theory, they give the impression of being politically motivated. The former president will take advantage of this circumstance both to raise money and to gather support among the Republican bases. We’ve already seen his intraparty rivals denounce the accusation, and Trump has enjoyed a rebound in the primary polls. The former president does better politically when he has an adversary, and a left-wing African-American district attorney from New York (Alvin Bragg) is perfect for the GOP primary constituency.
How will the Republican Party deal with this accusation?
Given that this impeachment is legally the weakest of several facing former President Donald Trump, and that he retains significant grassroots support within the party, Republicans have no choice but to rally around the former president. Even Republicans who have been highly critical of the tycoon in the past have expressed considerable skepticism about these accusations. However, to the extent that the backlash against this accusation bolsters Donald Trump’s candidacy, it is a problem for the party. Most Republican strategists would rather take on Joe Biden in 2024 with a more mainstream candidate, rather than have Trump and all his baggage on the ballot yet again.
Former President Trump will formally face the charges today. What does this mean for US history?
It will be an unprecedented day in US history: the first time a current or former president has faced criminal charges. However, it is unfortunate that this barrier has been broken on the basis of such questionable accusations. Many observers in both parties would have expected that if a president was to be impeached for the first time, it would be based on clear evidence of serious crimes. The legal strategy of using a dubious interpretation of federal campaign finance law to turn a state misdemeanor into a felony (thus circumventing the statute of limitations) is highly suspect, and only fuels Trump’s argument that it is policy rather than law enforcement. On the other hand, the underlying purpose of trying to hide an alleged affair with an adult film actress is seen by most Americans as seedy, but not egregious. It has the potential to open the door to routine prosecutions of political opponents, which would be a decidedly unfortunate development.
If Trump is finally found guilty, will it be difficult for him to finally be nominated as a Republican candidate?
There is nothing legally that prevents someone convicted of a crime from running for federal office, including the presidency. As a practical matter, however, it would be impossible to mount a presidential bid from a jail cell. That being said, it is highly unlikely in my opinion that Trump will face jail time on these charges. The bigger question would be whether a trial actually gets underway before the election and, if so, whether information damaging his campaign comes to light during the trial. Unless something more comes to light than we’ve seen so far, these charges alone are unlikely to derail his presidential bid.