Analysis |  Trump’s Escalating Legal Drama Could Drag America Closer To A Historic Cliff

ANALYSIS | Trump’s Escalating Legal Drama Could Drag America Closer To a Historic Cliff

WABNEWS explains: these are the investigations facing Trump 3:20

(WABNEWS) — Donald Trump’s legal limbo over the investigations he faces appeared to become more precarious on Wednesday.

The country is getting closer every day to a political and judicial precipice that could see a former president prosecuted for the first time. The former commander-in-chief’s 2024 run for the White House would make this historic twist even more incendiary and amount to his biggest stress test yet of America’s legal and governmental institutions and their fragile unity.


And Trump is not just faced with a single case of potentially criminal vulnerability. The new developments on multiple fronts they suggest it’s possible he could be charged in several separate investigations that appear to be moving into a long-overdue crescendo of possible liability.

Right now, a fateful national moment is brewing amid Trump’s rampant rhetoric and predictions of his own arrest, a political storm fanned by his allies, and anticipation among those who have long chafed at his tendency to impunity.

An increasingly circus-like atmosphere in Washington, New York and Florida, where Trump now lives, makes the drama surrounding the various cases against him even more tense and confusing and, to some extent, diverts attention from what it may be a moment of dubious history. Meanwhile, a growing partisan riot led by House Republicans it seems designed to blur the facts, distract from the evidence, and fuel Trump’s claim that he is the victim of a never-ending political vendetta.

Why the Stormy Daniels case has Trump on the brink of impeachment 1:44 Donald Trump’s multiple avenues of legal risk

Trump, who denies wrongdoing, has yet to be charged in either case and it is not certain if he is. But the pattern of the past few days seems to show the legal clouds around them darkening.

— Their troubles escalated Wednesday when an appeals court ruled that Trump’s defense attorney, Evan Corcoran, must testify before a jury in the case involving classified documents Trump rummaged through his Mar-a-Lago resort. The ruling, which came with astonishing speed and thwarted Trump’s typical months-long delay tactics, was highly significant because the Justice Department had to convince the court that there was sufficient evidence to show that Trump committed a crime in order to break the attorney-client privilege convention.

Donald Trump.

Norm Eisen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a WABNEWS legal analyst, said the piercing of this critical legal protection was highly unusual and boded ill for Trump, as Corcoran’s testimony could be used to suggest he committed a crime. This could involve not only the mishandling of classified documents, but also potential obstruction of justice. “It makes what was probably Trump’s biggest federal legal risk considerably worse,” Eisen told WABNEWS’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” on Wednesday.

Jack Smith appointed as special prosecutor investigating Mar-a-Lago 1:40

— This development came with all eyes on New York after expectations soared this week that Trump could soon face impeachment in a separate case stemming from an alleged scheme to pay money to silence the movie star. for adults Stormy Daniels in a case that occurred before the 2016 election. The intrigue spiked after the grand jury in the matter failed to convene on Wednesday. But he will sit down this Thursday, a source familiar with the investigation told WABNEWS’s John Miller.

There are indications that a witness could be called to appear. And sources told WABNEWS that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who has come under fierce attack from Trump’s Republican allies, was also taking a moment to regroup amid the furor. Miller reported that Bragg’s team is evaluating whether to call back a key witness, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, to rebut testimony this week from Robert Costello, a lawyer who previously represented several Trump allies and appeared before the grand jury at the request of Trump’s legal team.

Cohen, who made the payment to Daniels, is seen by some analysts as a weak link in any trial, as his credibility could be undermined by his own conviction for lying to Congress. WABNEWS legal analyst Elliot Williams explained that Bragg would have to prove the issue of Cohen’s reliability now before a grand jury or at trial. “It’s very much in his interest to pause, step back and decide,” he said. “This kind of thing happens all the time, as prosecutors decide if and how to bring cases.”

There have been increasing signs that an impeachment could be close, especially since Trump incorrectly predicted over the weekend that he would be arrested on Tuesday. But potential charges in this somewhat obscure, year-long case could center on trade violations or violations of campaign finance law. All of which raises the question of whether it is really in the national interest to cross the Rubicon to impeach a former president in a case that may be difficult to explain to the public, lacks deep constitutional implications, and may not be a success at trial.

Learn about other pending court cases that Trump has 2:53

— In a third Trump legal tangle, Fani Willis, the Fulton County, Georgia, district attorney, said in January that impeachment decisions were imminent in an investigation into the former president’s attempt to undo President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory. in a critical electoral state. Willis’s office, which is considering filing racketeering and conspiracy charges, could make decisions this spring, WABNEWS reported Monday. In a desperate attempt, Trump’s lawyers tried to get a court to throw out the special grand jury’s final report.

— And on a separate legal front, the former president and his lieutenants are being investigated by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith for their attempts to steal the 2020 election and the US Capitol insurrection on Dec. 6. on January 1, 2021. In another sign of the seriousness of the investigation, Smith subpoenaed former Vice President Mike Pence, who helped save American democracy on January 6, 2021, to testify. (Smith is also investigating Trump’s handling of classified documents.)

Would Trump’s presidential bid be over if he is convicted? 1:52 Trump spins between conflicting emotions about a possible impeachment

Amid the turmoil, the former president, amid angry attacks on his Truth Social social network, is playing a waiting game with his advisers, who are preparing for several different scenarios involving a possible impeachment in New York, reported WABNEWS’s Kristen Holmes. Trump has at times celebrated because he believes an impeachment could boost his campaign, but he has also complained that it would be “unfair.” Characteristically, the former reality TV star and New York tabloid figure has toyed with the idea of ​​creating a media spectacle if he is indicted, Holmes reported.

Underscoring one strand of political drama that could emerge, Trump’s biggest potential rival in the 2024 Republican primary chose this week to twist the knife as other potential Republican White House contenders rushed to Trump’s defense in the secret money case. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, told a crowd on Monday that he doesn’t “know what it’s like to pay hush money to a porn star” and then hinted in an interview that if he won the Oval Office, he would be far more disciplined than Trump in his riotous four years as president. president. “No daily drama, focused on the big picture and putting the points on the blackboard,” DeSantis told Piers Morgan on TalkTV, just as news of Trump’s legal troubles reminded Americans of the daily drama he hosted for four years.

“The governor can’t afford to be sidelined from the start,” a DeSantis adviser told WABNEWS’s Steve Contorno amid Trump’s attacks on the governor. “He clearly did the math, it was time to back off.”

Trump lashing out at DeSantis, who has yet to declare a campaign, is accelerating the GOP presidential race to its most intense level, just when the former president’s legal troubles also appear to be exploding. “The fact is that Ron is an average governor, but by far the best in the country in one category, Public Relations, where he easily ranks number one,” Trump said in a statement Wednesday in which he swept the governor’s record. man he once considered a protégé. “But it’s all a mirage, just look at the facts and figures, they don’t lie, and we don’t want Ron as our president!”

The former president’s fury presented DeSantis, who scored a double-digit re-election victory in Florida last fall, with the most dangerous moment yet in his pseudo-campaign and could test Trump’s enormous grip on the “Make America Great Again. But Trump’s legal sludge may also remind voters who rejected him in 2020 and some of his favorite candidates in last year’s midterms why they were alienated by his chaotic leadership.

DeSantis is not the only Republican seeking a political opening. Trump’s Republican allies in the House have been showing their enduring strength with rank and file voters sending them to Washington unleashing an extraordinary attack on the Manhattan district attorney. As Trump once did, they are using the power of the government to try to hold it to account and defuse its legal threats. House Republican committee chairs, for example, have demanded Bragg’s testimony and vowed to find out if his investigation used federal funds.

All of this underscores the fact that more than two years after Trump left office, the nation is nowhere near overcoming the enormous political and legal trauma of his tenure. And if the events of the past few days are any indication, the American people may be in for another round of turmoil.



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