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Mar-a-Lago Raid Endgame: Donald Trump Gets Indicted or Wins 2024 Election

Donald Trump in Oval Office
President Trump Speaks on the Phone with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates

The unprecedented FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home will have either one of two results—and almost certainly won’t have any middle ground.

Either the Justice Department and the FBI will be conquering heroes that finally slayed their dragon, or Trump will be re-elected in 2024.

First Option: The Justice Department finally has Trump dead to rights.

The FBI wouldn’t step out on this type of ledge without having everything lined up. They would have to know better than to overreach yet again—which only serves as a boon for Trump. This will likely lead to a Trump indictment, perhaps for mishandling of classified material with regards to the Presidential Records Act—the grounds for the search warrant.

Or possibly, the Presidential Records Act served as the legal grounds to secure a search warrant. The real target is evidence that of Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 riots and potentially criminal conduct to overturn the 2020 election—as the House Select Committee members have been telling us for months.

After years of false starts, the walls really have closed in on Trump, as MSNBC, Jennifer Rubin and others have promised us for so long. We were starting to doubt Rachel Maddow and the Morning Joe crew. That’s only because we didn’t know what evidence was amassing behind the scenes.

At last, the evidence will be convincing. Maybe it won’t be enough to convince the Trump diehards. But it will be enough to convince those who were on board with Trump policies and have distrusted—and maybe misjudged—the FBI’s mishaps in the past.

The Second Option: The FBI clumsily re-elected Trump.

This is just another rerun in the anti-Trump obsession drama. The FBI and the machinery of the Justice Department, along with other Trump enemies keep saying, “You’ll see,” or “Next time, we’ll get him.” And those walls we keep hearing about just never close in—and they probably never will.

Like the Russia collusion debacle, the Ukraine impeachment, the New York District Attorney’s office investigation into the Trump Organization, yet another anti-Trump case will fall apart.

The Justice Department will come up empty handed even after the raid. No indictment. AGAIN.

The documents they obtained from the raid will provide no evidence of criminal wrongdoing. AGAIN.

While hardcore MAGA types and rabid Trump haters often take up most of the oxygen in modern political dialogue, most of the public falls somewhere in between.

Many of those people in the middle—for whom politics plays a small role in their lives—might well have reasonably assumed all these years, this guy could be guilty of something. Otherwise, what is all the noise about?

But if an unprecedented move of raiding a former president’s home turns up nothing, failing to prove anything—AGAIN—then that middle crowd is going to find Trump’s “witch hunt” argument very convincing. It will appear that

This doesn’t mean those in the middle will dive headfirst MAGA. It does mean fair-minded people will believe—based on the cumulative effect—Trump’s enemies are stalking him.

While I would normally never underestimate Trump’s capacity to overreach himself and ruin a victory, that might not even be applicable here. People know who Trump is. If this action is yet another failure, it will be a new revelation for many, revealing who the Justice Department and FBI really are.

Verdict: This is the ultimate put-up-or-shut-up moment for the Justice Department.

We’ve finished up Russia collusion and two failed impeachments. We are looking at a likely failed effort to tie him directly to the Jan. 6 riot. So, now the DOJ is trying to string Trump up on a violation of the Presidential Records Act?

This is almost certainly the last best shot, at least for federal prosecutors (stay tuned on probes in Georgia and New York).

The raid was the splashiest move the Justice Department could take. So, it better be good.

Fred Lucas is chief national affairs correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Abuse of Power: Inside The Three-Year Campaign to Impeach Donald Trump.”

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Fred Lucas is chief national affairs correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of "The Right Side of History" podcast. Lucas is also the author of "Abuse of Power: Inside The Three-Year Campaign to Impeach Donald Trump."