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Donald Trump Could Be Headed for a Plea Deal

Donald Trump is talking tough now, but that could change. He could consider a plea deal in the cases, should it look like a conviction is imminent.

Donald Trump. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
President Donald J. Trump is joined by Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, left; Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army General Mark A. Milley, right, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in the Situation Room of the White House monitoring developments as U.S. Special Operations forces close in on notorious ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s compound in Syria with a mission to kill or capture the terrorist. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Would Donald Trump ever drop out of his race for the White House?

He has already said there was no way he would suspend his campaign, despite significant legal woes.

Republicans like former National Security Adviser John Bolton have requested that Trump quit his re-election quest.

The ex-president has scoffed at such rhetoric. Trump was arraigned in Miami in federal court on June 13 for his latest indictment concerning the mishandling of classified records. He already faces a March 2024 trial for his alleged hush money scheme in which he is accused of paying an adult video star in exchange for her silence about an extramarital affair they had. 

Trump Says No Way He Is Quitting

Trump said in a June 11 radio show that there is “no case” in which he would drop out. “No, I see no case in which I would do that. I just wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it. I had opportunities in 2016 to do it. And I didn’t do it,” Trump said of the possibility of dropping out of the 2024 race while speaking to host Roger Stone.

But He Must Drop Campaign Activities During the Coming Trial

He will have to stop campaigning during the hush money trial in which he has to answer accusations of falsifying business records. The judge has warned him to clear his calendar. It is not apparent how long this trial will take but Trump has 34 felony counts against him. So, we know that there will be no campaigning that month or into the next during court proceedings.

When Will the Trial Be Held for the Classified Documents Accusations?

Moreover, He faces 37 counts in the classified documents case. It is not clear when this trial will be held or how long it will last. Federal trials are typically held many months to even over a year after an indictment. So, let’s assume that it will be held in the fall of 2024, perhaps after the general election, should Trump win the nomination. He is comfortably ahead in polls at this time, but Florida Governor Ron DeSantis could win the GOP nod while other Republican candidates have a chance to become president.

One of these White House hopefuls, Vivek Ramaswamy, said he would pardon Trump. Other candidates have not gone that far. If Trump won the presidency, he could pardon himself and I previously wrote an analysis of this possibility for 19FortyFive. Legal scholars are split on whether Trump could declare a self-pardon. Plus, if Democrats were in control of the House of Representatives, they could decide to impeach him if Trump tried to pardon himself for the classified documents imbroglio. The alleged hush money scheme is comprised of state crimes and Trump would not be able to engage in a self-pardon for those offenses.

Trump can run for president during the adjudication of his cases. There is no stipulation in the Constitution that he can’t – even if he is convicted and sentenced to jail – he would be able to keep campaigning.

There could be two other indictments against Trump. These may come from an investigation into his actions leading up to and during the January 6 insurrection. He is also in hot water for allegedly interfering in the 2020 general election for president, in Georgia.

How could he possibly face four separate indictments without it affecting his campaign? He would, at a minimum, stop campaigning while he answers the charges in court. He could not self-pardon for the Georgia potential conviction as those would be local or state crimes, while he could do so for the January 6 transgressions.

How About a Plea Deal?

Donald Trump is talking tough now, but that could change. He could consider a plea deal in the cases, should it look like a conviction is imminent. This would potentially allow him to avoid jail time. But the prosecution looks determined in both cases he faces so far and Trump has claimed that he would accept no deal unless he was “paid damages” by the prosecution.

However, Trump’s fans are liable to convince him to stay in the race. In a recent CBS/You Gov poll, around 75 percent of Republicans said the indictment either would not change their view of Trump (61 percent). Some said the indictment even improved their opinion of him (14 percent). With this kind of support, Trump is liable to keep going without stopping other than when he appears in court. He is nothing if not defiant and resilient during times of adversity. It almost seems that he prefers having his back to the wall and playing the victim to rile up his base. Thus, it is clear now that he has no plans of dropping out of the race.

Author Expertise and Experience: Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.

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Written By

Now serving as 1945s New Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer.