Former president Donald Trump is facing 91 charges across four separate indictments, although one of them could prove to be more damaging for his presidential campaign than the rest.
The Republican frontrunner faces an indictment for alleged hush money payments to adult entertainer Stormy Daniels. This indictment, arguably the weakest, has been public knowledge since last decade, so the shock factor when Trump was charged mostly stemmed from the fact that he was the first former president to be so. The case itself was hardly a revelation.
Trump is also facing charges due to alleged election interference and his role in the January 6 Capitol riots. His belief that the election was rigged has been well known since the November 2020 election, and the events of that fateful day in Washington D.C. were broadcast live to millions.
However, the indictment regarding Trump’s storage of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home was relatively unknown until the raid by federal agents in August last year. It’s the freshest case, the one for which Trump could face serious jail time for, and by far the most damaging to his presidential campaign.
Donald Trump: Riding The Waves… For Now
Trump’s support has only increased with each passing indictment. His supporters have stuck by him ever since he lost the 2020 election, parroting his claims on his behalf across the social media platform he’s banned from. Even to the impartial observer, four indictments in as many months the year before an election does at least raise eyebrows, especially with the Biden family facing their own legal battles and investigations.
Three indictments were expected for some time, so the shock factor with each criminal charge wore off quickly. The classified documents case, however, was an exception. Following the June indictment, Trump’s poll numbers within the GOP dipped – the only indictment which saw such a trend.
The “witch hunt” rhetoric may have convinced a quarter of Republicans in Trump’s favor, but national security has always been an important issue among GOP voters. Storing classified documents at a personal residence risks the lives of Americans, even if the President is also being investigated for it.
The Special Counsel Jack Smith-led indictment is also the one that we know least about. As mentioned, the other three have been public knowledge for years; the classified documents case, however, will only truly emerge during next year’s court proceedings.
Quite evidently, Trump is sticking to his belief that he is the subject of a politically motivated investigation. It’s a strategy that works with posts on Truth Social in all capital letters, but not one which works as well in a court of law.
The trial is set for May 2024. Assuming status quo, Donald Trump will be the GOP’s presidential nominee by that point. Whether he can continue to ride the waves of prosecution with the nation as he has done with Republicans remains to be seen.
Shay Bottomley is a British journalist based in Canada. He has written for the Western Standard, Maidenhead Advertiser, Slough Express, Windsor Express, Berkshire Live and Southend Echo, and has covered notable events including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.