An unwavering demand has arguably marked the MAGA camp for loyalty. Still, recent legal troubles have led some within his circle to reconsider their allegiance, with fingers pointing toward the former president, Donald Trump, in a bid to defend themselves.
What the End for Donald Trump Could Look Like
According to Politico, as Trump faces four impending criminal trials, his “aides, allies, and codefendants” have started to implicate him in their legal proceedings. Trump, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges, is witnessing key figures within his orbit distancing themselves from his actions.
Last month, an IT staffer at Mar-a-Lago reversed his previous grand jury testimony in a classified documents case, implicating Donald Trump and others in obstruction of justice.
This shift in testimony came after the staffer switched from an attorney funded by a Trump political action committee to a lawyer from the federal defender’s office in Washington.
Simultaneously, three Republican activists facing indictments by the Fulton County district attorney’s office for their role in trying to overturn the election in Georgia claimed they acted under Trump’s direction.
Meadows Shifts Focus to Trump
Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff and another figure charged in the Georgia case, indicated that his defense strategy may include attributing primary responsibility to the former president for the election challenge effort.
During a hearing in Atlanta, Meadows’s defense attorney highlighted Trump’s prominent role in a pivotal event in the prosecutors’ case: the infamous January 2, 2021, phone call where Trump pressured Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” enough votes to declare him the winner.
While emphasizing Meadows’s limited role in the conversation, the defense attorney didn’t directly point out Trump’s request to alter vote totals, as the courtroom had just heard Trump’s voice making the demand.
“It was a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week kind of job,” Meadows told the court. “It was a very broad responsibility … I found myself on defense a lot with things coming at me from a million different directions.”
He said the government had a legitimate interest in “accurate and fair elections,” and cited the roles of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice in promoting them.
Putting Meadows on the stand was an unexpected legal maneuver as criminal defendants typically refrain from testifying during pre-trial motions.
Meadows pleaded not guilty in the Georgia case, and according to Politico, his attorney’s approach is likely a preview of future legal strategies. Trump’s codefendants may opt to be tried alongside the former president to shift the focus onto him and appear comparatively less culpable.
‘Mob Boss’ Donald Trump
Vanity Fair’s political correspondent Bess Levin highlights that while Donald Trump may not welcome his associates distancing themselves and attributing their actions to him, it’s a strategic move he shouldn’t find entirely surprising, given his history of demanding loyalty. She even went as far as to compare his focus on loyalty like that of a “mob boss”.
In 2017 former FBI Director James Comey accused Trump of telling him he “expect[ed] loyalty” during the agency’s probe into ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.
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