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Campaigning From the Dock: Trump's Unique Bid for Office

Any distinction between the former President Donald Trump's bid for re-election and his criminal defense is vanishing as the charges against him mount, making for a campaign like the country has never seen before, the Washington Post reports. The scenario that's already playing out: one party's leading candidate juggling multiple criminal indictments while slashing the Department of Justice and his opponents, shuttling between early primary states for rallies and courtrooms for hearings, and spending his supporters’ money on both millions of dollars’ worth of campaign ads and burgeoning legal bills. Many of his aides are both advising him and could be witnesses against him in trials, putting them in uncomfortable spots. And his criminal defense is swallowing his campaign, where just over half of the money he raised last quarter went not to the campaign itself but to an affiliated PAC that is footing the legal bills.

“A lot of money is going to legal and people who don’t do much, and not a lot is left over to do marketing and advertising,” said one Trump adviser, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal plans. Campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said the political and legal efforts are blending together because Trump and his supporters view the prosecutions as President Biden’s effort to stop him. “They see another political indictment or target letter and they know this is just the weaponized Biden Justice Department going after President Trump,” he said. Ken Cuccinelli, an adviser to the super PAC supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Trump's one-time deputy Homeland Security secretary, said, “Trump’s supporters are being taken advantage of by having to foot the bill for Trump’s legal troubles.” The campaign is now planning for Trump to run for president while facing four separate trials spanning a range of criminal charges. On Friday, the Florida federal judge overseeing his classified-documents case, one of two pending indictments, set that trial for May 20, 2024, less than six months before the election. Meanwhile, new federal and state indictments related to Trump's post-election maneuvering are believed to be imminent.


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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