Former President Trump is breezing to the GOP nomination but, in private, is bracing for the possibility that he'll be the first convicted felon in U.S. history to represent a major party. Sources tell Axios Trump believes he'd likely be convicted if the Jan. 6 case comes to trial this spring in Washington, D.C. If that's delayed, he could face a guilty verdict in the Manhattan hush-money case. Trump thinks he could still win the White House, in part by making daily, theatrical appearances whenever courts are hearing his four cases, totaling 91 felony charges. His advisers worry independents will be turned off by a conviction. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over the Jan. 6 case, has been tough on Capitol rioters and has signaled she'll cut Trump no breaks. Trump lawyers once saw it as highly likely that the case would come to trial before the Republican convention in Milwaukee in July. The case was to begin March 4. But the trial has now been dropped from a public court calendar. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who has accused Trump of buying the silence of porn star Stormy Daniels, may fill the vacuum by beginning his trial as soon as March 25.
Bragg has begun trying to add urgency and heft to his case by rebranding it as election interference. Trump plans to attend his trials in person most days, as has been his practice for recent court proceedings. That by itself would mean a massive change in the rhythms of a presidential campaign: Nominees typically spend their days trying to sway voters, not jurors. Trump will rail against the judge, the charges and the timing. Part of this would be true anger, but a big part of the courtroom theatrics would be political. Trump is certain that the more voters think this is a political pile-on, the better he'll do. So look for Trump to continue to groan, then hit the TV cameras outside. Despite Trump's bluster, there's real trepidation among his advisers about what a conviction would mean. Polls show voters, especially swing voters, will view Trump differently if he's convicted by a jury of his peers. In the Georgia election interference case involving Trump, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Friday admitted she had a personal relationship with an outside prosecutor she appointed to manage the election interference case against Trump and his allies but denied claims that the relationship had tainted the proceedings, reports the Washington Post.