Donald Trump Faces Legal Battles Amid Political Fights Over Hush Money

1 June 2024

Donald Trump stared down a bank of cameras inside Trump Tower on Friday and delivered a message fitting for both his legal and political battles: He is ready to fight. A day after a New York jury found him guilty of 34 counts related to falsifying documents to hide hush money payments to a porn star, the Republican presidential candidate rattled off a list of adversaries and grievances in angry, rambling remarks.

He called Justice Juan Merchan, who presided over his trial, “crooked” and “a devil.” He described Democrat Joe Biden, his rival in the Nov. 5 election, as “the worst president in the history of our country.” He blasted the witnesses who testified against him, the members of Congress who had voted to impeach him and – echoing his rally rhetoric – the immigrants he said were pouring into the country illegally.

Trump implored supporters to donate to his campaign fundraising, framing the challenges before him as being bigger than his alone. “Do this,” he said, “because we’re fighting for America.” While his other campaign speeches have often been sprinkled with humor, this one was mostly dour. Trump held just one small page of notes during the news conference. At the end, he took no questions and retreated quickly from the lectern with his son, Eric Trump, by his side.

Campaign Fundraising Frenzy

Away from the cameras, through fundraising appeals and on social media, the former president’s allies also lashed out at the justice system and anyone who dared suggest Trump had committed a crime. In a race where both leading candidates have portrayed each other as a threat to the nation, the Biden campaign seized on Trump’s remarks as fresh evidence that he is not fit to serve.

“America just witnessed a confused, desperate and defeated Donald Trump ramble about his own personal grievances and lie about the American justice system, leaving anyone watching with one obvious conclusion: This man cannot be president of the United States,” Michael Tyler, the Biden campaign’s communications director, said in a statement.

Trump supporters – most of whom see the New York verdict as a miscarriage of justice – flooded his campaign with $34.8 million in donations on Thursday alone, the Trump team said. That was a one-day record for Trump on WinRed, a platform that handles digital fundraising for Republicans. The campaign, which lags Biden in total fundraising, sought to keep up the pace on Friday, blasting off a flurry of foreboding fundraising texts to supporters.

“THE DARKEST DAY IN AMERICAN HISTORY!” one message read. “I WILL NEVER SURRENDER!” blared another after Trump’s press conference.

No Room for Dissent

Almost all Republican officials and organizations fell in line behind the former president, arguing the trial was flawed, the charges should never have been brought, the jury pool in heavily Democratic Manhattan was tainted and the judge was biased – allegations local authorities deny. Where Republicans’ condemnations were not swift or strong enough, Trump allies and campaign aides went on the attack.

Trump co-campaign manager Chris LaCivita heaped scorn on a national college Republican group whose post on social media platform X said the jury’s verdict should be respected. “Opinions are like assholes…everyone has one…,” LaCivita posted. He also took aim at Larry Hogan, a moderate former Republican governor in Maryland running for a Senate seat, who before the verdict warned Americans “not to pour fuel on the fire with more toxic partisanship.”

“You just ended your campaign,” LaCivita responded on X.

In interviews with Republican voters in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Georgia, several said Trump’s conviction was making them rethink their support for him in November. Such defections could hurt him in his rematch with Biden given Trump’s razor-thin lead in multiple swing states. But most Republicans interviewed sounded much like Trump himself, calling the trial a sham.

“It’s all political, just to hurt him and keep him off the campaign trail as much as possible,” said Scott Clayton, 62, a retired police officer in Marietta, Georgia. “If they can do this to him, they can do it to anyone. Absolutely nobody is safe.”

campaign fundraising

How might Donald Trumps guilty verdict impact his campaign fundraising efforts for future political endeavors?

Donald Trumps guilty verdict could polarize his fundraising efforts. While it may deter traditional donors wary of legal controversies, it could simultaneously galvanize his loyal base, who view him as a victim of political persecution, potentially leading to a surge in grassroots donations.

Can campaign fundraising be impacted by legal issues like those faced by Donald Trump?

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