Stormy Daniels is living up to her name. She is proving to be a storm in Donald Trump’s tumultuous political career. The former American president has been indicted for violating campaign finance and accounting rules. Finally, a grand jury voted, in New York, to criminally indict Mr Trump. This is a first for America. The indictment follows the establishment of Mr Trump’s hush-money payment to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, aka Stephanie Clifford, during the 2016 presidential elections. The law had to catch up with Mr Trump. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/31/donald-trump- indictment
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Long Spells of Turbulence
The hush-money probe had revolved around Mr Trump’s payments to Ms Daniels. She was paid to keep mum about her extramarital liaison and sexual encounter with Mr Trump. Michael Cohen, Mr Trump’s lawyer, had arranged to pay Ms Daniels USD 130,000 to keep her mouth shut on an alleged fling a decade earlier, perhaps a year into Mr Trump’s betrothal to his third wife.
Desperate to cover up, the Trump Organisation camouflaged the payment as ‘legal expenses’ in its financial records. Mr Cohen was later reimbursed by Mr Trump. These are perilous moments for America and its democracy. Perilous because indictment of its 45th president rams America into long spells of political turbulence and poisonous polarisation. As Mr Trump gets set for his arraignment and arrest in Lower Manhattan on 4 April, murkier details of his many other charges continue to surface in shock revelations. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-03- 31/trump-to-be-arraigned-in-ny-case-in-manhattan-on-tuesday- at-2-15#xj4y7vzkg
Converting into a Sympathy Show
The revelations increase the possibility of more indictments for Mr Trump and a longer spell of political unrest for America. Inevitably, American democracy is slipping into a perplexing phase of hitherto unseen political skulduggery. Forget the Republicans debunking the indictment as a diabolical dragnet, designed to ensnare their ‘charismatic’ leader. The fact remains Mr Trump has finally set a precedent for past presidents to be indicted. https://poliphoon.com/facing-the-music-on-many- fronts/
The reality of this precedent will dog Mr Trump and America, at least as long as he remains active in politics. Given to bluster, Mr Trump continues to trash the indictment. He denies, with a straight face, having done anything wrong. In fact, he seems to bask in all the headlines he is getting. He is sure to weaponise his indictment to combat his political rivals in the days to come. He may even convert this indictment into a sympathy show. Why, he may even capitalise on his indictment and turn it into a fund-raising moment. Strange how Mr Trump thinks. https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2023/03/24/donald-trump- potential-indictment-national-politics
Relishing All Sycophantic Pledges
Not surprising, Mr Trump is said to have expressed his desire to be handcuffed when he appears in court. Knowing Mr Trump inside out, it is certain he will do everything he can, to bounce back into Republican presidential nomination for 2024. Confirming this, optimism was in the air surrounding Mar-a-Lago, his Floridian resort home. Soon after the indictment, Mr Trump was spotted chatting with his folks and friends.
He was happily allowing himself to be pepped up by his poll managers. More than the spread on the table, Mr Trump was relishing the sycophantic pledges of his Republican proponents. Yet, heart of hearts, he was not happy over what was happening. This inner unhappiness is a potential danger for America and its people. Already, Mr Trump has been leaving his scary thoughts on Truth Social, which is brimming with bad-mouthed comments. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us- politics/trump-truth-social-war-indictment-b2310323.html
Scripting Verbal Assault Lines
Analysts say his verbal assaults on Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan District Attorney who indicted him, and his death-n-destruction threats are too real to be ignored. These red flags point towards an imminent Capitol Hill-like insurrection. After all, Mr Trump is desparately searching for a potent political weapon for winning a second term in 2024. Keeping his presidential ambition burning, Mr Trump’s handpicked team of campaign managers, financial consultants and legal advisors are working overtime to blunt the indictment.
The team is scripting verbal assault lines for use against Mr Bragg, and Mr Cohen, a key witness in the case. The team has readied catchy fund-raising appeals and popular PR programmes for broadcast on national television and radio. As the indictment has done little to make Mr Trump remorseful, he is more concerned about how it would contribute to his smooth passage through the primaries. Basically, he is poll-driven. https://www.theguardian.com/us- news/2023/apr/02/donald-trump-escalate-attacks-against- manhattan-da
Leveraging for Raising Funds
Unrepentant, Mr Trump is going berserk meanwhile on his Truth Social. Launching a personal attack on Mr Bragg, Mr Trump wrote: “The indictment amounts to political persecution. I can’t get a fair trial in New York.” Making matters worse, Fox News anchors are fuelling his vanity and arrogance. However, these stunts are sure to go against Mr Trump, mar his image and mess up with his winnability quotient. Doubtful whether America would accept these outrageous statements and allow itself to be led up the garden path. https://pix11.com/news/local- news/trump-blasts-manhattan-indictment-says-he-cant-get-fair- trial-in- ny/#:~:text=Trump%20blasts%20Manhattan%20indictment%2C%20says,get%20fair%20trial%20in%20NY&text=NEW%20YORK%20(PIX11)%20%E2%80%94%20Former,the%20case%20is%20politically%20motivated.
Mr Trump is not the one to bother. He is busy mustering support for his 2024 Republican Party presidential primaries. He is said to have assembled lofty testimonials from his fawning flock. The flock, among others, includes House Speaker Mr Kevin McCarthy, House Republicans, Republican governors and senators. Not to leave anything to chance, Mr Trump is going about town tom-tomming his conviction, leveraging it as his USP in fund-raising. American politics is getting personal for sure.
The Reality Will be Grim
Mr Trump’s antics show how low American politics could dip. Confirming the depths it is capable of plunging to, Mr Trump has already raised more than USD 4m since his indictment, more than 25 percent of which has come from first-time donors. Public-spirited American analysts shudder at the thought of what could Mr Trump do if he were to be convicted in other probes, particularly in the major Fulton County (Georgia) investigation. They seem to agonise over an America with a beaten Trump, indicted in all his cases.
The Georgia probe is significant because Mr Trump is accused of meddling with election results. Bad luck for Mr Trump, the Georgia case is stronger than Daniels’. Yet, the Republican jingoists are hoping against hope that his Manhattan case will bomb politically as it is meatless, and so will the Georgia case. Even if they are right, the reality will be grim. For the simple reason, the rest of the cases against Mr Trump are stronger. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisondurkee/2023/03/20/trum p-tries-to-block-georgia-election-investigation-as-criminal- charges-loom/?sh=1e33f1061051
The fact that these cases are being fought simultaneously will sap Mr Trump’s strength. Yet, Mr Trump is putting up a brave front. Despite 4 April approaching near, his cronies are amplifying the motivated-indictment message across all the states. Meanwhile, Ms Daniels is celebrating the Trump indictment news. She is afraid she could spill her champagne in excitement. The very thought of selling her story for a fortune is making her float on cloud nine. https://www.thedailybeast.com/stormy- daniels-pops-champagne-to-celebrate-trump-indictment
Though the sparkling wine didn’t spill, she has managed to shake the supreme confidence of Trumpists in the Trump Organisation HQ. For any president, an indictment would have meant a premature end to political career. Strangely for Mr Trump, his indictment is seen as a pitchfork capable of lifting his floundering fortunes. In more ways than one, Ms Daniels will prove to be Mr Trump’s saviour storm.