It seems very likely that Former President Donald Trump is going to be charged with a crime early this week. This is an unparalleled event in United States history as no other president, either former or sitting, has ever been charged with a crime. Here's the rundown:
Hush Money: Shortly prior to the 2016 presidential election, Stormy Daniels, an American pornographic film actress/director, and former stripper, received a quid pro quo payment in the sum of $130,000 to buy her silence in relationship to about a decade-old claim of an affair with Trump. The sum came from Trump's then-lawyer, Michael Cohen. Using personal checks, Trump reimbursed Cohen while serving as president. In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to crimes related to the payment and served a prison sentence.
Trump will most likely be charged with covering up the reimbursements to Cohen. Falsifying business records are a misdemeanor in New York, but can be a felony in New York if done to conceal another crime. In this case, the crime could be a violation of election law: Cohen’s payment to Daniels.
The Arguments: There are two main arguments for the charges. One is the overall context of Trump's prior behavior that shows disdain for the rule of law; the second is evidence. Cohen has given testimony and there are the personal checks: both constitute evidence.
Trump has previously disregarded the law. He told thousands of lies while in office; refused to accept the peaceful transfer of power; used the office of the United States presidency to benefit his company; to name but a few.
The money given to Daniels is a violation of campaign finance rules. To disregard this violation could set a precedent for future candidates to break the law as well.
Possible Outcome: It's thought by some that the arrest will benefit Trump in his 2024 quest for the presidency. Liam Donovan, a veteran Republican strategist, told The New York Times, “Legal escalation would be a significant blow in a general election where he needs to broaden his support, but any event that polarizes the primary in terms of pro- or anti-Trump sentiment only serves to harden his core support.
Trump is a registered resident of Florida, not New York. According to Politico.com, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stated that he would not get involved in Donald Trump’s potential extradition if the former president is indicted by the Manhattan district attorney.
“I have no interest in getting involved in some type of manufactured circus by some Soros DA,” said DeSantis, making a reference to billionaire donor George Soros’s support of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. “He’s trying to do a political spectacle … I’ve got real issues I’ve got to deal with here in the state of Florida. We’re not getting involved in it in any way."
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