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Trump's NYC hush-money trial: What to watch for

Trump's NYC hush-money trial: What to watch for
Trump hush-money trial: What to watch out for | GZERO US Politics

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, DC, shares his perspective on US politics.

This is what we are watching in US Politics this week: Trump's trials.

Former President Trump faces or faced six civil or criminal actions against him in 2024, an election year. Two of which, civil finds that he was already found liable for. He's had to pay significant sums of money. Two of which, a case in Georgia and one in Florida, are very unlikely to start in this year, and one of which could start later this summer, this federal trial against Trump for election interference in Washington, DC. The final trial is set to begin next week. A trial in Manhattan for business records frauds related to hush money payments he made to a woman he was having an affair with before the 2016 election.

The key witness in this trial is Michael Cohen, Trump's former attorney, who Trump's going to try to discredit the testimony of by saying, “He's a liar, he's out for publicity. But the evidence against Trump is pretty damning here. There's almost no, it sure looks like he committed this crime. However, the allegations will have to be proven in court. Trump could win this case and the jury could decide to throw out the corroborating evidence. There's a lot of ways this could still go in Trump's favor. And if it does, that will be a significant win for Trump, because a significant portion of the electorate is telling pollsters today that if Trump is found guilty of a crime before the election, they would be less likely to vote for him.

Trump support drops by about ten percentage points in a New York Times poll from earlier in the year, based on whether or not he's found guilty. And these are really high stakes, drama for Trump. One of the key political inoculates Trump has is that the trial could be over quickly. He also is going to make the case that this is a politically motivated witch hunt and that Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan DA, is out to get him and stop him and undermine him because he's a Democrat. That message is certainly resonating with Republicans. The key question for Trump's election campaign is, “Does that message resonate with independents, or do they continue to see the criminal charges against Trump as being disqualifying?”

The trial starts next week. We'll find out what happens.


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