Will Trump’s Indictments Change Anything?

Donald Trump. Photo via Getty Images.

Donald Trump is no stranger to public scrutiny. He is also notorious for being caught in the middle of an array of scandals, both public and private. This year, the 45th president of the United States made history as the first former president to be indicted on criminal charges. 

On April 3, Trump was indicted on 34 charges, each representing an alleged misclassified campaign expense, according to the Washington Post. In 2016, Trump is alleged to have paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels with campaign funds, which has been alleged as “hush money.” If convicted, Trump could possibly face up to four years prison time for each felony count. 

Two months later on June 9, 40 charges were brought against Trump for bringing classified documents from the White House to his estate in Florida. These charges consist of 32 counts, one for each document, of willful retention of national defense information, which is punishable by ten years in prison for each count; six counts related to obstruction, withholding, or altering documents, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison; and two counts related to false statements, with five years in prison for each count. 

On August 1, Trump was indicted once again for his involvement in the events of January 6, 2021. Four charges were brought against him, including one count of conspiracy to defraud the US government, one count of conspiracy against civil rights, and two counts of obstruction; these charges could result in 35 years total prison time.  

Trump’s most recent indictment was announced on August 4 after an investigation into the alleged election interference during the 2020 election in Georgia. In January 2021, as the 2020 election concluded, Trump, who was president at the time, said in a leaked phone call to Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger that he wanted to “find 11,780 votes.” This call, which Trump refers to as “a perfect phone call,” has been the basis of the Georgia investigation. 18 others, including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, have also been charged. If convicted, Trump could face up to 20 years in prison. 

Trump can still run for president while being indicted, under investigation, during court proceedings, and even from prison. Much of Trump’s base consists of Americans who are staunch supporters of the Constitution, free and fair elections, and law enforcement, so why is it that they can simultaneously support a former president who is seemingly against all of these principles? Trump’s public ideology is inherently contradictory to his criminal actions that are being revealed in these four recent indictments.  

Contrary to popular belief, primarily among Trump’s supporters, Trump’s criminal actions are not merely “questioning an election” or practicing freedom of speech. There is no evidence that confirms that the 2020 election was in any way fraudulent. Trump’s language was dangerous, and it continues to be so as he pedals more falsehoods about election fraud despite his indictments for doing so. 

Although he is still allowed to run for office, why is a large portion of conservative Americans set on this particular candidate? Several republican presidential candidates are nothing more than spoofs of Trump, attempting to replicate his on-screen charm and likability, but most are without the criminal baggage that follows Trump. While arguably none of these candidates would be favorable to a great fraction of Americans, the question remains: Why Trump? Is it his steadfast disregard for American law? Is it his ability to rhetorically appeal to blue-collar workers and lower-class Americans while simultaneously cutting taxes for America’s most wealthy? Is it his blatant disregard and apathy toward the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct? 

Perhaps, instead, it is his inability to care about the potential and inevitable repercussions of his actions, which is arguably a trait he shares with much of his voter base. Nonetheless, Trump is seemingly here to stay, despite having a whopping 91 charges against him, no less at the start of the 2024 election season. Trump is set to go to trial for his respective indictments between October 2023 and early 2024. In the meantime, we can hope that new evidence will arise that will change the minds of some of America’s most patriotic citizens. 

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