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() — Former President Donald Trump has been indicted on 37 charges related to classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago. He’s also leading the race for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. Will the indictment slow his campaign?
Legally speaking, there’s nothing to stop someone from running for president while charged with or convicted of a crime. There’s also nothing that stops someone from serving as president while charged or convicted, though it’s unclear how a president would run the country if they were serving time in prison.
There are also no laws that would cut someone’s prison time short if they were elected. However it is possible that, were Trump to be elected while still in litigation, Justice Department officials could drop the charges to avoid prosecuting a sitting president.
Politically, Trump has successfully mined his indictment in New York for fundraising purposes, getting a boost in donations after the news broke. But there’s a difference between the primary and the election.
political contributor Johanna Maska noted that it isn’t just Republican voters who are paying close attention to the indictment and trial.
“It’s those swing voting, independent voters that are going to eventually need to show up for anyone to win, who are paying attention to this,” Maska said.
Maska said it’s not just Trump who may find the indictment to be a liability when it comes to the general election. A number of Republican candidates have already defended Trump and they will likely have to defend those statements in the general election.
“If Republicans are not careful on how they respond, and professional on how they respond now, those things will absolutely make them their way into the general election,” she said.