Trump against American justice
Will Americans elect a president who will rule from prison? In which case, could Donald Trump pardon himself? These questions that a few years ago would have seemed far-fetched are no longer so.
Even if he were found guilty of one of the charges against him and ended up in prison, Trump could run for president. He is currently innocent of the crimes with which he is charged.
But indictment is a serious step in the US criminal process. No doubt this process was followed scrupulously, given that the person targeted is the former president of the United States.
Trump believes he can use the accusations against him to his advantage . The Republican Party unites behind him. Even his closest rival for the nomination, Ron DeSantis, supports him in this cause.
1. What is Trump accused of?
The charges against Trump are not yet known. However, Trump would face around 30 charges. They would be linked to a payment of 130,000 US dollars paid in 2016 to the pornographic actress Stormy Daniel, in exchange for his silence on an extramarital affair with her, 10 years earlier. Trump could be accused of concealing that it was an election expense in addition to falsifying his company's accounting books to hide this election crime. He faces four years in prison. Trump is in the crosshairs of justice for many other cases. These include: hiding documents at Mar-a-Lago, including 100 top secret documents; inciting an insurrection on January 6, 2021; attempting to bribe an election official.
2. How does an indictment work in the United States?
A grand jury decides on the formal indictment of people. It is generally made up of 23 people before whom the prosecutor explains the reasons justifying a formal accusation. There is no judge and the jury decides the impeachment by simple majority. The defense has limited rights in the process. In this case, Trump sent attorney Robert Costello to testify on his behalf.
3. Why is Trump playing the political card?
Trump has few legal arguments to make. Accounting manipulations, in particular to cover an undeclared expense, are taken very seriously by the judiciary.
4. How is Trump dangerous for the judicial institution?
The American justice system is supposed to be independent of political power. This is why Supreme Court justices are appointed for life, even though their appointment process has become extremely political. The crime Trump is expected to be charged with on Tuesday is not strictly political in nature, but criminal in nature. However, Trump is trying to discredit the justice system by suggesting that it is subject to political leaders. It's a pure lie, but many Americans will believe it.
5. Is it dangerous for other institutions?
Trump takes up the same insurrectionary logic that he used on December 6, 2021. He calls on the population to revolt against institutions that would be corrupted and in the hands of its opponents. In reality, it follows the logic of dictators who, by manipulating part of their population, circumvent institutions or change the constitution to remain in power. That the main leaders of the Republican Party blindly support him shows how mean these people are ready to conquer power.