Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States dealt a heavy blow at Trump’s prospects on his post-presidency legal challenges, as it blocked a last minute petition from the former president’s legal team to block the delivery of his tax returns to New York state prosecutors who are investigating the possible involvement of Trump in cases of insurance and bank fraud.
New York investigators are looking into the financial dealings of many of Trump’s buildings (including Trump tower, according to the Wall Street Journal) in the island of Manhattan. The former president was able to avoid those probes while he was in office as he was immune from judicial investigation, however, as Trump is no longer president that’s not the case anymore.
The Office of the Former President condemned the court’s decision the same day, saying that they should have “never allowed this ‘fishing expedition’ to continue”, referred to the investigation as the “greatest political Witch Hunt in the history of our country”, and said that it was a probe directed and organized by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a “reported enemy of mine”.
This decision is only the beginning of what would most likely be a contentious and extensive legal war fought between Trump and some state and federal investigators. A fight that will be of incredible signifacne for the future of the GOP, the conservative movement, and the country.
Will Trump survive the incoming barrage of legal challenges?
Donald Trump will want to have a significant role to play in the immediate future of the Republican Party, a contest from which he appears to be winning, as he continues to be very popular within the GOP base, illustrated by the thunderous applauses he received during CPAC. Nevertheless, besides from his immediate political obstacles, Trump’s major obstacle of his post presidency are the judicial investigations (both federal and at the state level) that are either undergoing or being planned at the moment.
The former president has a good hand to defeat those in the Establishment who want to relegate him within the party, however, his fight against various civil and criminal investigations would be far tougher for him and could heavily affect his future, both politically and legally.
President Trump faces various legal troubles, both criminal and in the form of lawsuits. Besides the aforementioned New York case, he is also facing a potential investigation on his role on the Capitol riots, an official inquiry in Georgia over the controversial phone call Trump made to the Secretary of State, a paused lawsuit accusing Trump of illegally profiting from the 2017 inauguration, among many other possible investigations or lawsuits in the future.
The issue with these legal troubles is twofold: first, it could possibly endanger the legal panorama for the president, who is no longer shielded by executive immunity. Second, it will take away a lot of time and oxygen from Trump’s team, possibly having some damaging effect on his potential 2024 candidacy. Furthermore, any protracted legal battles or even indictments against Trump could damage his position with the general American public and even to the Trump brand as a whole.
Specially worrying are the political repercussions that the country might face if any of these investigations bring some heavy criminal or legal consequences to the former President. Any criminal charge brought against him will surely be highly controversial and will surely be seen as illegitimate or politically motivated by a significant portion of the population.
The courts could find themselves in a very difficult spot: in one side if they have to act if they consider there is enough evidence against Trump, on the other they know any move against him could diminish their legitimacy with the GOP base.
Of course, we don’t know how will these judicial and legal troubles end up going for Trump, he might be able to defeat or satisfactorily settle these cases in the courts. Nevertheless, it will be a sure headache for him to deal with this, as he charts his path for enhancing his political position within the GOP. Furthermore, his permanent ban from Twitter will, at least in the short term, make it more difficult for him to communicate directly with the public and would probably muddle his attempts at managing the media narrative around him.
The future of the former president remains uncertain. Will he be able to defeat all of these legal challenges and leave politically unscathed as he’s done before? Or will the compounded weight of the judicial troubles that he faces will make a 2024 return impossible? Well, the courts will let us know soon enough.