Trump's court drama sets up primary collision
Former President Trump's court drama will run right into primary season.
What's happening: Trump's next Manhattan court date is Dec. 4, and prosecutors asked the judge to set a trial in January — the month before the Iowa caucuses.
- Charges in two other probes targeting Trump — an election-interference investigation in Georgia, and the federal investigation of his handling of classified documents — are possible as early as summer, if prosecutors want to complete the trials before the 2024 election.
Why it matters: Trump could be facing a criminal trial — maybe more than one — just as the presidential campaign heats up.
State of play: Yesterday's indictment is strengthening Trump so far in the Republican primary — so much so that some rivals may wind up gun-shy about entering.
- But the months of legal drama could further discredit him with general-election swing voters.
Between the lines: The lengthy schedule laid out yesterday by Judge Juan Merchan raises the possibility that the New York trial might not even be the first one Trump faces.
- The Justice Department's probe into Trump’s handling of classified documents — potentially the most serious legal threat he’s facing — appears to be gathering steam and turning up new evidence.
- The Justice Department also is investigating Trump's role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
- Fulton County, Georgia, prosecutors are weighing whether to file charges after a grand jury investigation into Trump's alleged efforts to overturn Georgia's election results in 2020.
Any combination of charges, motions, hearings and trials in those cases would keep Trump preoccupied — and fuel accusations that any prosecutions of him heading into an election year were motivated by politics.
- Trump's supporters have expressed confidence that he’ll be able to paint himself as the victim of an overzealous prosecutor in the New York case, and turn criminal charges into a net political positive.
But multiple trials, in multiple jurisdictions and for multiple alleged crimes, would make that a harder sell — even before accounting for the risk of a potential guilty verdict.
Go deeper: Read the indictment and Statement of Facts
- Listen to the Axios Today podcast, where host Niala Boodhoo and Mike Allen discuss the historic nature of former President Trump’s indictment.