Trump's courtroom and campaign calendar collision is here
Zoom in: Don't let the bravado and punchy fundraising appeals fool you: The demands of the GOP primary and Trump's court dates have amounted to a "scheduling nightmare," Trump senior adviser Susie Wiles told reporters last month.
- "There's no way to sugarcoat that," Wiles acknowledged.
- That was before Maine and Colorado took the stunning step of removed Trump from the ballot — triggering a new set of appeals and further jamming up the former president's calendar.
Driving the news: The Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear oral arguments on Feb. 8 — the same day as Nevada's Republican caucuses — to review the Colorado Supreme Court's decision to remove Trump from the ballot under the 14th Amendment's insurrection clause.
- Trump is also waiting for an appeal to play out on the same matter in Maine, after the state's secretary of state ruled that the former president is disqualified from the ballot over his actions relating to Jan. 6.
The big picture: Trump's first criminal trial isn't expected to start until early March, but he's spending the final week before the Iowa caucuses splitting his time between fighting legal challenges and criss-crossing the state to shore up support.
Just look at the next 10 days alone:
- Jan. 9: Trump is expected to be in Washington, D.C. for arguments over his claim of presidential immunity in his federal 2020 election interference case.
- Jan. 10: Trump is expected to sit for a Fox News town hall on Jan. 10 in Des Moines, Iowa, counterprogramming a CNN debate in the same city between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.
- Jan. 11: Trump is planning to be in New York for the start of closing arguments in the civil fraud trial over his family business practices.
- Jan. 15: The Iowa caucuses take place.
- Jan. 16: Another trial to determine damages in writer E. Jean Carroll's defamation case against Trump is slated to begin.
Between the lines: Trump has made the most of his courtroom experiences, juicing his fundraising on hearing days and capitalizing on TV cameras outside the courthouse to attack prosecutors.
- But the frustration has at times been hard to ignore.
- "I'd rather be right now in Iowa. I'd rather be in New Hampshire or South Carolina or Ohio or a lot of other places," Trump said in October after he appeared at the Manhattan courthouse for his civil fraud trial.
What to watch: Trump's courtroom collision will become more defined and dramatic as his criminal proceedings ramp up.
- Trump's legal team has repeatedly tried to delay his four criminal trials until after the election, with mixed success so far.
- The trial in his federal election interference case is currently set to start on March 4, one day before Super Tuesday, when 15 states and American Samoa will hold primaries or caucuses.
The bottom line: One of the many ways in which this primary season is so unique is that physical campaigning ultimately may not matter: Trump leads by about 50 points in national polls and 30 points in Iowa.