May 21, 2024
Donald Trump using legal woes to raise big money for 2024 campaign

Donald Trump using legal woes to raise big money for 2024 campaign

He has fund-raised off his own impeachments. He has fund-raised off an FBI search of his home. And he has frequently fund-raised off the false voting fraud claims he loves to fan.

Now, facing a possible indictment in New York that would serve as an unheard-of rebuke to a former president, Donald Trump is returning to one of his favorite pages in his political playbook.

If Trump is indicted by a grand jury in the coming days or weeks, the former president may surrender in Manhattan having already secured a small silver lining: a campaign cash infusion that has accompanied his expected arrest.

A week ago, the 76-year-old Republican incorrectly predicted in a social media missive that he would be arrested last Tuesday, and urged his supporters to protest and “TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”

Former President Donald Trump speaks in Davenport, Iowa on March 13, 2023.

Trump, who has not yet been indicted in connection with payments to Stormy Daniels, coupled his weekend warning with a flurry of fund-raising emails seeking to cash in on the case and other criminal inquiries swirling around him.

“Barricades are being set up around Manhattan Criminal Court — as our nation awaits an announcement on whether President Donald J. Trump will be INDICTED despite having committed NO CRIME,” said a Tuesday email from a fund-raising committee supporting Trump’s latest run at the White House.

“Please make a contribution to stand with President Trump at this critical moment,” said the email, according to a copy logged on the Archive of Political Emails.

The push has padded Trump’s war chest after funding arrived at a drip early in his third presidential bid. His campaign told Fox News that it hauled in $1.5 million in grassroots funding in three days after the arrest prediction.

Doug Heye, a consultant and former Republican National Committee communications director, said the announcement and fund-raising push are “part and parcel” with the approach the 45th president has always taken to politics.

“He knows if he makes a bold pronouncement, that’s going to drive the news for several days, and yet again he’s been right,” Heye said, adding that “every aspect of Trump’s candidacy and presidency was monetized.”

In the past, Trump has raised money off the FBI documents search at his Mar-a-Lago resort, his two impeachments and baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election that he lost.

Former President Donald Trump greets guests following an event at the Adler Theatre on March 13, 2023 in Davenport, Iowa.

After the FBI search of Trump’s Florida estate last year, fund-raising pitches promptly landed in his supporters’ email boxes.

They arrived in capital letters, combative language and a furious frequency, presenting the sweep as “illegal and unconstitutional,” and plumping his war chest. In one five-hour stretch, seven separate fund-raising emails for Trump flashed across the internet.

In 2019, as Robert Mueller delivered testimony to Congress on his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump’s reelection campaign blasted out a text: “Let’s tell the Dems to end this WITCH HUNT by raising $2,000,000 in 24 HOURS!”

He even found a financial windfall in the “Access Hollywood” tape that revealed him bragging about grabbing women’s private parts. When The Washington Post reported the tape one month before the 2016 election, Trump raised a reported $11.5 million in a single day.

Trump’s latest attempt to turn scandal into a cash cow has not proved as successful. But Trump was struggling to raise $200,000 a day as recently as last summer, according to Bloomberg News, and the latest funding drive comes with the next election off in the distance.

Last week, Trump’s campaign told supporters in an email that a single donation in response to the Manhattan case could earn them a spot as a “FOUNDING DEFENDER of our beautiful America First movement.”

“So please, make a contribution of just $1 today,” said the Tuesday email, which baselessly portrayed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg as a tool of George Soros, the billionaire Democratic megadonor, and of a “cabal of Deep State globalists.”

Soros does not appear to have directly given campaign money to Bragg, a progressive Harvard-educated lawyer from Harlem, though he has broadly supported efforts to elect progressive prosecutors.

Spokesmen for Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The former president is not the only Republican seeking to cash in on Bragg’s criminal probe into the former president.

In New York, upstate Rep. Elise Stefanik — a close Trump ally — sent a fund-raising email Tuesday accusing Bragg of carrying out a “never-ending witch hunt,” and urging donors to contribute to an “OFFICIAL TRUMP DEFENSE FUND as soon as possible.”

FILE - Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., speaks at DMI Companies in Monongahela, Pa., Sept. 23, 2022.

A Thursday email from Trump’s fund-raising arm was signed by Stefanik, the third-ranking House Republican. The email urged supporters to sign a petition demanding that Bragg answer for what it described as the “greatest political persecution in our nation’s history.”

Stefanik’s campaign did not immediately reply to requests for comment. She is seen as a possible running mate for Trump, should he win the GOP nomination for president.

Another campaign email, signed by Trump, presented the possibility of an indictment as a benefit to his 2024 chances.

“George Soros’ goal of having his corrupt Manhattan prosecutor possibly ARREST me for committing no crime at all has already BACKFIRED,” said the email, which added that Trump’s internal polling has him 6 points ahead of President Biden.

Some recent public polling has shown Trump ahead of Biden; other polling has found Biden leading Trump.

“Now is the time to show the radical Democrats, the Deep State, and Soros’ globalist cabal that We The People will NEVER SURRENDER,” said the email. “Please make a contribution.”

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