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How Trump’s Response to Criminal Charges is Reviving Election Lies

by Lucas Garcia
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Last week, former US President Donald Trump got charged with 34 crimes by the District Attorney of Manhattan. When presented with the charges, he responded with “Not Guilty”. But the most important thing for his political future is whether or not he interfered with his own election.

President Trump keeps saying that the election is being rigged against him, even though there is no proof of it. This is something that other top Republicans have taken up too. It shows how he is trying to use his first-ever criminal charges as an advantage in politics. He has been doing this kind of thing throughout his political career—claiming things without having any real evidence.

After appearing in court in New York and facing legal issues, Trump spoke to his supporters at his home Mar-a-Lago. He said that the investigations against him were ‘massive’ and an attempt to control the 2024 election. He also said that our justice system has become like lawless, because it is being used now just to win elections.

Donald Trump has posted something similar in his social media accounts around 20 times since March 3rd. Most of these posts were made in the last two weeks when the authorities were almost finished with their investigation against him. Trump announced that he would run for President again after the federal elections in November, possibly because he was afraid of being examined.

President Trump is known for accusing other people of stealing elections from him, even though no proof exists. In 2016 when he was competing for the Republican nomination, Trump said that he lost the Iowa caucuses because of fraud. Then when he won the election but not the most votes, he blamed it on illegal immigrants voting. The investigation assigned to uncover any evidence of his claim stopped without finding an answer.

In 2020, President Trump started to claim that the election was rigged several months before voting began. He tried to stop the voting process from being simpler because of the coronavirus pandemic, and after he lost the election, he still continued pretending that he had won it. This has led to an event on January 6th 2021 where a group of people attacked the US Capitol building.

The people in charge of the 2020 Election (like federal and state election officials) have all said that there’s no proof that this election was ‘tainted’ with bad behavior. Trump’s own attorney general agreed with all of the other people too. Plus, the courts rejected Trump’s claims about the fraud – even judges he chose himself!

Steven Levitsky, a political scientist from Harvard University, noticed that Donald Trump was acting like a politician who’d gotten into legal trouble.

Professor Levitsky said that many politicians have been charged with crimes, but some of them thought they were treated unfairly.

Levitsky wrote a book called “How Democracies Die”. He mentioned that some former presidents of other countries claimed they were put in jail or prosecuted before their elections so they wouldn’t win. This recently happened to Luis Inácio Lula Da Silva of Brazil. However, the Supreme Court decided to release him from jail and he ended up winning back the presidency!

President Trump’s party – which includes the Speaker of the House – believes that federal money is being used to influence elections and result in biased prosecutions. This has caused some people, including Levitsky, to be surprised as it is not something that normally happens.

Last week, President Trump faced charges in court in New York. This was because he had paid back his lawyer Michael Cohen for hush money that Cohen gave to adult movie actress Stormy Daniels. The payments were made during the last days of the 2016 presidential election season. Even though some people didn’t like Trump, they think it’s a bit extreme to charge him with breaking New York laws over this issue.

Prosecutors believe that Donald Trump broke the law while running for president when he changed business documents to hide a story that could have caused trouble in his campaign. He is also facing legal issues related to his attempts to influence the 2020 presidential election.

The prosecutors in Georgia are looking into a call made by President Trump in January where he asked the state’s top election officer to “find” votes to make him win. Also, the United States Justice Department began an investigation on how Trump attempted to change the results of the 2020 presidential election. On top of all this, there is an ongoing case against Trump for inappropriately handling secret documents at his home in Florida.

At a news conference on Tuesday, the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was asked if he was doing this case for political reasons. He said no and told them that he only brings cases when they are ready. Neither his office nor the Department of Justice (DOJ) commented on what President Trump had said about election interference.

Critics are saying that Donald Trump is repeating the same claims of fraud from before, which could lead to bad results for democracy. Joanna Lydgate, the head of States United Action (an organization that watches politicians who support Trump’s false election claims) said in a statement “We have seen this happen before which is why we know it can be dangerous – just look at what happened on January 6th”.

President Trump has ignored advice about the legal problems he is facing and instead often talks about made-up stories about how his opponents cheated to get rid of him. At a rally in Texas, shortly before he was indicted by the Manhattan court, Trump said that his opponents were investigating him because they couldn’t stuff the ballots with fake votes – like they had done many times before.

President Trump and other Republicans have said that Democrats are using a new tactic to try and win the election – investigating their candidate. They think this is wrong and could hurt the candidate, but they also believe it might help them get elected.

At a Republican Party meeting last month, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik predicted that President Trump’s poll ratings will go up. She also said that he is in the strongest position ever. Lastly, she criticized the charges against him as “intervention against the election”.

Aaron Scherb works at Common Cause, an organization that disagrees with Donald Trump’s ideas about vote rigging. According to Aaron, nobody is above the law – even former presidents and trying to become president again isn’t a valid excuse for wrong behavior.

___ Riccardi wrote about Denver and Farnoush Amiri from Washington gave help with the report.

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