Trump’s Escalating Legal Battles: Potential Bias and Electoral Interference Charges Looming

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The ongoing dispute between special counsel Jack Smith and former President Donald Trump continues to escalate. Despite already charging Trump with four criminal counts relating to attempts to overthrow the 2020 election, and thirty-plus other counts over the hoarding of classified documents in Florida, Smith’s investigation seems far from over.

Fresh details emerged regarding the continued investigation into electoral interference, particularly focusing on the sources of funds used for breaching voting equipment in several states that were won by President Joe Biden. Smith recently asserted in a new court filing that Trump’s daily public statements could potentially bias the jury pool in Washington. This largely comes as a sign of increasing friction between the counsel and Trump’s camp, anticipating their scheduled trial just before Super Tuesday in March.

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The scenario is unusual, primarily due to Trump’s dual role as the defendant in this legal battle as well as a frontrunner for the GOP in the upcoming elections. Besides, his high-profile status might offer him unrestricted liberty of expression, which a regular defendant might not enjoy.

However, Smith’s probe is not the sole investigation into the aftermath of the 2020 election. Legal developments in Fulton County, Georgia, signal another impending trial for Trump and 18 co-defendants. Add to that the likelihood of a separately televised hearing for the case, hosted by a judge on Wednesday. This could help dissect potential issues that might influence how the racketeering case proceeds.

Leading on with the controversy in Georgia, where Trump’s election interference efforts had a significant impact, the former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, is still uncertain about the advancement of his trial into federal court. If it were to shift to federal court, the charges could potentially be dismissed, creating a precedent that might, later on, be repeated by ex-President Trump, complicating District Attorney Fani Willis’ prosecution efforts.

Adding to this fallout, Enrique Tarrio, the former chairman of the far-right Proud Boys group, received his jail sentence, making it the longest yet regarding the January 6, 2021, attack on Congress from a mob supporting Trump. Members of this Far-right group, along with their leader, have already received their due sentencing, laying down the ongoing penalties for political violence following the 2020 election.

However, despite Trump’s escalating legal issues, it remains dubious whether the former president, responsible for an aggressive attack on America’s democratic election system, will effectively pay the price. This concern arises from the complex nature of holding someone like Trump accountable, especially as he gears up for a second, non-consecutive term. And yet, the division between political and legal accountability has never been more distinctive.

Public opinion sways significantly when it comes to Trump’s fitness to serve as president amid these charges. Many supporters believe that the allegations against Trump are irrelevant to his ability to serve as president, attributing the multiple charges to political manipulation of the justice system. This belief underscores Trump’s successful strategy to plant distrust in the nation’s electoral and justice systems, dating back to the beginning of his political career in 2016.

Republicans have also criticized the leniency of the Justice Department towards Hunter Biden, President Biden’s son, regarding tax charges and allegations of exploiting his proximity to power for personal gain. They argue this as proof of the justice system’s bias against Trump.

With these shockwaves reverberating from the Trump years, American democracy and governance face a substantial impact. Trump’s return to the presidential run and his possible conviction by Election Day make the coming year seem convoluted. Trump’s criminal liability might pose challenges for his return to the presidency in a nation already divided through the middle.

On the other hand, Trump continues to stoke the fires of this controversy by criticizing Smith, identifying him as “deranged” and accusing him of exhibiting “unchecked and insane aggression.” This tension is further inflamed by Smith’s rebuttal, accusing the ex-president of making daily prejudiced statements to influence the jury pool.

In this context, Smith may still pose the most significant threat to Trump, being the prosecutor most likely to proceed with a case against Trump early next year. After all, his team stated in a recent filing that the public held a “strong interest” in a speedy trial against an ex-president alleged to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 election.

However, the ongoing probe continues to cause unease in Trump’s circle, particularly due to Smith’s record of following up on cases, even post-indictment. Several additional charges were filed against Trump last July over supposed retention of national defense information and suspected obstruction in the documents case. This trend could hint at more charges looming in the horizon.