Trump Rekindles Voter Fraud Lies After Indictment – ​​NBC New York (47)

NEW YORK — From a legal standpoint, the most important words former President Donald Trump said last week following being charged with 34 counts by the Manhattan district attorney were “not guilty.” But for politics, the most significant were “electoral interference.”

Repeating those words, which have been echoed by other leading Republicans, Trump showed how he intends to turn his historic position as the first former president to be indicted for criminal offenses to his advantage. He is a new example of a practice continued during his political career: claiming without evidence that the elections are rigged once morest him.

After his first court appearance in the case in New York, the first of several legal proceedings he faces, Trump listed the various investigations once morest him, calling them “enormous” attempts to interfere with the 2024 election.

“Our justice system has gone lawless,” Trump said at an event with supporters at his Florida home of Mar-a-Lago. “They are using it now, along with everything else, to win elections.”

Trump has expressed some version of those claims in at least 20 social media posts since March 3, most in the past two weeks as a Manhattan jury appeared to be wrapping up its case and preparing to indict the former president.

Trump announced his new campaign for the White House shortly following the midterm elections in November, in what some people in his circle saw as an attempt to stop several investigations that revolve around his person.

TRUMP’S ROUTINE TACTIC

Claiming an election is being stolen from him is a routine Trump tactic, despite a lack of evidence to back up his claims. When running for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, Trump blamed fraud for his loss in the Iowa caucuses. When he won the White House that November but lost the popular vote, he said the only reason he fell behind in that category was because immigrants without residence permits had voted. A committee he formed to find voter fraud was disbanded without finding any evidence to support his argument.

In 2020, Trump began claiming that the election would be rigged months before voting began. He criticized efforts to ease restrictions on voting by mail during the coronavirus pandemic and expanded on those allegations following losing the election to claim that he actually won it. Those lies led to the January 6, 2021 assault on the United States Capitol.

Federal and state officials and Trump’s own appointed attorney general have said there is no credible evidence that the 2020 vote was compromised. The former president’s fraud allegations were also flatly rejected in court, including by Trump-appointed judges.



Rafael Pujols with the details.

Trump is behaving like a politician in legal trouble, said Steven Levitsky, a Harvard political scientist.

“He is certainly not the first politician to be prosecuted – sometimes fairly, sometimes not – to play the political victim card,” Levitsky said.

The political scientist, co-author of the book “How Democracies Die” (“How democracies die”), said that several former presidents of other countries affirmed when they were prosecuted that it was all a plot to thwart future elections. More recently, that was the complaint of former Brazilian President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva following his imprisonment before the 2018 elections. Lula was freed by his country’s Supreme Court and regained the presidency in a vote last October.



Rogelio Mora-Tagle was in court and explained what former President Donald Trump said to the judge.

What is striking in Trump’s case, however, is that his own party is repeating claims of stolen elections ahead of the next campaign. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said last month that he had instructed party committee chairs to “investigate whether federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.” .

“For a whole party to continue in this vein is unusual,” Levitsky said.

THE INVESTIGATIONS FACING TRUMP

The charges filed last week in New York stem from payments by Trump to his lawyer at the time, Michael Cohen, in the final days of his 2016 presidential campaign to silence porn actress Stormy Daniels, with whom he was allegedly in a relationship. extramarital. Even some Trump critics believe the charges push the limits of New York law.

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The Manhattan case builds on prosecutors’ claim that Trump falsified his company documents to make payments and conceal a potentially damaging story during his campaign, which they portrayed as an illegal attempt by Trump to try to influence the election. .

The former president is also in legal trouble over other investigations, two of which are related to his attempts to interfere in the 2020 election.

Prosecutors in Georgia’s Fulton County are investigating a January 2021 call from Trump to the state’s top election official asking him to “find” enough votes to declare Trump the winner in the state. The US Department of Justice has also opened an inquiry with a special federal investigator into Trump’s attempts to reverse his 2020 presidential defeat.



David Rodríguez and Darling Burdiez with the details.

In addition, the former president is engaged in an investigation with a special federal investigator into his handling of classified documents at his Florida property.

When Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was asked at a news conference Tuesday if the timing of moving forward in the case was a political issue, he replied that “I file cases when they’re ready.”

Bragg’s office declined to comment on Trump’s remarks regarding “election interference,” as did the Justice Department.

CRITICS WARN FALSE CLAIMS COULD HARM DEMOCRACY

Critics warn that Trump is once once more sowing suspicions of fraud that might harm democracy. “We’ve already seen this movie,” Joanna Lydgate, CEO of States United Action, which monitors politicians who embrace Trump’s election lies, said in a statement. “We know this is dangerous because we all saw what happened on January 6.”

Trump has routinely dismissed such warnings, incorporating his legal troubles into three-year-old false accusations that his departure from the White House was due to Democratic Party wrongdoing.

At his first campaign rally in Waco, Texas, a few days before his indictment in Manhattan, Trump lashed out at all the investigations, saying his opponents were using the investigations “because it’s harder for them to stuff ballot boxes, which they did a lot of.” .

“The new weapon used by out-of-control deranged Democrats to rig elections is to criminally investigate a candidate,” he said.

Trump and other Republicans have contradicted themselves at times, condemning the investigations as an attempt to hurt Trump while predicting they will help him return to the White House.

“I think you’re going to see his numbers go up in the polls,” New York Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, one of the president’s biggest supporters in the House of Representatives, said last month at a party conference last month. “He has never been in a stronger position.” Last week she condemned the charges as “unprecedented election interference.”

Aaron Scherb, director of legislative affairs at Common Cause, who has long criticized Trump’s allegations of election rigging, noted that all the cases once morest the former president began long before he began his new campaign.

“No one is above the law, not even former presidents, and running for president cannot and should not serve as a shield for misconduct,” Scherb said.

Riccardi reported from Denver. Associated Press writer Farnoush Amiri in Washington contributed to this report.

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