Trump indicted: what comes next?
Donald Trump has become the first former president of the US to be indicted on felony charges. The New York court responsible for the case is expected to summon him on Tuesday in connection with the hush money affair involving ex-porn star Stormy Daniels and read out the charges. The trial revolves around the question of whether the money paid in this context constitutes illegal campaign financing. The press is worried that the indictment might work in the defendant’s favour.
It is by no means clear that this indictment will really hurt Trump and put off his supporters, The Economist warns:
“Anyone who thinks now is the moment when he finally gets his comeuppance will be sorely disappointed. If Mr Trump is to be prosecuted, it should be for something that cannot be dismissed as a technicality, and where the law is clearer. The Manhattan DA’s case looks like a mistake.”
On the way up again
Trump is already benefiting, observes Les Echos:
“There was no better way to lift Trump back into the saddle. While such an indictment would doom the presidential candidate in other countries, it creates the ideal starting point for Trump to retake the White House. It returns him to a role in which he excels: that of the victim against whom the judges, the media and more generally the ‘system’ are lashing out. Over the month in which he’s been complaining about his legal troubles he’s regained eight percentage points among Republican voters, according to a recent poll. ... Donald Trump promised ‘total war’, ‘death’ and ‘destruction’ if indicted. Here we are.”
Charges must be watertight
Kleine Zeitung warns:
“This case against the ex-president will further divide the already fractured US political landscape. The rifts will become deeper, the confrontations between the different social classes will intensify. There is no telling what could happen if even the smallest point of doubt, loopholes or even mistakes were to emerge in the indictment. The charges must be absolutely watertight. Otherwise the country could be left divided irrevocably and Donald Trump will emerge as a martyr.”
Doing nothing is the riskiest course
The law must be respected even if the indictment initially benefits Trump in political terms, Dagens Nyheter stresses:
“He will be constantly in the spotlight. That’s a disturbing thought, but it can’t be helped. One can question the role of political parties in the appointment of key posts in the US legal system, one can warn of the potentially disastrous political consequences and point out that the indictment seems to be on a weak footing. But what’s the alternative? Not to prosecute Trump because he’s politically powerful? That idea should be even more frightening. Justice must take its course.”