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What Trump's arraignment means for his 2024 election bid

Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday.
Bryan Woolston
/
AP
Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday.

Fresh off a historic arraignment, former President Donald Trump is still very much running to regain office in 2024. This is the lay of the land for the weeks and months ahead.

Who is he? A former U.S. president, a famed businessman, and someone currently facing trial for criminal charges (you know the story by now).

  • Today, he surrendered himself to a New York criminal court, where he pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts.
  • As supporters of the former president protest at Collect Pond Park, NYPD place barricades separating anti-Trump protestors from supporters.
    / José A. Alvarado Jr. for NPR
    /
    José A. Alvarado Jr. for NPR
    As supporters of the former president protest at Collect Pond Park, NYPD place barricades separating anti-Trump protestors from supporters.

    What's the big deal? Well, there's plenty to say about the significance of a former U.S. president facing criminal charges. But there are two main factors playing out here in real time: one is legal, and one is political, but both will help give some clarity about how Trump's political aspirations may fare in 2024 and beyond.

    Speaking to Morning Edition, NPR's senior political correspondent Domenico Montanaro has some analysis on the politics of it all:

    On how the trial is impacting his campaign efforts:

    We've seen this show before with Trump. He's been impeached twice. It didn't really change anything. Not much moves the needle when it comes to Trump's base, and he's trying to capitalize here. He's been raising money off of this. His campaign says Trump has raised more than $7 million in the few days after the indictment. He's predictably making a pretty big show of it.

    On support from fellow Republicans:

    It's really put them in a box. Trump has really gotten them to line up lockstep behind him. Republicans on Capitol Hill mostly blasted this New York prosecutor [Alvin Bragg]. They're echoing Trump's language that this is politically motivated. Now, it's not everyone in the Republican Party. We've seen a thin slice speak out against Trump, but very few. We had one new candidate get in the race who denounced Trump, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. He says the criminal investigations against Trump, when taken together, are very serious and that Trump should not be running.

    On trials impacting Trump's odds in 2024:

    There are three entities conducting four investigations — this one in New York, two by the federal government, one in Georgia related to Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election. But take this for context about how Trump is doing with Republicans. Sarah Longwell is a Republican pollster. She runs these focus groups of Republican voters, and she found, for the first time this past week, that no one in the focus group said that they would vote for DeSantis — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis — over Trump. So Trump really does appear to be strengthening his grip on the base.

    Supporters of the former president protest at Collect Pond Park on the morning of Trump's surrender at the Manhattan Criminal Courts Building in Manhattan, New York.
    / José A. Alvarado Jr. for NPR
    /
    José A. Alvarado Jr. for NPR
    Supporters of the former president protest at Collect Pond Park on the morning of Trump's surrender at the Manhattan Criminal Courts Building in Manhattan, New York.

    What next? Well, like Domenico said, this is one of several criminal investigations Trump is facing. Here are the others:

  • There are a pair of investigations from the U.S Department of Justice: One into Trump's handling of classified documents after the end of his term as president; and another into his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
  • There's also the investigation in Georgia, which centers on the actions of Trump and his allies after the 2020 presidential election, as they pressured state officials to undo his loss in the peach state.
  • On those 34 felony counts, the prosecution said it hoped to have a trial in January 2024. The defense has asked for spring of 2024.
  • Learn more:

  • Follow the live blog for the blow-by-blow of the historic day
  • Even if Trump gets a mug shot, we may not see it. Here's why
  • What happens after Trump's indictment? Here are some of the logistical considerations
  • Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Manuela López Restrepo
    Manuela López Restrepo is a producer and writer at All Things Considered. She's been at NPR since graduating from The University of Maryland, and has worked at shows like Morning Edition and It's Been A Minute. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat Martin.