An indictment of former President Donald Trump could blow back and help Trump in his bid to win back the Oval Office, some of his allies say.
“This is a huge tipping point and turning point in America that has to be pulled back, and we cannot allow for our justice system to be weaponized,” Jenna Ellis, who represented the 2020 Trump campaign, told The Epoch Times.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk had earlier predicted that Trump could win by a landslide if he does get arrested next week, amid the Manhattan District Attorney Office’s hush money probe—a scenario Ellis believes is possible.
“American people are so outraged at how law enforcement and the institutions of America are being weaponized against conservatives and Republicans, especially Donald Trump and his allies,” said Ellis, who suggests that the move is a bid by Democrats to “drain [Trump’s] war chest because they know that mounting a defense will be very costly.”
“I think that there is a genuinely good possibility that Trump will gain a lot of followers who are sick and tired of seeing justice perverted in this manner.”
Before 2016, she said, a looming indictment would have marked the end of someone’s presidential candidacy, “just because the American people believed in the legitimacy of law enforcement and the legitimacy of an indictment.”
“But here, I think that virtually everyone who is paying attention, and certainly anyone on the Republican and conservative side that cares about due process and justice, knows that this is a political tactic. And so they’re not going to care.”
Ellis was not alone in thinking that a possible arrest—which Trump suggests would happen on Tuesday, March 21, citing “illegal leaks”—would make Trump’s 2024 presidential bid easier rather than harder.
“If the Manhattan DA indicts President Trump, he will ultimately win even bigger than he is already going to win,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) wrote on Twitter.
Hogan Gidley, a former White House spokesman under Trump, cited polls following the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago that showed an uptick in Trump’s popularity.
“Donald Trump is the voice of the American people. And people in this country get really angry when they are falsely accused, and when they are targeted by a weaponized federal government,” he told The Epoch Times. “So they will rally in support of someone who is falsely accused, whether that be someone from main street or someone from Mar-a-Lago.”
The Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s probe relates to a $130,000 hush money payment to adult actress Stormy Daniels. The office didn’t respond to The Epoch Times’s request for comment by press time.
While an indictment is very likely, a conviction would be a lot harder because it requires showing that “Donald Trump intended to commit a crime,” Texas GOP strategist Brendan Steinhauser told The Epoch Times.
He, like others, agrees that the development will likely rally Trump’s base, although for moderates, the controversies around Trump have led a subsect of Republicans to want to “turn the page on the Trump era,” he said, pointing to support for Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, Trump’s strongest 2024 GOP rival.
The Call to Protest
Trump, on his social media site Truth Social, has called for supporters to protest and “take our nation back,” drawing criticism that he was inciting violence reminiscent of the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.
But Ellis argued that those remarks were probably “an emotional reaction,” even if not the “wisest move.”
“If we’ve learned one thing from Jan. 6, it’s how quickly these protests can get out of control, and how quickly the Democrats in the federal government can weaponize protests even against the American people, and so I think that we need to be very, very cautious,” she said. “Certainly people can stand up for President Trump, they can support him. But I don’t personally believe that protesting in the streets is a responsible response.”
Steinhauser similarly said Trump would want to see violence in the streets.
“I don’t think another January 6 type event helps Donald Trump at all, I think it hurts him,” he said. “But I think if they go out there and protest peacefully and say, ‘Hey, this is politically motivated, this is a witch hunt,’” they may be able to help convince enough Republicans of the prosecution’s politically charged nature to help him win the presidential nomination.