The indictment will not change our minds

  • Trump may soon face indictment in New York for paying “low money” to Stormy Daniels.
  • Insider asked all five GOP senators who endorsed Trump in 2024 if the impeachment would change their support.
  • “He gets blamed every time he flies over a state,” quipped Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.

Donald Trump could soon make history as the first former president to be criminally indicted. If that happens, he has vowed to stay in the 2024 presidential race.

And Republican senators who have already backed his third bid for the White House appear to be sticking by him regardless.

“He gets blamed every time he flies over a state,” quipped Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama. “They’ve been after him, the media has been after him, since he’s been running and it’s not going to change anything for me. I mean, it’s — we’ve got a lot more problems than that.”

Since Trump announced his 2024 candidacy in November, five senators — Tuberville, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, JD Vance of Ohio, Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma and Eric Schmitt of Missouri — have pledged support them for his candidacy.

Except for Graham, each of them are first-year lawmakers who won the 2022 Senate primary with the help of the former president’s endorsements.

Insider spoke with four of the five senators Thursday on Capitol Hill about a possible indictment of the former president, an increasingly likely scenario as a New York grand jury hears evidence related to the effort to pay off adult film actress Stormy Daniels during Trump’s first presidential run in 2016 to prevent her from going public about an alleged affair.

Trump claimed the payments to then-lawyer Michael Cohen were for legal fees and denounced the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation as politically vindictive and unpersuasive — defenses echoed by some of the senators.

“They’ve been saying this for a long time,” Mullin said, seemingly expressing skepticism that there could be an indictment. “Listen, everything they keep going after the president with is political, it’s always been political.”

Schmidt, for his part, abruptly declined to comment when asked about the possibility of indicting Trump.

“I’ll go back to my office, thank you,” he said as he boarded a train in the Capitol basement.

Vance — a vocal critic of Trump who reversed himself in the midst of his bid for an Ohio Senate seat — indicated he was unaware of a looming indictment but dismissed it when informed.

“No, I don’t think the Stormy Daniels case is going to change my opinion of him,” Vance said.

Insider has reached out to Graham’s office for comment and will update this story if we hear back.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has been investigating Trump’s role in the hush-hush payment during his 2016 campaign. Cohen previously admitted and served prison time for facilitating the $130,000 payment to Daniels in exchange for her silence about the alleged her relationship with Trump.

Cohen claimed that Trump approved the payment and told investigators that Trump later returned him with checks for $35,000 that Cohen claims was reimbursement for the hush money.

Trump, however, denied having a relationship with Daniels, claimed the payments to Cohen were for legal fees and denounced the investigation as a “fraud.”

Trump’s lawyers are preparing for the DA to charge Trump with falsifying business records in an attempt to prove those payments were hidden campaign expenses, Insider’s Laura Italiano reported.

Trump's personal check for $35,000, made out to his then-lawyer Michael Cohen, and key items in

Trump’s $35,000 personal check made out to his then-lawyer Michael Cohen and key evidence in the “hash money” scheme being investigated by Manhattan prosecutors.

Oversight Committee of the Parliament

A star witness, Cohen appeared Wednesday before a Manhattan grand jury that followed evidence in the case to give his closing testimony, and Trump was called to testify but declined — signs that an indictment against the former president may be imminent.

The senators’ comments on Thursday signal that Trump’s staunchest supporters are unlikely to be bothered by the legal drama surrounding him as the former president tries to fend off rivals for the GOP presidential nomination. A Quinnipiac University poll on Wednesday found Trump currently leading Florida Gov. Ron DeSandis, who is widely expected to launch a campaign, by more than 10 percentage points.

Trump has also recently suggested that an indictment could be politically beneficial to him — a notion Tuberville agreed with on Thursday.

“Yeah, he probably could,” he said. “He’s getting his name out there.”

Trump is under investigation in a few other high-profile criminal cases, including the Fulton County, Georgia investigation into his and his allies’ efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results.

US Special Counsel Jack Smith is also overseeing the Justice Department’s investigations into Trump’s role in the 2020 election dispute and the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot, as well as the possible mishandling of classified documents recovered from his estate in Mar-a-Lago. Florida.

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