Allies Turn Their Backs To ‘Mob Boss’ Trump
The MAGA camp has long been associated with an unwavering demand for loyalty, but recent legal troubles have caused some within Trump’s circle to reconsider their allegiance, leading to fingers being pointed at the former president himself to defend their interests.
Four Criminal Trials
As reported by Politico, Trump is currently facing four impending criminal trials, and individuals within his inner circle, including aides, allies, and codefendants, are starting to implicate him in their legal proceedings.
Pleading Not Guilty
Despite Trump pleading not guilty to all charges, key figures within his orbit are now distancing themselves from his actions.
In a notable instance last month, an IT staffer at Mar-a-Lago reversed his previous grand jury testimony in a classified documents case, implicating Donald Trump and others in obstruction of justice.
This change in testimony occurred after the staffer switched from an attorney funded by a Trump political action committee to a lawyer from the federal defender’s office in Washington.
Under Trump's Direction
Simultaneously, three Republican activists facing indictments from the Fulton County district attorney’s office for their role in attempting to overturn the election in Georgia have claimed that they acted under Trump’s direction.
Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff and another individual charged in the Georgia case, has hinted that his defense strategy may involve attributing primary responsibility to the former president for the election challenge effort.
Trump Pressured Georgia's Secretary of State
During a hearing in Atlanta, Meadows’ defense attorney underscored Trump’s prominent role in a pivotal event in the prosecutors’ case: the infamous January 2, 2021, phone call where Trump pressured Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” enough votes to declare him the winner.
Altering Vote Totals
While emphasizing Meadows’ limited role in the conversation, the defense attorney refrained from explicitly pointing out Trump’s request to alter vote totals, as the courtroom had just heard Trump’s voice making the demand.
Meadows told the court, “It was a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week kind of job,” referring to his role. He described it as a broad responsibility and mentioned the roles of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice in promoting accurate and fair elections.
Unexpected Legal Maneuver
Meadows taking the stand was an unexpected legal maneuver, as criminal defendants typically avoid testifying during pre-trial motions.
Pleading Not Guilty
He pleaded not guilty in the Georgia case, and according to Politico, his attorney’s approach is likely a preview of future legal strategies.
Shifting The Focus Onto Trump
Trump’s codefendants may choose to be tried alongside the former president to shift the focus onto him and appear comparatively less culpable.
Vanity Fair‘s political correspondent, Bess Levin, points out that while Donald Trump may not welcome his associates distancing themselves and attributing their actions to him, it’s a strategic move that should not come as a complete surprise, given his history of demanding loyalty.
She even drew parallels between Trump’s emphasis on loyalty and that of a “mob boss.”
Trump Expected Loyalty From James Comey
In 2017, former FBI Director James Comey accused Trump of telling him he “expected loyalty” during the agency’s probe into ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn.