CNN has yet another story about the growing desperation of former President Donald Trump’s Georgia co-defendants, and once again, it’s amazing how many of the people willing to risk prison time for Trump were under the impression that Dear Leader gave even 1 percent of a shit about what would happen to them if their brilliant defraud-the-government plans didn’t pan out.
We’ve now got at least four co-defendants trying to crowdfund their legal expenses, by CNN’s count. That includes Trump’s crack legal team of John Eastman, Jenna Ellis, and Trump’s ex-Department of Justice cheerleader Jeffrey Clark, who were all a lot more central to the plan to overthrow the government than the crooked state Republicans they roped in for their fake “electoral slates.”
And we’re not going to lie: It is glorious that the fascist right-wing Claremont Institute’s John Eastman, the architect of the hoped-for sabotage of the republic, evidently went through this whole plan thinking that Trump might at least hand him bail money afterward. But Trump does not pay money to his allies. Trump allies become Trump allies by paying him money, and not even Rudy freaking Giuliani is going to squeeze money out of Trump once Trump has decided he’s too damaged a figure to be useful.
What Trump is willing to do, though, is agree that people who are not him should pay his allies money, and that’s where all of his co-defendants’ current begging is focused. Giuliani may not be able to convince Trump to chip in for his defense, but Trump will be hosting a $100,000-per-person fundraising event for the former New York City mayor at Trump’s Bedminster estate next week, according to CNN.
Psst … How much do you want a bet that this was booked as a standard event, and Trump is pocketing a good chunk of the proceeds in the form of “venue fees”? Dear Leader will take his cut.
Every other co-defendant appears to be out of luck, though. During and immediately after Trump’s presidency, Trump could often be coaxed into allowing donor money scooped up by his Save America PAC to be shoved toward allies’ legal bills after he’d gotten them tangled up into one of his many scandals. That’s just good mob-boss practice; you absolutely do not want underlings who’ve had access to your criminal decision-making to be broke and in a state of desperation when the nice prosecutors from the Department of Justice come to them to suggest that a few days of testimony about you might clear all their legal woes up real quick.
But that campaign money appears to have dried up now, and nobody quite knows why. It’s possible that because Trump is now actually running for a second term—rather than only theoretically—he’s decided that he needs all the money for himself. It’s possible that the coffers are running low after spending literally tens of millions of dollars on his own legal bills and those of select accomplices. It’s possible Trump is just being an asshole about it, which is a thing he often does and which can lead to unpredictable outcomes based on the momentary contents of his bee-filled head.
Whatever the case, it seems that Trump has decided that Eastman, Ellis, Clark, and all the others can be cut loose without too much damage. He’s almost certainly wrong, mind you, but his current lawyers won’t be able to explain that to him any better than his often-unpaid, sometimes-indicted former lawyers were. But it does make a bit of sense. Trump is now running for office not as a possible president but as an explicitly extralegal figure. His posters say things like “Never surrender,” and he talks about remaking the government in explicitly unconstitutional ways in an attempt to eliminate the safeguards that foiled his criminality the first time around.
So Trump may be indifferent to the outcome of all of these cases, banking instead on winning the presidency, then issuing blanket pardons to himself and whomever else he still finds useful. In this scenario, Trump might not even bother mounting a serious courtroom defense, because he deems it a more effective use of funds to win the presidency and erase the laws altogether.
He might not be wrong about that. The Republican base doesn’t care whether he commits felonies or not, after all. It will likely be easier to convince GOP voters that he is allowed to break the law than it will be to prove to any of his future juries that he’s innocent of the charges.
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