Within Donald Trump’s closest circle, the scapegoating and the finger-pointing has begun.
Some of the former president’s advisers, supporters, and co-defendants blame him as the trials for his four criminal charges approach.
There are hints of a tried and tested tactic being implemented where several defendants, including high-level aides and lesser-known colleagues, put forward an image of helplessness while shifting the responsibility to someone else, preferably the apparent leader– Trump.
As Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, said, “History has taught the 18 co-defendants that Donald doesn’t care about anybody except himself.” Every defendant, Cohen said, would have to fend for themselves.
In the last several weeks, Trump loyalists in or potentially in peril in three of Cohen’s four current criminal cases have signaled that they may follow Cohen’s example and turn on the former president.
An IT worker at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club drastically revised his account in late August, agreeing to collaborate with special counsel Jack Smith, who has accused Trump of hoarding confidential data. The staffer, Yuscil Taveras, was not charged in the case, but his flip is expected to strengthen Smith’s obstruction-of-justice lawsuit against Trump and two other aides, and it may help him avoid a potential perjury charge prosecutors were discussing.
Three Republican activists indicted with Trump in Georgia for attempting to obstruct President Joe Biden’s certification of victory in the state said they were acting at Trump’s direction.
And last week, Trump’s ex-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, also accused in the Georgia case, gave hints that his defense would center on blaming the former president.
When many criminals are facing significant jail time, it’s customary for them to try to shift the blame on one another. This has happened before, but never with a former president suspected of being the ringleader.
According to recent statements from Trump administration officials, one of President Trump’s political action organizations, Save America PAC, reportedly spent $40 million on legal expenses in the first half of this year.
There is no list of anyone whose legal fees are covered by Trump’s campaign funds.
Federal campaign finance records reveal payments to legal firms but do not reveal the clients’ identities or the nature of the cases they were working on.