Georgia election interference
Trump monetizes his mug shot
It didn’t take long after Trump turned himself in to authorities in Atlanta on Thursday for his 2024 presidential campaign to begin using the former president’s mug shot to sell merchandise.
Within hours of Trump’s surrender in Georgia, the Trump Save America Joint Fundraising Committee was selling a variety of items, according to CBS News, including $34 T-shirts, $25 mugs and $15 beverage koozies emblazoned with Trump’s mug shot and the words “NEVER SURRENDER.”
The Trump campaign also used the historic image in a fundraising email Thursday night, along with a call for donations. “Today, at the notoriously violent jail in Fulton County, Georgia, I was ARRESTED despite having committed NO CRIME,” read the message from Trump to his supporters, according to ABC News. “But today, I walked into the lion’s den with one simple message on behalf of our entire movement: I WILL NEVER SURRENDER OUR MISSION TO SAVE AMERICA.”
Trump also shared his mug shot on X, formerly known as Twitter, in his first post on the social media platform since he was banned after a mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. X owner Elon Musk reinstated Trump’s account months ago, but it lay dormant until this week.
Why it matters: The actions show that Trump and his team view the criminal cases swirling around him as a political winner as he campaigns for the presidency once again. But while the spotlight may help him in the Republican primary, an actual conviction could hurt him, a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll found.
Jeffrey Clark, other Trump co-defendants turn themselves in
Key players: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, Illinois pastor Stephen Lee, publicist Trevian Kutti, former Coffee County elections director Misty Hampton, Trump staffer Michael Roman, lawyer Robert Cheeley and Georgia state Sen. Shawn Still
Seven remaining co-defendants in the Georgia case turned themselves in to authorities following Trump’s surrender Thursday night. Among the last-minute surrenders was Clark, the former Justice Department official who is accused of scheming to use the DOJ to help promote Trump’s false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Clark was indicted on two counts: violation of Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and criminal attempt to commit false statements and writings. He was reportedly booked early Friday at the Fulton County Jail and released on a bond of $100,000.
Other Trump co-defendants who also surrendered Friday include Kutti, a former publicist for Kanye West (now known as Ye) who is accused of trying to coerce a local election worker into falsely confessing to voter fraud, and Lee, a Chicago-based police chaplain whose criminal charges include violating the Georgia RICO Act, influencing witnesses and conspiracy to commit solicitation of false statements and writings.
Why it matters: Willis had given Trump and his co-defendants until 12 p.m. ET on Friday to voluntarily surrender to authorities in Fulton County. All 19 of those charged have now turned themselves in. One or more of the defendants may consider cooperating with prosecutors in exchange for leniency.
Jan. 6 election interference
Judge expected to set date for trial at Monday hearing
Attorneys for Trump and the Justice Department are expected to appear before Chutkan at a status conference on Monday, where the judge has said she intends to set a date for the trial in Trump’s federal Jan. 6 case.
Smith previously proposed scheduling the trial to begin on Jan. 2, 2024, while the former president’s legal team has asked to delay the start of the trial by more than two and a half years, until April 2026.
Trump faces four felony charges in the case stemming from his efforts to subvert the 2020 election results, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to obstruct Congress.
Why it matters: If the trial is delayed until after the 2024 election, and Trump wins, he could ostensibly pardon himself of any federal crimes for which he may be found guilty. He could also have his new Justice Department appointees work to shut down the cases.