All eyes on Trump as indictment raises new questions ahead of 2024

The indictment of former President Trump in the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation into the hush-money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels will likely dominate the conversation on this week’s Sunday news shows.

The political world shook on Thursday afternoon after the news broke that a grand jury approved charges against Trump following an extensive investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. The case’s roots go back years from a payment that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen made to Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 for her to remain silent about an alleged affair that she said she had with Trump years prior. Cohen pleaded guilty to a range of crimes, including a campaign finance violation from the payment, in 2018 and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Cohen has said Trump directed him to make the payment and reimbursed him for it, making him likely a key witness in the prosecution’s case. Trump has acknowledged reimbursing Cohen for the payment but claimed it was unrelated to campaign funds and denied having an affair with Daniels.

One of Trump’s attorneys in the case, Joe Tacopina, has been making rounds on different news programs in the immediate aftermath of Trump being indicted, appearing on shows like NBC’s “The Today Show” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

He told John Catsimatidis and Rita Cosby on WABC’s “Cats and Cosby” show on Friday that Trump’s indictment is a double standard that “endangers all of us.”

“Today, it’s Donald Trump. Tomorrow, it’s a Democrat. The day after that it’s our cousin, our nephew, our niece, our brother,” he said. “We’re now using the justice system as a political weapon. And that is not what we have ever done in this country.”

Trump is the first former president in US history to be criminally indicted.

Tacopina said on “Good Morning America” that he will file motions quickly on the “legal viability” of the case.

He will appear on ABC’s “This Week” and CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Trump’s Republican allies have rallied behind the former president since the indictment was publicized, denouncing the investigation as politically motivated.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has taken a leading role in pushing back against Bragg’s investigation and calling for answers from him about the probe.

Jordan also serves as chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government and was one of three Republicans who sent Bragg a letter last week to demand documents related to the investigation. He expanded the investigation in requesting testimony from two prosecutors who resigned from Bragg’s office last year following a disagreement with Bragg’s hesitancy to bring the case against Trump.

Jordan, who is appearing on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” tweeted only “Outrageous.” following the reports of the indictment.

One of the points that Trump allies have brought up in defending the former president has been that former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Bragg’s predecessor, did not bring charges against Trump in the case.

Vance served as the district attorney for more than a decade and was the one who initiated the probe into the hush-money payment, winning a case against Trump before the Supreme Court in 2020 that gave him access to Trump’s tax returns as part of his investigation .

Vance chose not to run for reelection in 2021 for another term and passed the investigation on to Bragg once his term ended. Vance will appear on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

But not all Republicans have rushed to Trump’s defense following the indictment being issued.

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), who has been critical of Trump and is rumored to be a possible 2024 presidential candidate, said on Fox Business on Friday that Trump should “step aside” from the 2024 race now that he has been indicted. He said the legal system needs to be able to play out, and the public should trust that it will.

“When a public official is indicted, I think with regard to the office, the office is more important than the person and they should step aside,” he said.

Hutchinson will appear on “This Week.”

Mon. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) has also criticized Trump in the past and voted to convict him after the House impeached him over his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. Cassidy will appear on “Fox News Sunday.”

Democrats have meanwhile praised the decision as justice playing out and demonstrating that “no one is above the law.” They said the process should be able to happen without any outside interference.

Mon. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who will appear on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” reportedly said people on the outside of a case should not take sides in a criminal matter and criticized Republicans who have condemned the investigation as politicized without knowing the charges.

The exact charges that Trump is facing are unclear as the indictment remains sealed. It will be unsealed by the time that Trump has his arrangement on Tuesday.

“It’s pretty incredible that some of my colleagues believe they’re clairvoyant & they can judge the president’s innocence before they’ve even seen what the charges are,” Murphy said.

Amid the attacks on the legitimacy of Bragg’s investigation, Cohen attorney Lanny Davis has defended the validity of his client’s statements to New York prosecutors and the grand jury. He told NBC’s “Meet the Press NOW” on Friday that all of Cohen’s testimony is backed up by documents and multiple corroborating witnesses.

“Everything that Michael Cohen has tested is surrounded by documentation and corroboration. Everything,” Davis said. “And if he is a witness in this trial, he will be a principal witness, but his role is not to persuade anyone that he is telling the truth.”

Davis will appear on “State of the Union.” He told NBC that if a jury determines that political motivation did fuel the probe after seeing the documents, hearing testimony and considering the law, then “that’s the verdict.”

Below is the full list of guests scheduled to appear on this week’s Sunday talk shows:

ABC’s “This Week” — Joe Tacopina, Trump attorney; former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R); former Google CEO and Chairman Eric Schmidt

NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Mon. Joe Manchin (DW. Va.); former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.; former Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), NCAA president

CBS’s “Face the Nation” — Mon. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.); John Bolton, former national security adviser; The Wall Street Journal Editor-in-Chief Emma Tucker; Preet Bharara, former US attorney in New York

CNN’s “State of the Union” — Tacopina; manchins; Lanny Davis, attorney for former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; Reps. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) and Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas)

“Fox News Sunday” —Manchin; Mon. Bill Cassidy (R-La.); Jim Trusty, Trump attorney; former Attorney General William Barr

Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures” — Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Bryan Steil (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Administration Committee; former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe; Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R); Alina Habba, Trump attorney

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