Donald Trump on Tuesday announced that he will be running for president in 2024.
“We are a nation in decline. We are a failing nation for millions of Americans,” Trump said in a speech at his Florida private club. “I will ensure Joe Biden does not receive four more years.”
The 76-year-old’s aides filed paperwork with the US Federal Election Commission to set up a committee called “Donald J Trump for President 2024.”
As Trump sets up his presidential campaign, the question remains if Trump’s mounting legal problems will influence him personally and politically.
In September, the New York Attorney General (AG) Letitia James filed a civil fraud lawsuit against Trump alleging that he inflated his net worth by billions of dollars, in order to obtain favourable loans, better insurance and tax benefits. The lawsuit could permanently cripple its operations and slash his personal wealth.
The Trump Organization (a group of his estimated 500 business entities) and his three adult children – Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump — are also listed as defendants.
Trump is also facing a probe in Georgia of his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results in the state. A Georgia prosecutor is seeking search warrants in the case, a sign that the wide-ranging probe has entered a new phase.
In a court filing, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney wrote that District Attorney Fani Willis’ office is “now seeking to obtain and execute a series of search warrants, the affidavits for which are predicated on sensitive information acquired during the investigation.”
On the federal level, Trump is the subject of an FBI investigation into whether he mishandled state secrets by removing thousands of government documents from the White House in the final days of his presidency.
Trump is also being investigated by the Justice Department over his alleged role in a massive effort to overturn the 2020 election and prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory.
The former president’s efforts to remain in power culminated in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol, a deadly mob attack for which more than 900 people have so far faced federal charges.
Trump’s open cases could threaten any attempt to return to the White House. However, Trump wouldn’t benefit in any official way by formally announcing his candidacy.
“Being a candidate gives Trump no legal protection from criminal prosecution for crimes committed during or after his presidency,” said Mark Osler, a University of St. Thomas law professor, told PolitiFact. “Were he running as an incumbent, that might be different, but right now his status is ‘Florida resident,’ not ‘president.’”
Elise Bean, a former congressional investigator for then-Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, said: “While being a declared candidate doesn’t afford him any legal protections, it does enable him to claim that any investigation is politically motivated.”