Trump’s MAGA is far from “dead”: Former Mueller prosecutor

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The man described as “the architect” of the case against former President Donald Trump‘s campaign head Paul Manafort says the “Make America great again” movement is far from dead, even as some Republican Party leaders have begun to indicate a desire to move past it.

In a tweet Thursday, Andrew Weissmann—a former associate of special counsel Robert Mueller who once prosecuted top figures in the mob—appeared to cast doubt over claims the former president’s political career was over following a low-energy 2024 campaign announcement at Mar-a-Lago before his closest sycophants.

“The reports of MAGA’s death,” he wrote, “are greatly exaggerated.”

Since leaving the special counsel’s office, Weissmann has spared nothing in his public statements about the former president.

Referring to former Vice President Mike Pence‘s new book in a tweet earlier this week, he suggested it was Trump who “should be booked”—a likely allusion to jail, as opposed to the talk show circuit.

Some have speculated Trump’s run for president could create severe political ramifications for his possible prosecution over myriad financial and other crimes—including his role in the January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol and the removal of classified documents from his time at the White House.

But Weissmann has suggested his running for office is “not a ‘get out of jail free’ card,” noting there were multiple active state and federal investigations into Trump well before he said he would run for president.

And where the Department of Justice remains in an active investigation into Trump’s removal of those classified documents, Weissmann said he believes the department has not worked with the speed it should.

In recent weeks, Weissmann and others released their own model prosecution memorandum outlining a pathway to indicting the former president for six federal crimes ranging from obstructing a federal investigation to the mishandling of public documents.

Former President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower to meet with New York Attorney General Letitia James as part of a civil investigation, on August 10 in New York City. Some have speculated that Trump’s recent announcement of another presidential campaign could create severe political ramifications for his possible prosecution over myriad financial and other crimes.
James Devaney/GC Images

“There are many, many people who are charged with crimes who didn’t do anything close to what Donald Trump did, and so he should hardly be given a pass because he’s being investigated for other crimes that may be more serious,” Weissmann said on a podcast with Just Security, which published the memo, earlier this week.

“That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be treated and held to account the way anyone else is,” he added.

Prosecution might be the only pathway to get rid of Trump, if polling is to be believed. While a vast majority of independent voters in recent polling said prior to Tuesday’s announcement they did not want Trump to run again in 2024, the vast majority of Republicans—about 67 percent—said they did.

While other figures, like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, have pulled ahead as the choice of the Republican establishment after Trump’s influence on the field fueled a disappointing midterm election, Trump’s polling numbers are strong, with the ex-president trading polling leads with DeSantis in several surveys in recent weeks.

However, even the “good” polls for Trump haven’t been great.

While a recent Politico/Morning Consult poll showed Trump with a 14-point lead over DeSantis in a hypothetical Republican primary, the numbers also showed Trump performing poorly with voters across the spectrum—showing that his once-winning coalition appears to be shrinking.

“Among the Republican nominating electorate, Trump has a floor of forever Trumpers, but the floor is sagging,” conservative columnist George Will wrote for The Washington Post Thursday.

“If his bitter-enders were the questioning sort, they would ask: What states that he previously carried might he lose in 2024, and what states that he previously lost might he conceivably carry in 2024?” Will wrote.

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