Another Donald Trump indictment, another huge test for US democracy

Donald Trump faces arguably his most serious criminal charges yet, in what has been a year of ongoing legal jeopardy for the former US president.

Dan Rivers reports from Washington DC on Trump's third indictment of 2023, which includes a charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States.

It is clear America is now heading to a denouement in which justice and politics will ultimately collide.

The latest case against Donald Trump is the most serious to date, charging him and six associates with an orchestrated campaign of lies to overturn the results of the 2020 election, culminating in the storming of the Capitol on January 6th 2021.

It seems possible that some or possibly all of these cases will not be concluded by the time Donald Trump wraps up the Republican nomination. And then what will happen? Can the election proceed if one candidate is in jail? Yes, seems to be the answer from the constitutional experts who have found no exception for those seeking power from prison.

But it seems more likely team Trump will deploy their favourite tactic: delay.

If they manage to kick the can of each indictment down the road, until the next summer, they may have done enough to ensure these cases never result in Trump doing time. If Trump wins next November, he will find a way of getting rid of these cases, by appointing complaint officials who will kill them stone dead or by pardoning himself.

Watch ITV News Correspondent Robert Moore's eyewitness report from inside the Capitol building during the January 6th 2021 riots.

And if you think there is no way Trump can win with all this legal jeopardy and bad press swirling around, think again.

The latest polling shows, if it is a rematch between Biden and Trump, the electorate is split down the middle. Once again it’ll come down to a handful of battleground states like Arizona, Michigan or Wisconsin, where a vanishingly small number of undecided voters may decide the outcome.

Right now, most Republicans seem willing to overlook a conspiracy to undermine democracy. It seems most would offer the man at the centre of that plot the keys to the White House once again.

It is a staggering state of affairs.

Most of Trump’s Republican rivals appear too lily-livered to criticise the 45th US president for any of his legal woes. The craven contenders for the nomination are too fearful of alienating the MAGA (Make America Great Again) base, thus jeopardising their own chances. The field is simply too split and too terrified.

And so America is heading for a show-down, which will pitch a man accused of multiple criminal conspiracies against an incumbent president who will be 86 at the end of his second term, if he wins the 2024 election.

American democracy is about to face one of its greatest tests: a great reckoning where Donald Trump’s past will be judged not just by three juries, but also by the electorate.

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