Former national security adviser John Bolton argued that the indictment of Donald Trump may ultimately help the former president politically, saying it could be ‘rocket fuel’ that helps him secure the Republican nomination.
‘I’m not worried about Alvin Bragg hurting Donald Trump. I’m worried about Alvin Bragg benefiting Donald Trump,’ Bolton said during a Sunday ‘Face the Nation’ appearance on CBS. ‘If Trump is acquitted or he gets the case dismissed because it’s not legally sufficient… that will be rocket fuel because he can say, ‘I told you this was a political prosecution.’’
Bolton, who served in the Trump administration for just over a year, made the comments just days after a grand jury in New York voted to indict the former president on charges believed to be related to alleged ‘hush money’ payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 campaign.
Trump is scheduled to be arraigned in the case in New York on Tuesday, with Bolton arguing the implications of a conviction or acquittal would be massive.
‘I think he does have reason to be concerned about the substance of the case here,’ Bolton said. ‘I think while we’re all obviously focused on the indictment, that’s just the beginning. The real issue here is whether Alvin Bragg gets a conviction at some point in the near term, or whether Trump springs free, because the political implications are vasty different.’
If Trump isn’t convicted, Bolton said the former president will claim to be vindicated and be able to use that as ammunition on the campaign trail.
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But if Trump were to be convicted before next year’s election, Bolton believes ‘that will have a very different impact on people.’
‘If he’s convicted of a crime, I think most Americans actually don’t want a convicted felon to be the president,’ Bolton said.
Bolton, who said he is still considering a run for president himself, argued the right thing for Trump to do would be to step aside and let another candidate carry the torch for the Republican Party in 2024. However, he lamented that Republicans appear to be circling the wagons in support of the former president.
‘I have to say, watching the response to the indictment has not been encouraging for the future of the party,’ Bolton said. ‘Trump is a cancer on the Republican Party.’