- Maggie Haberman, who has historically had a close relationship with Trump, says the former president is extremely angry about his ongoing legal troubles
- Several members of the Trump family took the stand last week in the fraud trial against the former president in New York
- The New York trial is a civil proceeding, but the former president has several ongoing federal trials in the pipeline that will be even more intense
Former President Donald Trump is “very, very angry” about his ongoing lawsuits and possibly heading to prison, but his team is confident in his chances of winning the 2024 presidential election, says New York Times correspondent Maggie Haberman.
During an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Haberman — who has historically had a close relationship with the former president — said there has been “an enormous amount of energy invested in Trump portraying himself as fine and not letting anything bother him.”
In reality, however, Haberman says Trump is “very, very angry” and “doesn’t want to be sentenced to prison.”
According to the journalist, his campaign team is focused on getting through the Republican primaries. Trump currently leads the slate of candidates by about 30 points in most polls.
However, his staff “recognizes that they have to get through Iowa, which has never been a great state for Trump,” Haberman said. If the former president can pull off a victory in Iowa, the apparent inevitability of his candidacy will become less moot.
His prospects come as Trump faces not only a civil lawsuit in New York, but four ongoing criminal trials across the country over his role in handling classified documents and alleged election interference.
Former President Donald Trump was in court last week for his fraud case in New York. He is not only facing the civil case, but also four pending criminal cases
Moreover, Haberman said, Team Trump’s focus on winning “is partly as a means to address these issues.”
Trump’s high-profile civil fraud case in New York, which was brought by Attorney General Letitia James, has seen several dramatic twists involving Trump and several members of his family — something Haberman says likely won’t be the case during his upcoming federal process.
Trump will be “silenced” in federal court in a way he was not during his civil trial because he “can’t pull the same kind of stunts in front of his next judge,” Haberman said.
Last week, Trump took the stand in New York, where he sparred with Judge Arthur Engoron and delivered lengthy campaign-style speeches. Engoron repeatedly told him to stop and answer the questions.
The case is civil and not criminal, meaning the judge will determine the outcome of the case rather than a jury.
Engoron has already ruled that some of Trump’s financial statements were fraudulently completed. This process is intended to determine the punishment.
Part of determining that punishment is looking at the intent behind the reports.
The judge will determine whether the Trumps deliberately falsified the financial statements of their family business to inflate the company’s value and obtain favorable terms on loans and insurance coverage.
To make that decision, the judge last week required several of Trump’s adult children to testify — including Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka.
Trump was warned to control himself on the stand during his civil trial as he labeled prosecutors and Democrats “haters” and claimed the judge always rules “against” him
Judge Arthur Engoron warned the former president several times for failing to answer prosecutor Kevin Wallace’s questions, as tensions flared almost immediately after he was sworn in as a witness last week.
While Don Jr. and Eric remain part of Trump’s business empire, Ivanka stepped away from her family business several years ago.
She and her husband Jared Kushner currently live with their three children in Miami, where Ivanka focuses on her friends, family and philanthropic work.
In their testimony last week, Ivanka’s brothers also tried to distance themselves from the company. The two served as trustees of the Trump Organization after Donald Trump became president.
Don Jr. blamed the family business’s accountants, who had prepared the paperwork for him to sign as trustee. He said his signature, which showed the accuracy of the financial figures, was “not a symbol of yes or no.”
Eric indicates that he was not involved in the preparation of the annual accounts and that he knew ‘nothing’ about them.