HomeTop StoriesNew York versus Donald Trump, day 1: From the politics desk

New York versus Donald Trump, day 1: From the politics desk

Welcome to the online version of From the Political Bureauan evening newsletter featuring the latest reporting and analysis from the NBC News Politics team from the campaign trail, the White House and Capitol Hill.

In today’s edition, senior national political reporter Jonathan Allen looks at the first day of Donald Trump’s hush money trial, inside and outside the courtroom. Additionally, senior political editor Mark Murray explains how the public views Trump’s legal troubles.

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The Trump trial: a freak show on the outside and solemn on the inside

By Jonathan Allen

In a courthouse located between Tribeca and Chinatown, the former president said Monday morning Donald TrumpAttorneys for the prosecution had been feuding with the prosecution over the procedures for a hush-money case that could send an ex-commander in chief to prison for the first time in American history.

Judge Juan Merchan told attorneys he was getting a little irritated by the “details.” With a pool of 500 potential jurors lined up, he wanted to get started on the process of choosing 12 of them.

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The judge also gave Trump his “Parker warnings,” including that he could face jail time for contempt if he were absent without leave at any point during the trial. Trump betrayed little emotion and said he understood.

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Outside, in a sunlit park across the street, idiosyncrasy reigned over pedantry.

A handful of pro-Trump demonstrators — some wearing costumes, others carrying signs, one temporarily lowering the top of her dinosaur-themed swimsuit before writhing on the ground in performative ecstasy — lent their support to the presumptive Republican nominee.

The presence of high-profile spectators accentuated the carnival-like nature of the gathering: Jordan Klepper of The Daily Show, former Republican gubernatorial candidate Andrew Giuliani and filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, a daughter of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives. Nancy PelosiD-California.

“I never miss a freak show,” said the younger Pelosi, a longtime resident of nearby Greenwich Village.

The unlikely tandem of Klepper and Giuliani offered a clear insight into a set of truths about this trial: the charges are simultaneously the least consequential of the series pending against Trump, and as fundamental to democracy as the question of special treatment – either targeting or protection – can be avoided in the case of such a powerful figure.

During the lengthy proceedings, the former president sometimes suggested disinterest or exhaustion by closing his eyes.

Most of the jurors sat silent and expressionless. Merchan emphasized his desire to shield their identities from the public, even going so far as to warn rival legal teams not to reproduce lists of their names. More than half of them were fired when they raised their hands to say they could not be impartial in this process.

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A dismissed prospective juror was overheard in a hallway saying, “I just couldn’t do it.”

Finding twelve adults who have no particular feelings for Donald J. Trump, and the will to endure a multi-week trial, is no easy feat. That process will continue in Merchan District Court. For the rest of the world, the ‘freak show’ on the outside rolls along.

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What is public opinion on the Trump trial – for now?

Analysis by Mark Murray

It is unclear how the criminal proceedings into the hush-money charges against Trump will ultimately play out, but recent national polls give us a good idea of ​​where voters stand on the issue.

At least for now.

A significant majority say the charges against Trump are serious: 64% of voters said allegations that Trump falsified business records related to the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election are very or somewhat serious, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll in April.

Still, that’s smaller than the share of voters who believe the charges in the other criminal cases are serious — such as trying to overturn the 2020 election results (74%), pressuring state officials in Georgia to overturn the 2020 election undoing (72%) and illegally removing secret documents (69%).

A recent New York Times/Siena College poll also found that 58% of registered voters said hush money allegations are “very” or “somewhat” serious, including 30% of self-identified Republicans.

Views on Trump’s guilt are divided along party lines: But the same NYT/Siena poll found that a smaller share of voters (46%) believed Trump should be found guilty in the hush money case, while 36% said he should be found not guilty; another 18% say they don’t know or refuse to answer.

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And view the results per party:

  • Democrats: 84% guilty, 6% not guilty, 10% didn’t know

  • Republicans: 13% guilty, 71% not guilty, 16% didn’t know

  • Independents: 40% guilty, 35% not guilty, 25% didn’t know

  • Notice how those independents are right in the middle, with a significant number having no opinion.

The general election mood shifts slightly if Trump is found guilty: Finally, the January 2024 national NBC News poll showed a slight shift in the horse race between Trump and President Joe Biden when voters are asked their opinions *if* Trump is ultimately convicted of a crime.

In the original vote test, Trump was ahead of Biden by 5 points among registered voters, 47% to 42%, which was within the poll’s margin of error.

But when voters were asked — on the survey’s final question — about their vote choice if Trump were convicted of a crime, Biden jumped ahead of Trump by two points, 45% to 43%.

That’s a 7 point swing.

One caveat to this hypothesis, however, is that it assumes that voters would see a conviction as fair and square. But as we all know, Trump has been trying for months to portray the prosecution as unfair and politically motivated.

That’s all from The Politics Desk for now. If you have any feedback – like it or not – please email us at politicsnieuwsbrief@nbcuni.com

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This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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