DeSantis wants Jan 6 hearings to get Trump indicted, report claims

‘Ron DeSantis is lying in wait, sharpening his knives,’ GOP donor says

Related video: Trump supporters spend $30,000 on petrol to attend rallies

Ron Desantis sees the January 6 hearings as a possible way for former President Donald Trump to be indicted, according to a report.

A Republican consultant told Politico over the weekend: “That’s where his head is at. He thinks the goal here is to get main justice to go after him.”

“That’s what Ron thinks this is all about,” the consultant, said to be familiar with the governor’s thinking, told the outlet.

But the consultant added that Mr DeSantis is more focused on winning reelection in Florida by a larger margin than the 3.2 points that Mr Trump won the state by in the 2020 election.

The governor, a strong favourite to win another term as governor later this year, is set to break state-level fundraising records in Florida.

The outlet previously reported that Mr DeSantis isn’t intending to seek Mr Trump’s endorsement for his reelection, despite him aiding his political rise.

“A five-point win, and I think he would be off to the races,” the consultant told Politico. “January 6 or not, the fact that he is not seeking Trump’s endorsement I think says everything you need to know.”

The Independent has reached out to the office of Mr DeSantis for comment.

Republican operatives are increasingly admitting that Mr Trump is being damaged by the committee hearings, even if it’s not yet fatal.

While the strategists say Republican voters still like Mr Trump and don’t trust the committee and its findings, some voters, including some donors and activists, are growing tired and becoming less inclined to allow the legacy of the Trump presidency to make the future of the party more difficult.

GOP donor Dan Eberhart told Politico that “Trump is facing an important onslaught of negative facts with these hearings and there is no real defense. He has no friendly members on the committee and there aren’t facts to put in front of the public to make any of this sound less bad”.

“Ron DeSantis is lying in wait, sharpening his knives,” he added.

A DeSantis advisor told the outlet that “the January 6 hearings are [a] continuation of the exhausting circus that surrounds Trump”.

“There are of course the lunchbox Republicans who think this is a ‘mass conspiracy,’ but among the donor class many are just tired of this,” the advisor said. “It’s a shitshow – Some donors are getting sick of the shitshow.”

Former Trump White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who was charged with contempt last year after not complying with a subpoena from the committee, said he doesn’t believe the hearings are hurting Mr Trump because “The only Republicans watching, if at all, are hardcore ‘never Trumpers’”.

He said if Republicans take back the House, they will likely hold their own hearings to “set out all the facts”.

But Mr Trump appears to be worried about the hearings and their effect on his fortunes.

“We have nobody on that panel who can fight back,” he told conservative radio host Wayne Allyn Root. “In a way, the Republicans should be ashamed of themselves.”

A former advisor to Mr Trump also told Politico that the former president is “thinking about it optically and not politically. Optically it’s not great to have a committee without any pushback. Politically the base and the party are going to be with him — and it might sway some moderates. He really believes that the economy is what people are going to focus on”.

Moderate GOP strategist Sarah Longwell said she has noticed a change when she conducts focus groups.

The anti-Trump Republican said that people who have voted for the former president disagree on if he should run again and in the last two focus groups following the beginning of the hearings, no one has said that they would want Mr Trump to be on the ticket in 2024.

“With January 6 they’re on Trump’s side, but they’re also exhausted by it. It creates that sense of wanting to move on. The question is whether that sticks. I’ve seen it before when Trump’s baggage is out there they get annoyed about having to defend it, they drift away and then come back,” Ms Longwell told the publication.

But Trump allies think his supporters will come back to him, as they have after previous crises.

Trump pollster John McLaughlin told Politico that “you’re antagonizing his supporters at a time when — some people are so impacted by inflation they can’t make ends meet”.

Mr McLaughlin’s most recent poll stated that 42 per cent of people are “struggling to keep up and afford basic necessities”.

“If Congress wants to focus on a partisan kangaroo court and indict a president that [his supporters] think was successful at keeping America strong and had a better economy? They’re going to revolt — not a violent revolt but at the ballot box,” he said.

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