Donald Trump has reportedly sought legal advice from guests at his Mar-a-Lago resort and residence in Florida as his company faces criminal charges stemming from a years-long tax fraud investigation from New York prosecutors.
In an excerpt from Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency, author Michael Wolff describes a man surrounded by genuflecting supporters watching him dine at his roped-off table, while he simmers with resentment against insufficiently loyal Republicans and remains “motivated by revenge” against his cultural and political enemies who staged a “coup” against him.
“With a little critical interpretation, it is not so much broad power that he seeks as specific submission and adulation,” Wolff writes, according to an excerpt published in The Times on 5 July.
“Likewise, it is also clear to those around him – those concerned for him (and themselves) – that he faces serious legal issues,” he writes.
The former president’s Trump Organization and its longtime chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg pleaded not guilty on Thursday to15 criminal charges including conspiracy, grand larceny and tax fraud, allegedly connected to a 15-year scheme that included evading taxes on $1.7m of income.
“People around” Mr Trump also believe the former president will face indictments in that case, and in ongoing probes into the Capitol riot on 6 January and Mr Trump’s attempts to pressure Georgia’s secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes for his victory in the state, which he lost to Joe Biden.
“Notably, he faces his legal challenges without any real lawyers in place, going so far as to ask random visitors if they know any good ones,” according to Wolff.
Mr Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani – reportedly ostracised from Team Trump – has been temporarily barred from practising law in New York and faces possible disbarment for his “demonstrably false and misleading statements” as part of Mr Trump’s legal campaign to reject millions of Americans’ ballots.
At a campaign-style rally in Sarasota, Florida on 3 July, Mr Trump raged against New York prosecutors for politically motivated “prosecutorial misconduct” while he simultaneously downplayed the charges facing his company and appeared to admit them.
The former president views the pending legal challenges against him as “further proof of the collective campaign against him – just part of the larger ‘steal’. The witch hunt. And, not incidentally, the fundamental reason for his political strength,” Wolff writes.
He adds: “Indeed, it’s his central issue: terrible and corrupt people are against him. The swamp. The deep state, the fake news media. That’s why his movement must continue. That’s why he might have to run again in 2024. To fight back against the people who would destroy him. To attack him is to attack his people. He fights for them. Not incidentally, the more he is pursued the stronger he remains.”
The Independent has requested comment from Mr Trump’s office.
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