Trump falling back into bad online habits as threat of indictment looms: report
Former US President Donald Trump, pictured at a rally in Pennsylvania on September 3, 2022, is accused of mishandling White House documents. (Ed Jones/AFP)

The stress from possible criminal charges have driven Donald Trump back to some of the old habits that turns off independent voters.

The former president apparently expects to be indicted in Manhattan in connection with a hush money scheme involving adult film actress Stormy Daniels, which has driven him to lash out publicly at district attorney Alvin Bragg, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his Democratic opponents -- to the dismay of his allies, reported the New York Times.

"The circus continues," former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said over the weekend. "He only profits and does well in chaos and turmoil, and so he wants to create the chaos and turmoil on his terms — he doesn't want it on anybody else's terms. But, look, at the end, being indicted never helps anybody. It's not a help."

Trump has lost support from independents and moderate Republicans for three straight elections, but top adviser Taylor Budowich defended the twice-impeached former president.

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"This is allowing the contrast to be made," Budowich said. "Donald Trump is the true fighter for the people, while every other candidate is different versions of the same."

The ex-president announced Saturday that he expected to be arrested Tuesday, although aides later clarified that he had no direct knowledge of that, and he has stepped up his attacks online against DeSantis and other rivals.

"Whether three consecutive days of escalation was a temporary or lasting step away from the relative discipline that defined his last few months of campaigning remained to be seen," the Times reported. "But at the very least, it signaled a long week ahead. On Saturday in Waco, Texas, Mr. Trump is set to host the first large event of his 2024 campaign, returning to his cherished rally stage — where he is often at his most reckless."