While former President Donald Trump pursues a third presidential run amid a flurry of criminal investigations, it’s clear that the effectiveness of his typical tactics of “defiance and counterattacks” is starting to dwindle, Maggie Haberman at the New York Times reports.
Haberman named nearly six current investigations facing Trump — from his pending classified documents case, rape accusations, potential indictment in Georgia following allegations that he attempted to overturn the 2020 election and more.
New York Attorney General Letitia James recently filed a $250 million lawsuit against Trump for “widespread financial fraud.”
Sources close to Trump, Haberman reports, say the former president’s main worry is the potential of facing criminal charges, which “he has worked to avoid since the late 1970s,” under the guidance of his former attorney, the late Roy M. Cohn.
In an attempt to distract officials from pending litigation, Trump has kept Cohn's legacy alive by attempting to ambush the legal system while finessing his way around potential consequences.
“Always distraction, and apparent scorched earth and counterattacks at the start, and after much passage of time, settlement as quietly as possible,” First Amendment attorney and New York Democratic activist Victor A. Kovner said. “And the counterattacks as scurrilous as possible. Mostly from the Roy Cohn playbook.”
Trump has continuously engaged in harmful tactics such as calling Black prosecutors like Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis “radical, vicious and racist,” or accusing the Department of Justice of partisanship.
As lawsuits come for Trump, he has proceeded to file a few lawsuits himself — most recently against Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward.
But former attorney and FBI official, Chuck Rosenberg, told Haberman that this approach is losing its power.
“You can wear down a private party if they do not have the same resources as you, or you can settle a civil case and make it go away, but criminal cases are not about money,” Rosenberg said. “Criminal cases are about liberty and justice, and it is really rather difficult — if not impossible — to wear down federal prosecutors and the F.B.I. and make them go away.”
Rosenberg continued, “I think he thinks that everything can be bought or fought. And that is just not true.”
In the past, and still, according to former Trump Organization employee Alan Marcus, “Trump views the judicial system as he sees everything else: corrupt, ‘fixable’ and usable as a bullying tactic.”
Marcus mentioned that when he worked under Trump in the 1990's, he noticed that Trump would quickly dismiss cases against him as a “waste of time and money” but proceed to search for a “friendlier” judge to take on the case.
Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks of South Florida, who fined Trump $1 million this month for his 2016 “frivolous lawsuit” against Hillary Clinton, likely would not be considered a “friendly” judges in Trump’s eyes.
“Mr. Trump is a prolific and sophisticated litigant who is repeatedly using the courts to seek revenge on political adversaries,” Middlebrooks said. “He is the mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process, and he cannot be seen as a litigant blindly following the advice of a lawyer.”
Trump dropped his lawsuit against Letitia James as a result of the $1 million fine, proving Haberman's point that Trump's “decades-old playbook” is becoming worn and torn.