Trump expects trial to be "badge of honor" -- but rethinks 2024 run

The camp that favors this combative approach got a boost (in their own view at least) when Trump hired the attorney who will defend him. South Carolina lawyer Butch Bowers was recommended to Trump by Senator Lindsey Graham, a friend and fellow JAG officer. Bowers represented former GOP Governors Mark Sanford and Nikki Haley in impeachment and ethics hearings in Columbia, the state capital. But Bowers is also an election law specialist with a particular focus on legal tests over voter ID. That prompted speculation that Bowers might try to make the case that there was, in fact, significant fraud that affected the election outcome.

Daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, along with friends and informal advisers including Senator Graham, strongly oppose that tack. They believe it will reinforce images of the mob of Trump supporters who had gathered in Washington for a “Stop the Steal” rally. Graham, who has spoken to Trump at least twice since Joe Biden was inaugurated, told him, “You just don’t want to go there,” according to a source with knowledge of the conversation…

That message, said the Palm Beach friend who has spoken with Trump and his inner circle, has gotten through. “He’ll let Bowers handle the trial in a straightforward way, without litigating the election fraud stuff. The president will be acquitted again, and then he’ll use his two acquittals as a badge of honor with his base.”