Trump seeks to use indictments as rallying cry as he tries to survive latest legal threat

“In the normal universe, a charge like this of the chief financial officer of a substantial firm and the firm itself for what looks like tax avoidance of about $1 million is significant,” said Preet Bharara, the former Southern District of New York prosecutor who was fired by Trump. “But in the context of expectation that we were going to be talking about long-standing very substantial large dollar figures related to fraud by people up to and including the former president of the United States, this is not that.”

David Schoen, a former Trump lawyer who represented him during his second impeachment trial, said he expected Trump to maintain a similar posture toward the probe as he did after the riot at the Capitol, where he argued the actual victim was him. Trump has often sought to defend his conduct by telling supporters that prosecutors are unfair, or that the charges are manufactured, or that prosecutors are really coming for them.

“He knows among his supporters, there is a strong feeling that he is under siege because of who he is. There is a strong idea of, ‘They are trying to get Trump no matter what,’ ” he said. “There is a strong feeling among Trump followers, or a significant part of the country, that when Donald Trump is attacked, they and their beliefs are being attacked also. They believe any criminal indictment is a political maneuver to avoid having him run for president.”