Trump eyes early 2024 announcement as Jan. 6 scrutiny intensifies

That timing would be extraordinary — presidential candidates typically announce their candidacies in the year before the election — and could have immediate implications for Republicans seeking to take control of Congress in November. Mr. Trump’s presence as an active candidate would make it easier for Democrats to turn midterm races into a referendum on the former president, who since losing in 2020 has relentlessly spread lies about the legitimacy of the election. Some Republicans fear that would distract from pocketbook issues that have given their party a strong advantage in congressional races.

“Republicans want to win badly in 2022, and it is dawning on many of them that relitigating the 2020 election with Trump’s daily conspiracy diatribes are sure losers,” said Dick Wadhams, a Republican strategist and former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.

The former president’s team remains divided over whether he should even run again. Those opposed to a third White House bid have expressed concerns ranging from doubts about Mr. Trump’s remaining political potency to questions about whether he can articulate a clear rationale for running and avoid a repeat of 2020…

Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, had urged Mr. Trump to wait until after the midterms, worried that news about his campaign could derail the party’s midterm messaging. One R.N.C. official noted that when Mr. Trump opened a campaign, the party would stop paying his legal bills related to an investigation by the New York attorney general. Still, Ms. McDaniel has recently resigned herself to the idea that he will announce before the elections, according to people familiar with the conversations.