Trump’s legal battles help set lanes for 2024: The memo

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The TAKE with Rick Klein

The two weeks since the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago haven’t shed much light on the potential legal danger former President Donald Trump is in.

But that event, combined with mounting pressure on other fronts, from Georgia and New York to Washington, has helped set lanes in a 2024 field that Trump definitely won’t own by himself.

Lawmakers loyal to Trump, including senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, have backed the former president with new attacks on the FBI. And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who finds out who he’s up against in his re-election bid on Tuesday, has chosen a similar path, wrapping up the conversation about what he calls a “weaponized” Justice Department in his most campaign scope

However, Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence is guarded against the Mar-a-Lago raid, telling ABC News in Iowa on Friday that while he is “deeply concerned” about the federal operation at home from Trump, “calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police.”

Then there’s Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, fresh off her primary loss, but making it clear her work against those who deny the legitimacy of the 2020 election will continue through 2022 and, of course, 2024. In an interview with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl on “This Week,” he called Cruz and Hawley “unfit for future office” and called out DeSantis for “right now campaigning for the negatives of the election.”

Cheney declined to say whether a potential presidential bid would lead her to the Republican primary or to campaign as an independent, though she said she understands why the Republican National Committee would work to keep her out of a debate that includes Trump.

Both options are on the table for Cheney. It’s clear that, whenever he announces it and how various legal cases play out, Trump won’t have a clear path to the 2024 GOP nomination, and that intra-party efforts to stop him won’t end if he becomes the nominee.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Aug. 6, 2022.

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The RUNDOWN with Avery Harper

While the midterm elections are fast approaching, potential 2024 candidates are already making appearances in battleground states across the country.

Although his name appears on the ballot in his home state of Florida, Governor DeSantis has been campaigning elsewhere. He has rejected Trump-backed electoral denialists such as Senate candidate JD Vance in Ohio and gubernatorial hopeful Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania in an effort to raise his national profile and underscore his conservative credentials ahead of a possible presidential candidacy

“We cannot stand idly by while the woke ideology ravages every institution in our society,” DeSantis said at his Pennsylvania event on Friday, sticking to a message on cultural issues that has been a focus of his tenure as governor. and the re-election effort.

Former Vice President Pence campaigned last week at the Iowa State Fair with Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, though his appearance was once again overshadowed by his former running mate. Even as Trump faces mounting legal troubles, Pence blasted critics — many of them Republicans — of the FBI in the wake of the Mar-a-Lago attack. He also said he did not take classified information from the office, the same one the Justice Department is investigating in connection with the search of Trump’s home.

Pence did all of this by avoiding giving definitive answers about whether he will run for the White House.

“After the first of the year, my family and I will do as we have always done, and that is to reflect and pray about where we could serve, where we could contribute,” he said.

The challenge, should he or DeSantis launch a GOP primary bid, is garnering significant support in a party still closely aligned with Trump, who has repeatedly hinted at a run of his own.

“If it was between Pence and Trump, I would vote for Trump,” Iowa Rep. Deb Taylor said in a recent interview with ABC News.

That sentiment is a demonstration of how difficult a path Pence or DeSantis could have to a GOP presidential nomination with Trump still in the picture.

PHOTO: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Unite and Win rally in support of Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano in Pittsburgh, Pa., on August 19, 2022.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Unite and Win rally in support of Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano in Pittsburgh, Pa., on August 19, 2022.

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

New York’s primary season wraps up this week with double Democratic sweeps in some of the country’s most reliably blue areas.

One of the tightest contests is happening in New York’s 12th Congressional District, where veteran Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler are facing off after this year’s redistricting changes. Both lawmakers won their seats in 1992 and currently chair powerful House committees. While both tout their decades of experience, a third primary challenger, Suraj Patel, a young lawyer who worked on former President Barack Obama’s campaigns, has carefully linked the age gap between him and lawmakers incumbent in the political stalemate, telling his campaign. ads that “it’s the Obama generation’s time.”

With few ideological differences separating Maloney and Nadler, their campaigns have become about highlighting identity politics. Nadler has said that if he were to lose his seat, New York City, which has one of the highest Jewish populations in the world, would lose its only Jewish representative in the House. Meanwhile, Maloney notes that if she loses, Manhattan would have no women in its congressional delegation in an environment where women’s rights have been pushed to the forefront of politics.

The run-up to Tuesday’s contest also featured statements of backhanded support from an unwelcome intruder: Trump. He said he had “endorsed” Maloney and attorney Dan Goldman, who is running in the Democratic primary for New York’s 10th District, even though both candidates were actively involved in Trump’s first impeachment — Maloney as Committee Chair of House Oversight and Goldman as Chair of the House Oversight Committee. the lead attorney for the Democrats in the trial.

While both Maloney and Goldman dismissed Trump’s remarks as trolls, some of their top opponents jumped on the former president’s comments to highlight their own attacks.

“I’m proud that Donald Trump has nothing positive to say about me because he knows how much more effective a new generation of diverse and energetic Democrats will be in stopping his agenda,” Patel tweeted.

On the 10th, Acting Rep. Mondaire Jones took a swipe at Goldman, saying, “Trump says he’s backing Goldman because he wants progressives to lose and because Goldman didn’t hold him accountable the first time. New York shouldn’t send this man to Congress.”

PHOTO: Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democratic candidate for New York's 12th Congressional District, waves to voters while campaigning on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York, on August 20, 2022.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democratic candidate for New York’s 12th Congressional District, waves to voters while campaigning on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York, on August 20, 2022.

Tom Williams/AP

NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight

13. Here are the number of primaries we’ll be watching closely Tuesday night in New York. (We’ll also be back Tuesday with our preview of the key primaries to watch in Florida and Oklahoma.) The New York statewide races were it was already decided in June. But because the first congressional map of the state was governed illegal democrat gerrymander by the New York Court of Appeals, the congressional primaries now find themselves on Tuesday under a much less favorable map for sitting Democrats. In fact, at least one incumbent — and possibly as many as five — will now lose their primaries. Read more from FiveThirtyEight’s Nathaniel Rakich about what to expect in New York. And please be sure to join us on Tuesday as we blog the results live on FiveThirtyEight.


ABC News “Start Here” podcast. “Start Here” kicks off Monday morning with highlights from ABC News’ exclusive interview with Liz Cheney about her primary loss and what’s next for the Jan. 6 House investigation. ABC’s Jonathan Karl walks us through. Then ABC’s Britt Clennett reports on the latest in the Ukraine conflict as Russia launches an assassination investigation into the death of the daughter of a Vladimir Putin ally. And, the ABC’s Sam Sweeney outlines new rules for airlines from the Department for Transport after a nightmare travel season of canceled flights and massive delays.


President Biden continues his vacation in Delaware, along with First Lady Jill Biden after she tested negative for COVID-19. Congress is in recess.

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The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day’s top political news. Please check back on Tuesday for the latest.

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