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Trump's court cases overshadowing Iowa caucuses

Trump's court cases overshadowing Iowa caucuses
Trump's court cases overshadowing Iowa caucuses 02:46

The Iowa caucuses are tomorrow. But this year, the presidential campaign trail runs through courthouses.

In Washington this past week, attorneys for former President Donald Trump argued in federal court that an ex-president should be immune from prosecution – arguments that seemed to get little love from the judges.

On Tuesday Trump told reporters, "I feel that as a president, you have to have immunity. Very simple."

A ruling could come in days – though it could be appealed to the Supreme Court.

The former president appeared in a Washington, D.C., court Tuesday, as his attorneys argued before a panel of the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that presidents are immune from criminal prosecution.  William J. Hennessy Jr.

Hinging on that decision is the Justice Department's case against Trump for attempting to overturn the 2020 election.

Also on the docket: a federal trial for mishandling classified records; Georgia state charges of state election interference; and in New York, a defamation suit.

Plus, trials over hush money payments to a porn star, as well as real estate fraud.

On Thursday Trump was asked, "What percentage of your time these days is spent on your campaign? What percentage is spent on your legal issues?"

"Well, see my legal issues, every one of them, every one, civil and the criminal ones, are all set up by Joe Biden, crooked Joe Biden," Trump replied. "They're doing it for election interference. And in a way, I guess you'd consider it part of the campaign."

Trump blaming his legal woes on conspiracy theories is just further evidence that they are more than a sideshow; they are a reckoning about what a Trump return to the White House would say about the country.

While Iowans caucus tomorrow, the nation will also pay respects to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther KingJ Jr. Yet, Trump's incendiary rhetoric on race, immigration, and on political revenge has only helped cement his lead in polls with Republicans.

As Iowa plunges into arctic weather, Florida Governor Ron Desantis hopes to dent Trump's lead, while also battling former Trump ambassador Nikki Haley. 

Haley has her sights set on New Hampshire later this month, hoping to benefit from Chris Christie's departure from the race.

Ron DeSantis Campaigns For President Across Iowa
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (left), in Council Bluffs, and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley (right), in Davenport, campaign ahead of the Iowa Republican Party caucuses being held Monday. Kevin Dietsch, Win McNamee/Getty Images

Trump allies tell me that New York County Court Courthouse in Lower Manhattan, where his businesses have been in the spotlight in a civil fraud trial, is now his center of the political universe – a place this candidate believes fuels his grievances, and those of his supporters.

And all of these court appearances underscore the stakes – for Trump, and for the nation.

Story produced by Ed Forgotson. Editor: Chad Cardin. 

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