Trump’s Post-Verdict Playbook: Anger and Retribution, Regardless of the Outcome


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The verdict in former President Donald J. Trump’s criminal trial remains a mystery, at least for a few more days. Less of a mystery is what Mr. Trump will say and do after it is announced — regardless of the outcome.

If the past is any guide, even with a full acquittal, Mr. Trump will be angry and vengeful, and he will direct attacks against everyone he perceives to be responsible for the Manhattan district attorney’s prosecution. He will continue to level the attacks publicly, at rallies and on Truth Social, and privately encourage his House Republican allies to subpoena his Democratic enemies.

The pattern is firmly established: After Mr. Trump escaped impeachment twice and survived a special counsel investigation led by Robert S. Mueller III into ties between his 2016 campaign and Russia, he immediately went into revenge mode — complaining about the injustices he was forced to endure and urging his allies to investigate the investigators.

“Regardless of the outcome, the playbook is the same,” said Alyssa Farah Griffin, Mr. Trump’s former White House communications director, who began working for him shortly after his first impeachment trial.

Mr. Trump’s team is still determining his plans for the period following the trial’s conclusion, timing that remains at the mercy of the jury.

It is unclear how much the public cares about his trial over allegations that he falsified business records to conceal hush money payments to a porn star during the 2016 election. Mr. Trump’s advisers have been running a private poll tracking public opinion throughout the trial, according to a person briefed on the data, and have not seen a significant downturn in his support, even during some of the more bruising days of testimony. Public polling also suggests a relatively stable race.

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Trump’s Post-Verdict Playbook: Anger and Retribution, Regardless of the Outcome

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