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Trump is found guilty on 34 counts in New York. How will this affect his campaign?


For more on how this could affect the ongoing presidential campaign, we're going to talk to NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben, who has been covering the Trump campaign. Hey, Danielle.


DETROW: On one hand, this is a big moment - the first time in American history that a former president, possible future president, has been convicted of a felony. On the other hand, America has had eight years to form very hardened opinions of Donald Trump. You talk to a lot of voters. What has your sense been about how this could change things, if at all?

KURTZLEBEN: You know, three big points here - one is the easy one. For Trump's base, nothing changes. That is a really solid bet you can go with. I go to a lot of his rallies. There are these shirts that are pretty widespread there, where people wear his mug shot from his Georgia case on their chest as a badge of honor. They have embraced Trump and his legal troubles. The more he's charged with, the more they stick with him as a sort of victim or martyr.

Now, let's talk about the broader electorate, though, because, according to an NPR/ Marist/PBS NewsHour poll that was released today...

DETROW: Well timed.

KURTZLEBEN: Yeah, right? But that means it was taken before the verdict. A solid majority of Americans - around two-thirds - said that a guilty verdict in this case, which has now happened, would not affect their vote. And the rest were pretty evenly split between saying it would make them more or less likely to vote for Trump.

The third point I'd add here, though, is that maybe, according to that poll, this won't affect things, but people don't know how it's going to affect them until it affects them. That's all hypothetical. And before Election Day, we have conventions. We have debates. We have Trump's sentencing. And all of us and the campaigns are going to be talking and talking about this and seeing how this plays out.

DETROW: We're talking a few hours after the verdict was announced. And already, in that time, I feel like the messaging has hardened, particularly on Trump's side. How would you describe it?

KURTZLEBEN: It definitely has hardened. And look, to be honest, it looks a lot like it did before the verdict, except just a - quite a bit louder and more strident. I mean, when he spoke in the hallway of the courthouse just after the verdict, he kind of veered right into his standard stump speech.


DONALD TRUMP: Millions and millions of people pouring into our country right now from prisons and from mental institutions, terrorists - and they're taking over our country. We have a country that's in big trouble.

KURTZLEBEN: Now, I should add there's no evidence for the prisons and mental institutions part there. But my point here is that this wasn't a trial about immigration, but he veered into immigration there 'cause he can't stop campaigning. And like your previous guest here said, he's already fundraising off of this verdict, calling himself a political prisoner, and he announced on Truth Social just tonight that there's going to be a press conference at Trump Tower tomorrow at 11, so we'll see what goes on there.

DETROW: What about President Biden? How has he responded? How has his campaign responded?

KURTZLEBEN: Well, the White House is continuing to be careful to not politicize this. The council has said they respect the rule of law. They have no more comment. The campaign is just weaving this, again, into their existing messaging, saying that Trump is a threat to democracy, and he continues to be.

DETROW: That's NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben. Danielle, thanks so much.

KURTZLEBEN: Thanks, Scott.

(SOUNDBITE OF NAV AND DON TOLIVER SONG, "ONE TIME") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Danielle Kurtzleben is a political correspondent assigned to NPR's Washington Desk. She appears on NPR shows, writes for the web, and is a regular on The NPR Politics Podcast. She is covering the 2020 presidential election, with particular focuses on on economic policy and gender politics.