The Associated Press reported late Wednesday that the Justice Department has moved closer to a possible indictment of Trump over alleged mishandling of classified documents after a Florida grand jury heard testimony from a former Trump White House aide.
Marc Lotter, the press secretary for former Vice President Mike Pence, said on American Family Radio Thursday that an indictment would only strengthen the former president's bid for the Republican nomination.
Trump already leads by a wide margin with 56% support compared to 22% for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Pence, a distant third, with 7%, according to the most recent poll numbers.
"History being a guide, when they indicted him over those drummed-up charges in New York, Donald Trump got stronger," Lotter told show host Jenna Ellis. "He increased his lead in the Republican primary field because so many people saw the weaponization of government on display. I wouldn't think there would be anything different if this happens again this time."
The GOP field continues to widen with Pence and former presidential candidate and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie now among the competitors.
Removing a frontrunner would strengthen other candidates, but Lotter says they're steering clear of celebrating a potential Trump indictment.
"That's why you even saw former Vice President Mike Pence, who was on CNN last night. He was asked by Dana Bash about the potential of indictment, and he immediately moved it over to the two-tiered justice system and why they're being weaponized," Lotter said. "They all believe they know what the Republican base believes, and so they have to walk that fine line."
That type of nimble footwork before mainstream media cameras is necessary because the GOP field is united around one clear belief: if not Trump then them.
"Trust me, if Trump's name wasn't on the ballot, they would be doing the same thing to Pence. They'd be doing the same thing to DeSantis or whomever is the leading candidate at the time. They will do whatever they can to target the Republican [candidate]. They will do everything they can to protect Joe Biden and his family's crime regime," Lotter said.
Let's let Christie be the bad guy
The indictment question notwithstanding, some have questioned the sincerity of Christie's campaign, saying his primary mission is to take down Trump. For example, conservative author and commentator Ann Coulter encouraged her social media followers to give to Christie's campaign to increase his chances of getting on a debate stage with Trump.
Lotter doesn't believe Christie (right) will make an impact against Trump. "Oh, I don't think there's going to be any success in it for Chris Christie," he said.
But might such a plan boost the rest of the field? It's a stretch, Lotter said.
"If I'm one of the other candidates – maybe not DeSantis, but all the other candidates – I'm counting on [Christie] to do this because they want him to say the things they don't want to have to say. If anyone is going to take out Trump, you basically are going to make yourself unelectable. It's very difficult to say [you want to] attack Trump – and if you are successful, then count on the MAGA base that supports him to then support you in a general election. I just don't see how that works."