WASHINGTON — The historic indictment of former President Donald Trump on charges involving payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to silence claims of an extramarital affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, is the first time a current or former commander-in-chief has been criminally charged.
But it may not be the last.
Mr. Trump also faces scrutiny in other ongoing investigations that could come with charges of their own, including, the Georgia 2020 election interference investigation and the Justice Department probes into his actions around the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, and his mishandling of classified documents.
University of Virginia Political Science Professor Larry Sabato says the country needs to brace itself for what may yet come.
"There's much more serious matters that he's been involved in that could result in indictments," he said. "And there's apparently a case coming up, there's an accusation by a very credible woman about Trump raping her. So, there's lots of things bubbling up all around."
In an interview with 13News Now on Friday, one day after news of the indictment became known, Sabato said it's unclear how much, if any, these scandals hurt Trump.
"Trump has done more to undermine American democracy more than any person I can think of at least in modern American history. I guess you'd have to go back to the Civil War to find something that might be comparable," he said. "And what's really incredible is, tens of millions of people are supporting him as he undermines our democracy."
Virginia Wesleyan University Political Science Assistant Professor Leslie Caughell said Friday that Trump's fans stick with him, despite his legal troubles, despite his two impeachments, and, despite his two popular election losses.
"There does seem to be an audience for what he's selling," she said. "This is the real puzzle of Donald Trump. Republicans stick with him, despite the fact he's shown he's not a winner."
Caughell said this indictment is, if nothing else, a vital exercise in civics.
"We shouldn't feel happy about this. But in some ways, we should feel heartened that the system works and we're all equal before the law," she said. "This is the legal system at work. And, he'll go to trial like everyone else."
Trump is already trying to monetize the indictment. In a fundraising e-mail Thursday seeking contributions of $24 to $250, he called the indictment "a disgusting witch hunt." And he said: "The Deep State will use anything at their disposal to shut down the one political movement that puts YOU first."