McKenna: Trump trial won’t happen until after elections

Jun 13, 2023, 2:32 PM

mckenna Trump trial...

Former President Trump waving to crowds in Miami. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Don’t expect former President Donald Trump to go on trial until after the 2024 presidential election, according to former State Attorney General Rob McKenna.

Trump made his first court appearance Tuesday after being indicted on 37 charges related to the mishandling of classified documents. Trump pleaded not guilty to all federal charges. The indictment marks the first time in United States history that a former president faces criminal charges by the federal government he once oversaw.

Trump at courthouse for appearance in classified documents case

Appearing on KIRO Newsradio’s Seattle’s Morning News, McKenna said, “We have a long way to go in this case, I would be surprised if it even goes to trial sooner than a year and a half or two years from now.”

Colleen O’Brien wanted to know if the time it would take to go to the trial is surprising.

“One is, it takes a lot of time to put criminal trials on. We’re at the very beginning. So it’s not unusual for a criminal trial to not take place until a year or two after the indictment is unsealed,” McKenna said. “Number two, we’re in an election or going into an election. And I just think it’s more likely that the trial will take place after the November 2024 election for that reason.”

Trump will be released without having to pay a bond. He will not have to surrender his passport or restrict his personal travel.

“I was shocked at the seriousness of the risks that he created by putting these classified documents in the bathroom and the ballroom and so forth,” McKenna explained. “It’s hard to fathom why he would take these documents with him and even harder to understand why he didn’t turn them over when he was asked to by the National Archives, and even after receiving a subpoena, didn’t turn them all over. So it is pretty stunning.”

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Travis Mayfield, filling in for Dave Ross, asked McKenna if he thought the prosecutors had a strong case.

“It does look strong. But of course, all we see now is the indictment,” McKenna said. “We’re not seeing all of the evidence. We’re seeing some of it. And the President, his lawyers hadn’t put on their case yet. So, for example, they’ll rely on something called the Presidential Records Act to argue that he was entitled to possess some or all of these documents. We’ll see how effective that argument is.”

McKenna said he felt that the indictments were already splintering Republican support for the former President.

“The evidence involves really serious accusations involved in the Espionage Act involving these very sensitive classified documents. So I think it may peel more Republicans off of the president. You’re starting to see other candidates for president now, like Nikki Haley, come out and use stronger language than they had initially.”

McKenna, a long-time Republican, said he would not vote for the former President if he becomes the GOP nominee.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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McKenna: Trump trial won’t happen until after elections