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Why Trump’s historic indictment won’t dampen his support

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Donald Trump: polling suggests criminal charges won’t dampen his support

Donald Trump’s impending court case marks an historic moment in US politics. He will be the first former president of the United States to face criminal charges and trial by a jury. He and his supporters are already calling the case a political manoeuvre designed to reduce his chances in the 2024 presidential election.

The court case will affect his campaign but it will not exclude him for running for office next year. Early indications suggest that his political base will continue to rally around him. Within hours of the news, his followers were gathering outside his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida to express their support.

The indictment comes after a grand jury in New York agreed that there was enough evidence to charge the former president. The investigation, led by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, looked into the legality of hush money payments to former adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The exact nature of the charges will not be known until Trump is arraigned next week. According to US reports, he is likely to be accused of more than one count of falsifying business records (classed as a misdemeanour, a lesser crime in the US legal system), after Trump allegedly recorded the payment as a business expense. If found guilty, he could face a fine.

He might also be charged with breaking election campaign laws, which is a more serious felony offence and carries a potential prison sentence. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

Any criminal charges, or even a jail sentence, would not restrict Trump from running for office under the US constitution. He has previously stated that he would do so even if he was charged. Historically, there are instances of individuals running for president while facing charges or even from a prison cell.

What may affect his chances is the amount of time that he will need to commit to dealing with the charges laid against him. To date, his campaign has been relatively quiet, but it will need to gain momentum in the lead up to the Republican convention in July 2024.

On March 25 and 26, Trump held his first campaign rally for the 2024 election at Waco, Texas. Despite predicting that he would be arrested, thousands turned up to show their support.

Claiming that the 2024 election would be “the final battle”, Trump criticised the prospects of potential challengers, such as Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, and stated that the investigation was like something out of Stalinist Russia. He told his supporters “from the beginning it has been one witch-hunt and phony investigation after another”.

Trump’s immense popularity with Republicans is unlikely to be damaged by any indictment resulting from the New York investigation. One poll showed that most Republicans believe that the investigation is politically motivated, while another indicated that most Americans think that Trump will be acquitted of the charges.

The Harvard/Harris poll shows that popular support for the charges is split along party lines – 80% of Democrats believe he should be indicted, while 80% of Republicans believe he should not. And 57% of Republicans think a trial could help Trump in the election run.

Republicans lawmakers have already come out in support of Trump. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that the indictment was an “unprecedented abuse of power”. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise tweeted that the charges were “one of the clearest examples of extremist Democrats weaponizing government to attack their political opponents”.

Even Trump’s potential rivals for the 2024 nomination have come out in support of the former president. DeSantis said the charges were “un-American” and a “weaponization of the legal system”, while Pence called the indictment “an outrage”.

For many observers, the question remains: why does Trump still figure so highly in the Republican polls after everything that has happened?

A Harvard/Harris poll from mid March, shows that Trump has increased his favourability among Republican voters to 50%, giving him a 26-point lead over DeSantis, if the presidential nomination was decided now. Former vice president Mike Pence is a distant third with just 7%. A more recent Fox News poll makes the gap between Trump and DeSantis to be even greater at 30%.

Worryingly for Democrats, those polled of all political persuasions give Trump a four-point lead over Biden. There is a glimmer of hope for the Democrats, though, in that 14% of those polled were undecided on either Trump or Biden. It’s a significant number, and those individuals will be key to deciding who wins the election in November next year.

Trump’s immense popularity with Republicans is unlikely to be damaged by any indictment resulting from the New York investigation. This is because the Republican Party is still the party of Donald Trump. His base support has never fluctuated since 2016. Many of them feel he stands up for them when no-one else does.

His Republican opponents, such as DeSantis, are trying to outdo Trump at being Trump. But they are pale imitations, and Trump knows this.

Earlier this year, Trump told the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference: “I am your warrior, I am your justice.” And they believe that. His supporters believe that he is the only person capable of protecting their values and way of life.

In a supporting speech at Waco, Trump-ally, Representative Marjorie Taylor-Greene said: “Trump is the man for the hour. He’s the only man who can take on Washington in the times that we live in.”

While the indictment might make some moderate Republicans rethink their loyalty to the former president, his base will back him to the bitter end.

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Top charting entertainment for the week

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Exciting times for fans of animation, and Ryan Gosling falls in style back to the big screen.

In streaming, superhero fans are astonished by the revival series X-Men ’97.

Invincible wraps up its second season on Prime Video, continuing to shock viewers with its hyper-violence.

Meanwhile, Ryan Gosling fans don’t have long to wait until The Fall Guy – a bombastic blockbuster that pays homage to practical effects and stunt work behind the scenes.

Filmmaker Rob Fantozzi provides his personal thoughts on the rise of adult animation and what to expect from Gosling’s explosive return to cinemas.

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Race against the clock, will AI destroy music industry with new app

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In the ever-evolving landscape of AI technology, Udio, a new AI music generator developed by former Google Deepmind researchers, has recently made its debut.

Udio allows users to craft songs from simple text prompts, offering customisation options for various musical elements such as length, vocals, and lyrics.

 

The Good:

  • Accessible Creativity: Udio democratises music creation by providing a platform where anyone, regardless of musical expertise, can generate personalised songs effortlessly.
  • Customization Galore: Users have the freedom to tailor every aspect of their composition, from the mood of the music to the emotional depth of the vocals, allowing for a truly unique musical experience.
  • Realistic Vocals: One of Udio’s standout features is its ability to produce vocals that sound remarkably human, adding an emotional dimension to the generated music.

The Bad:

  • Ethical Concerns: As with any AI-powered tool, there are ethical considerations surrounding the authenticity of AI-generated music and its potential impact on the music industry, including issues of copyright infringement and artistic integrity.
  • Limitations in Length: While Udio offers flexibility in customisation, its maximum song length is limited to around 90 seconds, restricting its utility for those seeking longer compositions.
  • Copyright Ambiguity: While Udio attempts to navigate copyright concerns by restricting certain song requests, the boundaries remain unclear, leaving room for potential legal disputes and confusion among users.

 

Despite its innovative capabilities, Udio’s arrival has sparked debates within both the music and technology communities. While some laud its potential to inspire creativity and broaden musical horizons, others caution against the ethical implications and potential drawbacks of widespread AI-generated music.

As Udio continues to gain traction, it serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing dialogue surrounding the intersection of AI technology and creative expression. Only time will tell how Udio and similar innovations will shape the future of music creation and consumption.

 

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U.S. tech giant email systems utilised by Russian hackers

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Russian government-backed hackers have reportedly exploited access to Microsoft’s email system, stealing correspondence between officials and the tech giant.

Key Points:

  1. Russian government-backed hackers exploited access to Microsoft’s email system, as per a directive from CISA.

  2. The directive warned of hackers using email authentication details to infiltrate Microsoft customer systems, including government agencies.

  3. This follows Microsoft’s acknowledgment of ongoing struggles against intruders named “Midnight Blizzard” and a separate hack attributed to China.

According to an emergency directive from the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released on Thursday.

The directive, issued on April 2, cautioned that hackers were leveraging email authentication details to infiltrate Microsoft customer systems, including those of unspecified government agencies.

This alarming revelation follows Microsoft’s acknowledgment in March of ongoing struggles against intruders dubbed “Midnight Blizzard.”

The cybersecurity industry’s concerns intensified further with a recent report from the U.S. Cyber Safety Review Board, attributing a separate hack to China and criticising Microsoft for cybersecurity oversights and lack of transparency.

While CISA refrained from naming affected agencies, Microsoft assured collaboration with customers and CISA to investigate and mitigate the breach. The Russian Embassy in Washington, historically denying involvement in hacking activities, did not respond immediately to requests for comment. CISA also cautioned that non-governmental organisations might have been targeted, urging customers to liaise with Microsoft for additional information.

 

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