Michigan Republicans, Democrats react to Donald Trump's guilty verdict

"We witnessed the political lynching of Donald Trump today," said Kristina Karamo, the former Michigan Republican Party chair and a die-hard Trump supporter.

Karamo is standing firm behind the former president, who was convicted on 34 felony charges on Thursday in his hush money trial. She says this legal process was actually quite political.

"In our elections, the people have a right to elect whoever they want, and what’s happening is now the waters are being muddied because people don’t know – is he going to be in jail or not?" Karamo said. "That’s going to heavily impact the outcome of the election, potentially in Donald Trump’s favor."

The guilty verdict comes at a time when the state GOP is already hindered by party infighting, Karamo said, which even led up to her removal as chair.

"Many people realize how corrupt our justice system can truly be; how our justice system can be weaponized against political foes," she said. "I’ve experienced something very similar in my chairmanship, where the judge actually smirked and laughed. How the majority of the committee supports me, but hey he’s going to rule the way he feels anyway."

On the other hand, constitutional law attorney Steven Winter said the Trump convictions show that the rule of law must be applied fairly to everyone.

"It’s quite clear that Donald Trump has always thought of himself as being either above the law or being Teflon," Winter said. "It doesn’t feel like it, but this is really actually a great day for democracy – that the rule of law has and will continue to run its course and the appellate court will have its say. And if there are any errors in the trial, the appellate court can overturn it, but that’s all part of how the system ought to work."


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How will the conviction influence the 2024 election?

Many are left wondering – how does the verdict impact Trump’s ability to campaign for a second term?

"Constitutionally, there’s no bar on him running for president or being elected president," Winter said. "It gets complicated in theory if he were behind jail, behind bars and having to serve as president behind bars but I think that’s really unlikely anyway. Most people I think expect the just not to sentence him to actual jail time."

Aaron Tobin, the executive board member of the Oakland County Republican Party, said he thinks most Americans are going to see the guilty verdict as outrageous. 

"It's the clear weaponization of the justice department by the Biden administration," he added.

Tobin called the whole trial a form of election tampering, and says president Biden is the one who should be charged.

However, Democrats disagree. Some even gave a nod to the jury who handed down the verdict.

"My initial reaction to the news is that my hat comes off for the people that were on the jury," said Greg Bowens, a Democratic strategist with Bowens & Co.

The timing of it all – does it help or hurt the former president?

"The strategists are saying ‘they just got President Trump elected.’ This is going to boost President Trump amongst the people that were sitting on the fence," Tobin said.

"It’s more difficult when you think about electing somebody who's been convicted of a felony. The polls have shown, particularly among independents, that a plurality of them would not want to vote for somebody that's been convicted," Bowens said.

Trump is set to be sentenced on July 11.

"All the money that he has, all the power that he has, all the influence that he has was not enough to sway 12 regular folks about the charges that he was facing," Bowens said.

The former president knows his way around an appeal – likely to come this time around too, a chance to avoid jail time.

"I see this as being appealed. I think a high school teacher that has a background in law can see that this suit is full of holes," Tobin said.


Trump guilty: Michigan GOP, Dem leaders both call it 'A sad day for America' - for different reasons

Over the course of a month, the 12-person jury heard testimony about sex and bookkeeping, tabloid journalism and presidential politics in a case using novel concepts never done before.