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The History Department's visiting scholar Ben Goossen gives interview with DW about Trump's charges over classified documents

News from Jun 13, 2023

Interview from Friday, June 10, 2023.


Full Transcript

Visiting Professor at the John F. Kennedy Institute Ben Goossen appeared on DW News on June 9 to comment on the federal indictment of former United States President Donald Trump. DW anchor Anja Kueppers-McKinnon asked Goossen about the significance of the indictment for US politics.

“This supercharges the role of the legal jeopardy that Trump faces within the larger context of the 2024 presidential election,” Goossen said. “Trump has already been using the legal jeopardy that he faces to make allegations that this is part of a larger persecution of the political right in the United States.”

Kueppers-McKinnon asked Goossen whether the indictment would aid Trump’s bid to return to the White House. “It certainly makes it very likely that the political news cycles will be very much focused on Donald Trump, and that is a position that he thrives in,” Goossen said. “It makes it extremely difficult for his rivals who are fellow candidates for the Republican nomination to know quite how to deal with a situation like this where Trump has historically been quite successful at mobilizing the idea that his own legal challenges are very much something that the Republican base in general should be lining up to support.”

Kueppers-McKinnon asked Goossen whether Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence, would be forced to defend Trump. “It will be very interesting to see how Mike Pence addresses this particular issue given the break that he has recently had with Donald Trump,” Goossen said, “but he still has to be very careful tiptoeing around the base that Trump has amassed and that remains apparently very committed to Donald Trump. It seems that Trump can do no wrong in the eyes of a pretty significant percentage of the US-American electorate.”

Kueppers-McKinnon concluded the interview by asking Goossen to comment on the historical significance of the indictment. She inquired whether the federal charges against the former president represent an erosion of US democracy or a strengthening of it. “It’s certainly a very concerning moment for American democracy because it raises the possibility that in the future, we will see more legal proceedings against former politicians, including individuals who have held the highest office in the land,” Goossen said. “That raises a number of concerns at a time when the independence of the American judiciary has increasingly been called into question. On the other hand, it’s absolutely essential that the rule of law prevails in this instance and that the legal proceedings are continued to their final conclusion, because it’s very important that Trump is shown to be liable under American law just like any other person who resides in the United States.”

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