Trump trial veepstakes? Trump allies show up in force ahead of Michael Cohen's second day of testimony


Former President Donald Trump’s unprecedented trial in Manhattan is also featuring support from GOP lawmakers and politicians who have been floated as potential running mates for Trump’s 2024 run. 

Outside the courtroom Tuesday, Trump was flanked by North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, Florida Rep. Cory Mills and former 2024 GOP contender Vivek Ramaswamy on Tuesday, all of whom are defenders of the 45th president and could be in the running as potential vice presidential picks. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson also notably appeared in support of Trump’s battle against 34 counts of falsifying business records, Fox News Digital reported. 

“Vivek is here right now, so he can speak for himself – he said ‘This is a sham trial. It’s politically motivated. It’s an assault on the leading candidate for U.S. president.’ … He’s going to talk to you. The speaker of the House is here. We have Byron Donalds, Cory is here. We have a lot of great people here to talk to you,” Trump said outside of the courtroom Tuesday. 

MICHAEL COHEN TESTIMONY TO CONTINUE AFTER EX-LAWYER REVEALS SECRET RECORDINGS OF TRUMP IN NY TRIAL

Trump speaks outside court in blue coat, yellow tie

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media alongside his lawyer Todd Blanche at his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to an extramarital affair with Stormy Daniels, at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 14, 2024. Former U.S. President Donald Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial.  (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The lineup comes after the former president was joined Monday by Ohio Sen. JD Vance, who has also been floated as a potential running mate, New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, and his son Eric Trump. Eric Trump is also in court with his father again Tuesday. 

Trump allies outside Manhattan court including Sens. JD Vance, Tommy Tuberville

Several members of Congress listen to former President Donald Trump address the Pool Press outside the Manhattan Criminal Courtroom during trial in NYC May 13 2024. Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records related to the hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. He has pleaded not guilty and denied a relationship with Daniels.  (Mark Peterson/Pool via REUTERS)

Trump is back in court Tuesday for his 17th day of the trial, where the court is expected to again hear from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. 

MASSIVE TRUMP BEACH RALLY IN DEEP-BLUE NJ DRAWS STARK CONTRAST TO BIDEN’S BEACH WEEKEND: ‘BIDEN COULD NEVER’

Monday was an action-packed day in court, hearing testimony for the first time from former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen. The case focuses on Cohen paying former pornographic actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 to allegedly quiet her claims of an alleged extramarital affair she had with the then-real estate tycoon in 2006. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels.

Speaker Johnson in courthouse with Trump

US Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (C R) listens as former President Donald Trump (L) speaks to reporters as he arrives to attend his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, on May 13, 2024. Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen returns to the witness stand on Tuesday for what is expected to be a tough grilling by the ex-president’s lawyers at his historic hush money trial.  (MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

TRUMP BLASTS ‘HIGHLY CONFLICTED’ JUDGE AFTER MICHAEL COHEN’S FIRST DAY OF TESTIMONY WRAPS

Prosecutors allege that the Trump Organization reimbursed Cohen and fraudulently logged the payments as legal expenses. Prosecutors are working to prove that Trump falsified records with the intent to commit or conceal a second crime.

Michael Cohen in courtroom sketch

Michael Cohen is questioned by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger during former U.S. President Donald Trump’s criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City, U.S. May 13, 2024 in this courtroom sketch. (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg )

Cohen took the stand Monday morning, where he detailed to the court that he spent his own funds to pay Daniels $130,000 in order to execute a non-disclosure agreement and obtain rights to her claims of the affair. In October 2016, according to Cohen’s testimony, he told Trump that Daniels must be paid in order to quiet her claims ahead of Election Day the following month. He testified that he spoke with Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg about how to fund the payment, with Weisselberg saying he was not in a position to initially foot the bill. 

Cohen said he did not discuss the matter with his wife, and decided to gather funds through a home equity line of credit instead of drawing the money from his personal account. 

MICHAEL COHEN TESTIFIES HE SECRETLY RECORDED TRUMP IN LEAD-UP TO 2016 ELECTION

Cohen’s testimony also included how he secretly recorded Trump in 2016 regarding another payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal. McDougal also claimed having an affair with Trump in 2006, which the 45th president has repeatedly denied. Former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker purchased exclusive rights to her story to bury the claims ahead of the 2016 election, according to trial testimony. 

Vivek Ramaswamy at primary debate

Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy will participate in his own town hall event next week the same night that CNN is set to host a Republican presidential primary debate in Iowa.  (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Cohen said he secretly recorded Trump in September of 2016 to share with Pecker as proof Trump planned to reimburse Pecker for purchasing the potentially damaging story, according to the testimony. Cohen added that in addition to easing Pecker’s mind that he would be repaid, he also made the recording in order to keep Pecker “loyal” to Trump. 

TRUMP, DEFENDERS SHOW UP IN FORCE AHEAD OF COHEN TESTIMONY

Trump supporters in background, blurry Donald Trump in foreground

Supporters of former President Trump stand outside courtroom on May 13.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The large showing of Trump allies this week comes as Trump has played coy with the press as to who he will select as his veep pick, only telling the media the selection will be made ahead of the Republican National Convention in July. 

“This weekend, we had 15 people. … They’re all out there campaigning,” Trump told Spectrum News 1 Wisconsin last week after a closed-door fundraiser in Florida. “It might actually be more effective this way because, you know, every one of them thinks they could be chosen, which I guess possibly is so.”

MICHAEL COHEN’S CREDIBILITY ISSUES, BRAZEN TIKTOK USAGE RAISE MEDIA EYEBROWS AHEAD OF TESTIMONY 

JD Vance looks away from camera

Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, warned his Republican colleagues that the proposed Ukraine aid bill could be used to impeach former President Trump if we wins re-election in November. (Getty Images)

MICHAEL COHEN EXPECTED TO TAKE THE STAND AS NY V. TRUMP TRIAL RESUMES

On Monday, Vance, Malliotakis and Tuberville held a brief press conference outside of the court, where they railed against the gag order imposed on Trump amid the trial, which prevents him from speaking publicly about witnesses and family members of court officials. Trump was found in violation of the order on 10 separate occasions, resulting in a combined $10,000 fine, with presiding Judge Juan Merchan warning Trump could face jail if he continues to violate the order. 

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“The thing that the president is prevented from saying, which is a disgrace, is that every single person involved in this prosecution is practically a Democratic political operative,” Vance said. 



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