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Donald Trump will announce the 2024 presidential bid

Mr. Trump, who made an announcement at 9 p.m. Tuesday from his Mar-a-Lago estate, has fired back at critics within the party and potential rivals for the nomination in recent days, primarily Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose landslide reelection On Tuesday, he reaffirmed his status as the leading current alternative to Mr. Trump.

Despite signs of dissatisfaction with Mr. Trump, he enjoys broad grassroots support, has tens of millions in campaign money and a history of steamrolling competitors. He has demographically reshaped the GOP, attracted more working class voters, and fundamentally changed the party’s policy approaches on trade, China, immigration and other issues.

Now, at 76, he seems determined to avenge his 2020 loss to Joe Biden, who turns 80 on Sunday and has indicated he is seeking a second term in office. Mr. Trump continues to claim widespread voter fraud in that election. There was no evidence of such fraud and Mr Trump’s campaign and his allies lost multiple lawsuits trying to reverse the results.

“We’re taking that beautiful house back,” Trump said at a rally in Pennsylvania days before the midterm elections.

No former president in modern times has attempted such a comeback; the last successful was Grover Cleveland, who was denied re-election in 1888 but reinstated in 1892.

Mr. Trump is launching a new campaign as he faces several legal entanglements, including investigations into his business dealings, his involvement in efforts to overturn the 2020 results, and the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into presidential records and documents classified as classified and which he had stored in Mar-a-. Lago.

The announcement would put the Justice Department in the awkward position of launching an investigation into President Biden’s stated opponent, whom Attorney General Merrick Garland singled out in part because of his pledge to keep the agency free from partisan influence.

Senior Justice Department officials, aware that a Trump candidacy will test that independence, are considering how to proceed with investigations involving the former president, people familiar with the matter said, and whether special counsel should be appointed to oversee the unprecedented investigation into his handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

A special counsel appointed by Mr. Garland would have broad discretion over the investigation, even though Mr. Garland and other senior officials would still be involved in any decision on whether or not to prosecute Mr. Trump or his aides . An appointment, according to some current and former department officials, would protect against allegations that a decision to impeach Mr. Trump was politically motivated. Others warn against such a move, saying it would set an unnecessary precedent for appointing outsiders to handle any sensitive investigation.

Mr Trump has said he did nothing wrong with the documents and is casting it as an attempt to hurt him politically. He has raised millions of dollars through fundraising emails surrounding the investigation and other controversies.

His chief political committee had about $70 million in the bank by mid-October, which could be turned over to a newer super-PAC, Make America Great Again Inc., which is facing fewer restrictions on its spending. That money cannot be transferred to a new presidential campaign account, but can be used for advertising and other political activities to boost his candidacy.

Mr Trump wanted to announce his candidacy in the summer, according to several people familiar with the discussions. He awaited advice from aides who said it could divert the GOP’s chances of taking control of Congress. Mr. Trump almost made the announcement at a rally on the eve of the Ohio election, trying to capitalize on what many thought would be a Republican wave.

But the Democrats have held on to the Senate even before the December 6 runoff election in Georgia, and the expected GOP majority in the House will be smaller than expected. That has led to finger pointing and questioning about some of Mr. Trump’s high-profile recommendations and the overall role in shaping the political climate. In turn, he has blamed party leaders like Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.

Mr. Trump sensed a threat from 44-year-old Mr. DeSantis and has steadily stepped up attacks on him, calling him “Ron DeSanctimonious” and “an average Republican governor with great public relations.” The governor built a national profile fighting the Biden administration on Covid-19 policies and driving cultural issues.

Other potential Republican contenders include Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin — who has also been the target of criticism from Trump in recent days — former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Mr Trump has become convinced he can beat Mr Biden, aides say, and took the idea more seriously during the chaotic withdrawal of the current administration from Afghanistan in the summer of 2021. That episode, along with continued inflation and wider pessimism from voters on the direction of the country have weakened Mr. Biden’s position.

The Democrat feels bolstered by the interim results, aides say, and believes he can beat Mr. Trump again. A Wall Street Journal poll conducted at the end of October found that Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden were each 46% right in a hypothetical 2024 matchup.

Mr. Trump has put together a waiting campaign team for what could be a campaign team. Among those working for MAGA Inc. working, are executive director Taylor Budowich, Mr. Trump’s director of communications, pollster Tony Fabrizio and strategist Chris LaCivita. Susie Wiles, who oversaw Trump’s winning campaigns in Florida in 2016 and 2020, is also expected to play a top role in each campaign.

There are signs of Mr Trump’s weakening grip on the party.

An NBC News poll released just before the election found that three in 10 Republicans identified themselves more as a supporter of Mr. Trump than the GOP, up from 40% in the summer of 2021. Meanwhile, the share of people who identify as identifies as more supporters of the GOP than Mr. Trump rose in the same time, from 50% to 62%.

Aides to Mr Trump say they are confident he can fend off opponents, just as he defeated a large group of Republicans in 2016. At the end of July he gave a speech on crime policy.

“I told him if you want to talk about the past, talk about the past, but what we want to do is make people nostalgic and hungry for your track record, especially pre-Covid,” said consultant Kellyanne Conway. to get back to that economy, that sense of optimism and financial resources.”

—Sadie Gurman, Aruna Viswanatha and Chad Day contributed to this article.

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