What to Know in Washington: Trump Stumps in Iowa Amid Legal Woes

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Republican frontrunner Donald Trump cast himself as the party’s best shot to retake the White House even as he faces another criminal indictment.

“The 2024 election is our last shot to save America, and there’s only one candidate, and you know who that candidate is,” the former president said Friday at the Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines, a gathering of Republicans in early-voting Iowa that brought together much of the 2024 field, including his chief rival for the nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Photographer: Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg

In his speech, Trump listed the accomplishments from his term, including renegotiating a trade deal with Mexico and Canada and appointing three justices to the Supreme Court cementing a conservative majority that repealed Roe v. Wade. The former president rattled off a series of polling numbers that showed him beating President Joe Biden and highlighted his wide lead in early-voting states.

“While DeSanctous is losing to Biden in all cases, I wouldn’t take a chance on that one,” Trump said.

The dinner was the first time Trump and DeSantis were in the same venue in Iowa since the governor entered the race as a less polarizing alternative. But DeSantis has struggled to chip away at Trump’s lead, with the RealClearPolitics average of polls showing him trailing by 34 percentage points.

Read more: DeSantis Blasts Biden at Iowa Dinner

DeSantis, who spoke earlier at the event, avoided mentioning Trump, instead touting his record in Florida. Stephanie Lai recaps the remarks.

Trump’s appearance at the event comes as he braces for yet another indictment, this time in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s probe into the aftermath of the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Trump’s polling and fundraising have spiked after prior indictments as his fervent base and prominent Republicans have rallied to his support.

Today however, political group Save America is set to disclose that Trump’s political action committee spent $40.2 million on legal costs in the first half of 2023 to defend the former president, his advisers, and others, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The figure is substantial enough that the PAC has requested a refund on a $60 million contribution it made to another group supporting Trump, signaling a potential money crisis for the campaign. Mario Parker previews the PAC’s report.


  • Biden has no public events scheduled today.

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Politics, Probes, and 2024

DeSantis to Unveil Economic Agenda in Bid to Revive Campaign

Republican presidential contender Ron DeSantis will call for faster growth, unleashing US energy production, and further decoupling from China, outlining his economic vision in a speech today aimed at reviving his flagging campaign.

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What Else We’re Reading

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To contact the reporters on this story: Giuseppe Macri in Washington at gmacri@bgov.com; Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kayla Sharpe at ksharpe@bloombergindustry.com

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