If Trump Is Convicted, How Will Biden’s Team Go on the Attack?

Normally, seeing your presidential opponent convicted of a felony would be a cause for celebration.

But here we are in 2024. As President Biden’s campaign and its closest allies wait for a potential verdict in Donald J. Trump’s criminal case in New York, they have come to a collective decision that even a conviction should not alter their plan to frame the election around their North Star issues of abortion rights and democracy.

At the same time, many Democrats are aghast at the idea that Mr. Trump could become a felon and the Biden campaign would not do everything in its power to remind voters of that fact.

This tension will define the Democratic reaction if a Manhattan jury indeed convicts Mr. Trump in the coming days, an outcome that could land like a thunderbolt for the nation’s news media and political class. No American political figure of Mr. Trump’s stature has run for president after being convicted of a crime, and there is no precedent for how to respond or how it would affect the 2024 election. If Mr. Trump is indeed acquitted or there is a hung jury, of course, the entire Democratic Party will try to move on as quickly as possible, even as he crows about vindication.

On Tuesday, the Biden campaign flashed its hand, holding a news conference outside the Manhattan courthouse where Mr. Trump is standing trial that featured Robert De Niro and two former U.S. Capitol Police officers. After the news conference, Mr. De Niro veered far off the script the Biden campaign wrote for him by directly addressing the prospect of a Mr. Trump conviction.

“The fact is whether he’s acquitted, whether it’s hung jury, he is guilty — and we all know it,” Mr. DeNiro said. “I’ve never seen a guy get out of so many things, and we all know this. Everybody in the world knows this.”

Asked if he thought Mr. Trump should be in jail, Mr. De Niro replied: “I sure do. Absolutely.”

The Trump campaign was quick to accuse Mr. Biden of pulling a political stunt.

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