There’s a new wrinkle, involving Gov. Ron DeSantis, in the saga of former President Donald Trump.
A major obsession among Trump lovers and Trump haters is trying to figure out if the Manhattan district attorney’s office will secure an indictment against the former president.
Politico Playbook, the insider Washington newsletter, pointed Thursday to a little-known provision of Florida law that gives the state’s governor authority to order an investigation into “the situation and circumstances of the person” in question “and whether the person ought to be surrendered” to another state.
DeSantis is one of the nation’s most outspoken supporters of Trump. It was Trump’s support of DeSantis that propelled him to the 2018 Republican gubernatorial nomination and landed him in the governor’s office.
And, as DeSantis contemplates a 2024 run of his own for president, he is trying to position himself as the most MAGA-friendly heir to Trump.
Meanwhile, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has been dogging Trump since before he left office. He secured a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that gave his investigators access to Trump’s tax and financial records for a wide-ranging grand jury investigation into bank and tax fraud.
Trump bought and renovated Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, long before he became president, and in 2019 he declared it was officially his residence after he decided he no longer wanted to call his native New York home. Born in Queens, Trump built an image of himself as a savvy Manhattan real estate mogul.
Since Jan. 20, he’s run his post-presidency from there, issuing statements and delivering occasional speeches to groups of guests in which he rails about the 2020 election. Trump continues to falsely claim the only reason President Joe Biden won is because of widespread voter fraud.
If Vance’s office secures an indictment of Trump while he’s at Mar-a-Lago, the question could land in DeSantis’ lap.
Florida statutes state that “When a demand shall be made upon the Governor of this state by the executive authority of another state for the surrender of a person so charged with crime, the Governor may call upon the Department of Legal Affairs or any prosecuting officer in this state to investigate or assist in investigating the demand, and to report to him or her the situation and circumstances of the person so demanded, and whether the person ought to be surrendered.”
To the extent DeSantis can do anything to help Trump — or appear to help Trump — it’s hard to envision DeSantis easily going along with New York and allowing extradition of the former president. Going along with extradition would infuriate Trump’s MAGA supporters — the very people DeSantis needs for his own re-election next year and any future presidential candidacy. Helping to fight it would undoubtedly earn praise from those same people.
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Politico Playbook reported that Palm Beach County law enforcement officials have had meetings about how to handle the issue if Trump is indicted. “The statute leaves room for interpretation that the governor has the power to order a review and potentially not comply with the extradition notice,” Joe Abruzzo, Palm Beach County Clerk of Courts, told Politico Playbook.
It might not come to that. It’s possible, Politico Playbook reported, that if Trump is indicted his attorneys could negotiate a surrender.
And Florida’s summer weather could play a role, making the discussion moot.
Mar-a-Lago traditionally closes down after Memorial Day. The wealthy Palm Beachers who are members of the club don’t hang around Florida during the steamy summer months. Trump hasn’t been expected to summer in South Florida either, and reportedly plans to take up summer residence at his Bedminster, N.J., golf club, one of several golf properties with the “Trump National” brand name.
New Jersey’s governor is a Democrat.