Donald Trump is mad and he's plotting his revenge.
The former president is due to make his first public appearance since leaving the White House this weekend when he is slated to give a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC.
According to those close to him, Trump is set to make a statement about his control over the Republican party.
A long-time Trump adviser told the publication that Trump's speech would be a "show of force", and said the message will be: "I may not have Twitter or the Oval Office, but I'm still in charge."
He reportedly wants to remind others in the party – particularly those who did not bend to his will and deny the reality of the election result – that he is the "presumptive nominee" for the 2024 presidential cycle.
Even if Trump doesn't end up running in four years, he is reportedly determined to be the kingmaker of the party by leveraging his strong command over much of the Republican base – an influence that can be wielded to great effect in primary races when registered Republican voters choose who makes it on to the ballot.
According to Axios, some Trump allies believe he will simply continue to publicly flirt with the idea of running for president again but ultimately not follow through, because he knows the threat gives him leverage over other Republicans, as well as the thing he craves the most: attention.
The GOP is grappling with its future in the wake of the Trump presidency, with a majority of the party falling behind Trump and censuring those who have publicly acted against him.
But a war of words last week between Trump and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, the party's most senior member, shows the former president is more than happy to tear the party apart.
Trump suffers major blow over tax returns
While Trump busies himself with playing GOP puppet master, he faces ongoing legal woes that threaten to derail his future plans.
In a significant defeat for the 74-year-old, the Supreme Court on Monday (local time) declined to step in to halt the turnover of his tax records to a New York state prosecutor.
Trump’s tax records are not supposed to become public as part of the prosecutors’ criminal investigation, but the high court’s action is a blow to Trump because he has long fought on so many fronts to keep his tax records shielded from view.
The ongoing investigation that the records are part of could also become an issue for Trump in his post-presidential life.
The records sought by the state prosecutor include more than eight years of Trump’s personal and corporate tax records. It's not known why authorities have been working so hard to obtain the records but in one court filing last year, prosecutors said they were justified in demanding the records because of public reports of “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organisation”.
Part of the ongoing probe involves payments to two women — porn actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal — to keep them quiet during the 2016 presidential campaign about alleged extramarital affairs with Trump. Trump has denied the affairs.
In a statement, Trump blasted prosecutors and said the “Supreme Court never should have let this ‘fishing expedition’ happen, but they did.”
The court which made the decision includes three Trump appointees.
In a seperate case on Monday (local time), the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from the adult movie actress Stormy Daniels who sued former President Donald Trump for defamation. The decision leaves in place a federal trial court ruling which had previously dismissed the suit.
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