Donald Trump excludes his former competitor Haley as his running mate. Today there could be a showdown in the Trump trial – key witness Cohen will probably give a statement. All news about the US election in the ticker.

Monday, May 13, 2024, 7:35 a.m.: In the criminal trial against Donald Trump in connection with hush money payments to a porn actress, the former US President is scheduled to meet key witness Michael Cohen for the first time in the trial. As US media consistently reported, Trump’s former personal lawyer is scheduled to testify in New York this Monday. Cohen is seen as a central figure in establishing a direct link between the now 77-year-old and hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Cohen is also a risk for the public prosecutor’s office: The defense is likely to try to portray the person with a previous conviction and the person convicted of making false statements as untrustworthy. It has not been officially confirmed that Cohen will testify. The New York court does not publish the witness schedule in advance for security reasons.

The prosecution in New York accuses Trump of wanting to improve his chances of winning the 2016 US presidential election by paying $130,000 in hush money to porn actress Daniels. Although the transaction itself was not illegal, in returning the money to Cohen, Trump falsified business documents to conceal the actual purpose.

This is the first criminal trial against an ex-president in US history. Trump faces several years in prison, which could also be suspended, or a fine. The case could influence the US election campaign. Trump wants to be re-elected president in November. He has pleaded not guilty.

Convicted liar as key witness

Cohen is at the center of the proceedings. He once became known as Trump’s legal cleanup, but has turned against him in recent years. Cohen asserts that Trump instructed him directly to pay the hush money. During the opening arguments, Trump’s defense portrayed him as someone driven by a desire for revenge who had already lied under oath.

Cohen, now 57, had already pleaded guilty in 2018 for his role in the hush money payments to Stormy Daniels – and served a prison sentence for, among other things, making false statements. In 2018, Trump was still US President and was not prosecuted by the public prosecutor. Important witness David Pecker initially testified at the trial in New York. The former editor of the Trump-affiliated newspaper “National Enquirer” confirmed the prosecution’s narrative that Cohen and he were supposed to suppress negative reports on Trump’s behalf before the 2016 US election by buying the rights to them. Last week, porn star Daniels herself took the stand and gave an unflattering and detailed statement about having sex with Trump.

Sunday, May 12, 2024, 10:13 a.m.: Speculation has been going on for months as to who will be Donald Trump’s running mate in the race for the White House. Now the ex-president has ruled out a possible candidate – his former competitor Nikki Haley. “Nikki Haley is not being considered for vice president, but I wish her all the best,” the Republican wrote on Saturday on the platform he co-founded, Truth Social. The announcement doesn’t really come as a surprise since Haley had repeatedly criticized Trump. Still, it is strikingly clear, because choosing Haley could have proven tactically smart for Trump. Before Trump’s post, the Axios portal reported that Haley was being considered by Trump’s team as a possible running mate.

The former US ambassador to the United Nations fought a week-long duel with Trump in the internal Republican primaries for the presidential nomination, but had no chance and ultimately gave up. The 52-year-old sharpened her profile through the duel. After dropping out of the race, she did not stand behind Trump. Things had become quiet around her in the past few weeks.

Nevertheless, her name was repeatedly mentioned in reference to Trump’s “running mate”. Because it could have appealed to a more moderate electorate that Trump may have scared off with his rhetoric and behavior. At the same time, she is hated by die-hard Trump supporters. Both Trump and Haley would have had to do a lot of convincing to sell themselves as a duo. It would also have been more than questionable whether Haley would have been available at all.

For months, various names have been circulating about who Trump could bring to his side. It remains to be seen whether he will proceed strategically or whether he would prefer to choose someone who is absolutely loyal to him. The names of Congressmen Elise Stefanik and Tim Scott keep coming up. The governor of the US state of North Dakota, Doug Burgum, is also in discussion. However, one person may have been eliminated recently: the governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem. She bragged in a book about shooting her dog, Cricket, causing outrage.

The November presidential election will come down to a neck-and-neck race between Trump and Democratic incumbent Joe Biden. The 81-year-old Biden continues to rely on his deputy Kamala Harris as his so-called running mate.