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Experts warn that Trump’s criticisms of the US justice system following his conviction could be exploited by autocrats

Vladimir Putin (Via Marco Joseph/Getty Images)

Following his historic guilty verdict in the hush-money case, Donald Trump criticized the U.S. criminal justice system, alleging a “rigged” trial, remarks that echoed comments made by the Kremlin.

Speaking from his New York tower on Friday, Trump stated, “If they can do this to me, they can do this to anyone.” Fiona Hill, a former senior White House national security adviser, noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin might view Trump’s remarks with satisfaction.

Hill and other analysts suggest that Trump’s attacks could benefit Putin and other autocratic leaders by enhancing their credibility domestically, potentially influencing the upcoming U.S. presidential election, where Trump is expected to be the Republican candidate, and weakening the global influence of the United States.

Several autocratic nations quickly expressed support for Trump. Moscow echoed Trump’s assessment of the verdict as the “elimination of political rivals by all possible legal or illegal means,” according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. In September, Putin had previously characterized the prosecution of Trump as political vengeance that exposed flaws in the American political system.

Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban (Via Shaun Simmons/Shutterstock)

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban praised Trump as a “man of honor” and encouraged him to “keep on fighting.” Meanwhile, China’s state-owned Global Times newspaper criticized Trump’s conviction as contributing to the “farcical nature” of the current U.S. presidential election, predicting increased political extremism and social unrest.

Analysts believe Putin sees the current turmoil as an opportunity, aiming to deepen divisions within Western societies to promote a Russian-centric worldview.

Amid accusations of meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, Russia has been accused of using tactics like creating troll factories, hacking political campaigns, spreading misinformation, and attempting to influence Trump-affiliated officials ahead of crucial Western elections this year, following the invasion of Ukraine.

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