NEW YORK — Face to face in court on Monday with his fixer-turned-nemesis Michael Cohen — the witness whose testimony is key to New York prosecutors’ criminal case against him — Donald Trump seemed determined to project that he was unworried, if not unbothered.

After all, he was up in the polls.

“The New York Times just came out with a poll that shows us leading everywhere by a lot,” Trump said, waving a stack of papers in the air, his first public words Monday as he held his morning gaggle in the courthouse hallway.

He wasn’t just merely up in five out of six key battleground states, as the newspaper’s latest survey found, but “in Nevada we’re leading, actually, by 12 points, which is generally a Democratic state,” Trump said. “I think we’re leading in New Jersey — we had a rally of over 100,000 people this weekend.”

Trump wasn’t ahead in New Jersey, a heavily Democratic state he lost to now-President Joe Biden by more than 15 percentage points in 2020. And his weekend rally on a boardwalk along the Jersey shore — while drawing a sea of thousands upon thousands of red MAGA caps — likely did not generate six-figure attendance numbers. But despite Cohen offering potentially damning testimony against him in court — the place he has been confined for much of the last month — Trump’s overall political prospects on Monday hardly appeared grim.

And the former president’s demeanor during the day’s court proceeding was markedly different than last week, when porn star Stormy Daniels testified. Trump on the first day of her testimony grew so visibly angry that the judge intervened.

On Monday, after initially — briefly — shifting in his chair and rolling his eyes as Cohen took the stand, the former president promptly restrained himself. For hours, Trump took in the testimony with his eyes shut, nearly reactionless, moving only occasionally to scratch an itch, whisper or pass a note to his attorney, read a document or glance at the computer monitor in front of him before going back to his shut-eye pose.

Across the room, Cohen, the state’s top witness, was seeking to make the case against the former president, calmly delivering his testimony as the district attorney’s office, but not yet Trump’s lawyers, questioned him extensively about his years-long role as a personal attorney and fixer for Trump. Cohen spoke of “tasks” that he said he carried out at Trump’s request to protect Trump’s financial, personal and political interests, recalling details like Trump’s comment that a Playboy model he reportedly had an affair with was “really beautiful,” and a porn star he had sex with was a “beautiful woman.”

Such a trial against a former president is historic and unprecedented, and it has disrupted Trump’s ability to campaign, constraining him to a courtroom for days on end over the past month. But it’s also a criminal case that Americans already see as weaker than Trump’s other legal woes. And despite headline news about the trial continuing for nearly a month now — and economic conditions improving for Biden — Trump’s lead in battleground polls hasn’t budged.

Monday’s testimony came on the heels of his massive weekend campaign rally, in which he drew thousands of supporters to Wildwood, New Jersey, a conservative area in the Democratic state. It’s the latest in a series of blue-state visits Trump is making as he argues, with limited to no polling evidence, that his lead against Biden is so strong that states like New York, Virginia and Minnesota are also in play for him this year.

Trump is scheduled to speak at a GOP fundraising dinner in Minnesota on Friday — a day the judge has agreed to cancel court so he can attend his son’s high school graduation in Florida — before traveling to Dallas on Saturday to speak at a National Rifle Association convention.

But before Trump returns to the campaign trail this weekend, he’ll have to withstand additional critical testimony from Cohen — perhaps spanning as long as two more days. And despite the subdued demeanor of both Trump and Cohen on Monday, tensions could still flare between the two former allies. Both men had taken to publicly eviscerating the other ahead of trial, until the judge instructed each to stop.

The Trump defense team’s cross-examination of Cohen will likely be designed to elicit a much different response than the measured, reasonable-sounding testimony the prosecution wants jurors to hear from Cohen.

Cohen, a convicted felon who served time in federal prison related to Trump hush money payments and other crimes, has admitted to lying under oath on multiple occasions, including to Congress. Key to Trump’s defense is his lawyers’ ability to convince the jury that Cohen is not a credible witness.

Trump is bringing an entourage of allies with him to court each day, a group on Monday that included GOP Sens. J.D. Vance of Ohio and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, among other elected officials. On Tuesday, his former Republican primary rival Vivek Ramaswamy is scheduled to attend court with Trump, a spokesperson for the biotech entrepreneur confirmed.

As Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) did last week, Trump’s team of surrogates on Monday held their own press conference midday outside the building, decrying the conditions of the courthouse and the merits of the trial in video clips campaign officials would share online throughout the afternoon.

After restraining himself in court all day, Trump blew off some steam after walking into the hallway to address reporters Monday afternoon — “storming out of the courtroom,” as he has routinely put it in recent fundraising appeals.

“They’ve kept me here for three and a half, four weeks, instead of campaigning,” Trump said, again waving a stack of papers that contained positive commentary and news stories his staff had compiled for him. “Yet, we still have the best poll numbers.”

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