Donald Trump’s Legal Problems Just Got Worse
Author: Greg Valliere
May 19, 2021
IT’S A SURE BET that Donald Trump will rip into liberal New York prosecutors today for conducting a “witch hunt” against him. His supporters will agree, but in private a growing number of Republican leaders in Washington are bracing for months — or years — of criminal probes that will distract voters from the GOP agenda.
LAST NIGHT’S ANNOUNCEMENT by the New York Attorney General’s office that she’s investigating potential criminal charges, not just civil cases, was significant because the AG will now be cooperating with the NYC district attorney, who has been focusing on criminal activity.
SEVERAL HIGH-PROFILE WITNESSES have talked with prosecutors, including Trump’s son Eric, his former attorney Michael Cohen, and the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, Alan Weisselberg. Potential charges include payments to women Trump allegedly had affairs with, and the inflating of his assets to secure loans, while under-stating those assets for tax purposes.
IT’S PROBABLE THAT CHARGES WILL BE BROUGHT but Trump is a master of dragging out court proceedings while demonizing prosecutors as biased against him. These New York cases could take years to resolve.
SO WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE REPUBLICANS IN WASHINGTON? About a third of them are passionate Trump supporters, eager to please their constituents. But the other two-thirds will tell you — in private — that Trump is more trouble than he’s worth, a huge distraction from the GOP agenda. The leader of this camp is the Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell.
McCONNELL’S NIGHTMARE is that the Republicans’ prospects in the 2022 elections — good in the House, fair in the Senate — will be obscured by Trump’s legal problems (which may eventually include charges of election tampering in Georgia and inciting a riot in Washington D.C.).
TRUMP WILL CONTINUE TO DEMAND BLIND LOYALTY from Republicans, but McConnell has other ideas. He sees an agenda taking shape — opposition to President Biden on immigration, tax hikes, spending, Israel, inflation, social issues, etc. Unlike Liz Cheney, McConnell won’t hammer away at Trump in public, but in private he wants Trump go away.
BUT TRUMP WON’T GO AWAY: Intoxicated by his passionate base, convinced that he won the election last November, Trump wants another term as president, even though he can read the polls — there aren’t enough centrist voters to elect him in a general election. Yet he is willing to rip the party to shreds in an effort to win another nomination.
COULD SOMEONE UNDER INDICTMENT, potentially facing jail time, win the GOP nomination in 2024? After the last few years, nothing would surprise us — but our sense is that while a Republican could win the presidency in 2024, it most likely would not be Donald J. Trump. That’s why party leaders are taking such a careful look at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who could sweep the Sunbelt, from the Carolinas to Arizona.
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