Americans on Thursday morning saw two contrasting images on television news, as though U.S. politics was again on a split screen.
One on side of the screen was President Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse set to vote on its own infrastructure plan Trump brings show to border Overnight Health Care: CDC director says vaccinated people are ‘safe' and do not need to wear masks | Federal judge temporarily blocks Indiana abortion ‘reversal' law | Fauci warns of ‘two Americas' due to widening vaccination gap MORE with first lady Jill BidenJill BidenThe Hill's 12:30 Report – Presented by Goldman Sachs – Charges expected against Trump Org. The Hill's Morning Report – Bidens to visit Surfside, Fla., collapse site Death toll in Surfside building collapse increases to 12 MORE, visiting Florida to comfort those who endured the horrific tragedy of a building that collapsed, while on the other side of the screen was today’s indictments involving the Trump organization and the surrender into custody of Trump’s long-term CFO, Allen WeisselbergAllen Howard WeisselbergTrump Org, CFO indicted by New York grand jury: reports On The Money: IRS faces 35 million unprocessed tax returns | Robinhood to pay record million settlement Anticipation of possible Trump Organization indictments builds MORE.
Let me emphasize one point, very strongly, at the outset. I offer no opinion about the legal innocence or guilt of anyone who has been, or may be, indicted on any matter involving former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump Org, CFO indicted by New York grand jury: reports Black Caucus presses Democratic leaders to expedite action on voting rights Judge blocks Florida social media law MORE or his business. All Americans are innocent until proven guilty by a jury of their peers and courts of law.
What I do offer as a strong opinion: the Republican Party faces grave risks in the midterm elections in 2022 from current and potentially future indictments of individuals and organizations associated with Trump.
What is happening today is a story about grand jury investigations, criminal indictments, criminal trials, and rumors (accurate or inaccurate) of future grand juries and indictments.
Major attention will focus on the impact, large or small, of these cases on the future of the Trump Organization itself — in particular the reaction of its major bank lenders who may, or may not, call in loans.
While the GOP is virtually dominated by Trump, and the news business is obsessed with dramatizing news about Trump to increase ratings and clicks, and major elements of social media sometimes go berserk with commentary about Trump both pro and con, allegations and civil and criminal trials involving many things Trump-related will now dominate the news for the next year, day after day, week after week, and month after month. Every time there is a development will create a moveable feast of media extravaganza.
Every Republican running for the United States Senate, the House of Representatives, and state and local office in the 2022 midterm elections can expect to be perp-walked by the media for instant comment about every major case, trial and verdict. Those who have run congressional campaigns know that this is a horrible prospect.
This creates a major dilemma for a GOP that is dominated by Trump. They will be under major pressure to praise and defend the former president, to appeal to Trump personally and his base. But in doing so, they run a risk of alienating voters who are not in the Trump and Republican base, which helps Democrats in midterm general elections.
Today’s indictments in the Trump organization case are only the beginning, with the grand jury having a six-month tenure for additional investigations and potential indictments.
There are concurrently investigations involving the Jan. 6 riots against the Capitol, which have already brought a significant number of charges against individuals with more almost certainly to come, including congressional hearings and investigations that involve committees with subpoena power that will also add to the intense media extravaganza surrounding everything Trump.
Which Trump associates, if any, will cut plea bargain deals to provide evidence against others close to Trump, or Trump himself? The most obvious person is Allen Weisselberg, but there may be others. Who else might be indicted in the case involving the Trump Organization, the Jan. 6 attack against the Capitol, and other potential cases?
With the Republican Party having staked its political future on the will and future of one individual, former President Donald Trump, there is huge risk in the potential onslaught of high visibility cases surrounding him.
Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives.
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