A week like this could break Donald Trump

(CNN) — The bad week that former President Donald Trump has been in is bad news for his return.

His family business was convicted Tuesday of criminal tax fraud. On the same day, his handpicked candidate lost a Senate race in a Republican state that he could have won. The January 6 House committee has decided to recommend criminal charges against the Justice Department, possibly against him or his close associates. And his call to end the Constitution has again cornered the Republicans.

So many premature political obituaries have been written for Trump that it would be foolish to write him off as he embarks on his third straight run for the White House.

But it is becoming increasingly difficult to understand how the man who rewrote the manual of American politics can recover from weeks like this.

“I think Georgia, after this midterm election, after what happened in 2020, can be remembered as the state that finally broke Donald Trump,” said CNN political commentator Scott Jennings, a Republican, after CNN projected that Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock would win a full six-year term.

Jennings is not a Trump supporter, but he is an astute follower of Republican politics.

“Losing Georgia in the presidential election, losing the Senate race, this is not a state that Republicans should lose,” he said.

Walker’s defeat, despite a massive infusion of cash from Republicans in Washington and the support of recently reelected Republican Governor Brian Kemp, a Trump antagonist, provided Republicans with another painful reminder that their election losses General elections occur when election deniers and Trump allies take on general election voters.

“Every Republican in this country should hold Donald Trump accountable for this,” said Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, noting that the difference between Walker and the Georgia Republicans who won state offices this year was Trump’s involvement. He said that the party must change course to remain competitive.

Witch hunt?

Two Trump companies could face $1.6 million in fines 1:54

Trump would say that all mishaps are part of a “witch hunt,” but that may be a harder phrase to use against a jury of peers than it is against public officials.

And it’s harder to say the case against his companies is flawed when it’s based on the testimony of the former CFO he worked with for decades.

The Trump Organization was found guilty on all counts, which stemmed from a years-long scheme in which prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said generous benefits were paid to Trump employees but went unreported. to the tax authorities as revenue.

Neither Trump nor his family were personally charged in this case. But Trump and three of his children face a separate civil lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general that likely won’t go to trial until next October.

Many shades of scrutiny

They reveal unpublished video of congressional leaders during the attack on the Capitol 7:04

The scrutiny that the New York authorities applied to the finances of the Trump company has produced these convictions for tax fraud.

An even bigger question coming to its conclusion is whether scrutiny by the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack and the Justice Department will lead to federal criminal charges for their effort to quash the 2020 election and his inspiring role for the US Capitol protesters.

The January 6 panel may recommend that the Justice Department bring charges against Trump or his allies, and CNN has reported that panel members have broadly agreed that Trump and some of his closest associates committed a crime by promoting a conspiracy to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.

But the committee, which includes outgoing Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, is divided on what to do.

What kind of criminal charges?

Commission chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, said Tuesday that members would issue recommendations to pursue criminal charges, but gave no further details, saying the panel has not narrowed down the universe of people who can be referred.

As CNN reported, the commission went so far as to appoint a subcommittee of members to assess “how to present evidence of possible obstruction, possible perjury and possible witness tampering, as well as possible criminal referrals to the Justice Department, according to multiple sources familiar with the work of the Justice Department.” commission”.

A recommendation for criminal charges by the committee, which could come alongside its much-anticipated final report and just before an incoming House Republican majority shuts down the investigation, could help focus a sweeping Justice Department probe. about the effort to annul the election and about the riot.

“We know that the commission has really gotten ahead of the Justice Department,” CNN’s Jamie Gangel said Tuesday, noting that the Justice Department has sought testimony and evidence gathered by the January 6 commission.

Help suspected troublemakers

Instead of focusing on the upcoming election, Trump remains fixated on his 2020 loss.

Among his few appearances since announcing a 2024 candidacy is an effort, via video, to help raise money for a group that helps people prosecuted by the government for joining riots on Capitol Hill.

Trump’s obsession with his 2020 loss continues to drive his public statements and is complicating his plan to consolidate power in the party and clear anticipated GOP primary challengers out of the way.

The call to end the Constitution is not well received

Trump asks to change the US Constitution, why? 1:59

The bizarre call in a post on his Twitter-like platform Truth Social to end the laws and Constitution in favor of a replay of the 2020 election continues to resonate with a party whose rhetoric is often built around loyalty to the sacred founding documents of the nation.

“It would be very difficult to be sworn in for the presidency if you are not willing to uphold the Constitution,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday.

There is little surprise in the Kentucky Republican’s criticism of Trump. But the wiles of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy are more revealing.

A divided Republican Party

Pence and DeSantis sound like virtual rivals to Trump 2:23

McCarthy’s mission impossible is to find 218 votes out of 222 House Republicans to win the speaker’s gavel when the House votes in January.

His problem is that the far right of the party, the 40-or-so Trump-aligned Freedom Caucus members, want assurances that he will take a risk-ignoring approach to using the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip in government funding. He needs your support and is having trouble getting it.

In this context, the California Republican only said: “I fully support the Constitution” when asked about Trump’s call.

Other top Republicans were caught off guard when asked by CNN about the comments.

Rep. Steve Scalise, the No. 2 Republican in the House of Representatives and a possible replacement if McCarthy can’t win Republican support to become House Speaker, said he doesn’t support completing the Constitution when it was read to him. Trump’s comments.

“After the Bible, it is the most important document in the history of the world,” the Louisiana Republican said, declining to comment on whether the former president should stop denying the election.

Scalise and McCarthy are relatively mainstream Republicans and Trump’s recent company has become more extreme, such as when he dined with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and anti-Semitic rapper Kanye West, now known as Ye.

That was the controversy last week. But this week is off to just as bad a start.

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