Last week Palmer Report pointed out that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had suddenly become a major liability for Donald Trump and the Republican Party, because his trial was set to begin in September, just before the 2018 midterm elections. All of Manafort’s ugly dealings with the Russians while running the Trump campaign were going to be put on display just before everyone went to vote. Today the Manafort situation managed to get far worse for Trump and the GOP.
Manafort is in fact facing two separate criminal trials in two different federal court districts. Now it turns out the second Manafort trial just became the first Manafort trial, because its start date has been set for July 10th, according to CNN. The odds were already remote that the September trial might randomly get postponed beyond November, saving the GOP from election troubles. The odds of the July trial randomly getting postponed all the way past November are far smaller. The odds of both trials getting postponed past the election are infinitesimal. So the GOP is going to have to eat this, and it’s facing a series of very bad options.
Paul Manafort has long been deeply connected to the Republican Party and its financiers. So let’s hypothetically say that one of them had the leverage to pressure Manafort into cutting a plea deal, thus saving the GOP the trouble of having to try to get reelected while new Trump-Russia dirt is coming out at trial. Even in that scenario, Manafort’s plea deal would merely serve to put that dirt out there even sooner, and make Trump and the GOP even more non-viable heading into the midterms.
That leaves the Republican Party with only one remaining option, and it’s one that the party really doesn’t want to have to do: oust Donald Trump before the midterms and try to run for reelection on the premise that it took out its own trash. That might cause Trump’s base to retaliate against the GOP by staying home in the midterms. As it now stands, every Paul Manafort scenario is now a no-win scenario for Trump and the Republicans.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report