Just how bad of a day did Donald Trump have yesterday? Federal prosecutors sent subpoenas yesterday to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and to an arm of his 2020 campaign, both involving an alleged Chinese operative – and it barely even made headlines, because so many other things were also going wrong for Trump yesterday. But make no mistake, these subpoenas are a big deal. They’re not just ugly for Trump, they’re ugly for the Republican Party itself.
By now you may have forgotten about Cindy Yang, the founder of the massage parlor chain that was busted earlier this year for being a front for a sex trafficking ring. What does this have to do with Donald Trump? A lot, even though no direct connection has been established between him and the parlors. Yang has been seen running around Mar-a-Lago taking selfies with Trump’s allies, and while that doesn’t establish a criminal link, it’s turned out to be enough for Mar-a-Lago to get subpoenaed, according to local newspaper the Miami Herald. It gets worse.
Donald Trump and Mar-a-Lago are going to have to cough up everything they have on Yang, which should be embarrassing at the least, considering how blatantly she set her sights on Trump’s fundraisers there. But the larger issue here may be the subpoena to Trump Victory, which is a joint fundraising effort between the Trump 2020 campaign and the Republican National Committee. Because the campaign has so thoroughly subsumed the RNC, it’s difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins – meaning that any Trump 2020 campaign finance scandals are now the RNC’s problem.
The Herald makes clear that Mar-a-Lago and Trump Victory are not the targets of the criminal investigation into Cindy Yang and her associates (she insists she’s innocent). But we all know the drill. If these subpoenas uncover any Trump financial crimes, they’ll be criminally pursued, even if they have nothing to do with Yang. If the Trump 2020 campaign gets busted for the endless financial scams it’s surely running, the damage to the RNC could be darn near limitless.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report