Why Roe’s demise and Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony represent fundamental ‘forks in the road’ for Donald Trump: journalist

Why Roe’s demise and Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony represent fundamental ‘forks in the road’ for Donald Trump: journalist

Although many people who have been close to former President Donald Trump have faced criminal charges — from Paul Manafort to Michael Cohen to Steve Bannon to Michael Flynn to Roger Stone — Trump himself has repeatedly escaped accountability. Trump has survived two impeachments, the Mueller report and a long list of other probes and investigations, yet maintained an iron grip on much of the Republican Party.

Trump enjoys so much support in the GOP that most Republicans are afraid to openly criticize him. And he has a very good chance of winning his party’s nomination if he runs for president in 2024.

Given all that, it isn’t surprising that even some of Trump’s most scathing critics on both the left and the right have been skeptical about the possibility of the January 6 select committee damaging him in any significant way. But in a think piece published by Politico on June 30, Founding Editor John F. Harris argues that two events may represent “forks in the road” with Trump: (1) the Tuesday, June 28 testimony of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson for the select committee, and (2) the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

READ MORE: Prominent conservative lays out some damning reasons why the possibilities for 'prosecuting Trump' are seriously 'expanding'

“At first blush, the Supreme Court’s decision striking down Roe v. Wade doesn’t have much to do with the startling revelations produced by the January 6 select committee,” Harris explains. “Thanks, then, to Donald Trump for helping us get quickly to second blush: The ex-president himself seems to understand that the two are linked in a profound way, going well beyond the coincidence that not one, but two, monumental stories came crashing down near-simultaneously.”

Harris continues, “Both stories move the national debate into arenas in which tactics that Trump has used so often and so skillfully in the past are far less likely to be effective. These tactics include denial, distraction and counter-accusation — all harnessed to the reality that modern political culture has trouble distinguishing big matters from small or staying focused on any matter for very long.”

Trump, Harris notes, “fears the overturning of Roe will have a negative political rebound for Republicans.” But Harris cautions that “skepticism is warranted for any predictions that this or that controversy spells doom for Trump.”

“There have been countless such controversies and predictions in the seven years since he first announced he was running for president and began his domination of national discourse,” Harris observes. “But there is a specific way the January 6 revelations, and even more so the Roe v. Wade repeal, are different than scores of earlier uproars and obsessions. Both represent clear forks in the road on matters of fundamental national policy. People are being asked to walk one path or the other, with a vivid awareness that to walk down one path or the other will have large and lasting consequences for the nation, and even for themselves as individuals.”

Harris stresses that Trump, going forward, will be linked to the Dobbs decision, as the three justices he nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court all voted to overturn Roe: Neal Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett in 2020.

“The Supreme Court’s declaration that there is no longer a constitutional right to abortion now puts the issue squarely in the political realm, where it is likely to remain for years to come,” Harris observes. “About one in five pregnancies in the United States ends in abortion. The country is now in the midst of a debate involving basic questions of rights and values in an intimate sphere of everyday life. What’s more, the fact of this national debate is understood, by all sides, to be a central part of Trump’s legacy — it would not have happened without the three justices he appointed contributing to a 5-4 decision.”

Harris also points out how much of a flip flopper Trump has been on the abortion issue.

During a 1999 appearance on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” Trump described himself as anti-abortion but pro-choice, saying, “I hate the concept of abortion. I hate it. I hate everything it stands for…. But I just believe in choice.”

That was before he ran for president in 2016, openly courted the Christian Right and conveniently became anti-choice in order to win over the White evangelical vote.

“Two breathtaking developments — one at the Supreme Court, the other across the street at the House select committee — have sent American politics into a whole new realm,” Harris writes. “By experience and temperament, this is not a realm in which Trump is well-equipped to prosper.”

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