GOP will be left 'defending the indefensible' in justifying Trump's 'autocratic power grab': analysis
Donald J. Trump speaks to guests at a rally in Greenwood, Neb. on May 1, 2022. (Right Cheer/Flickr)

The Republican strategy for defending Donald Trump against the House Select Committee hearings could lead the GOP even further into extremism.

Pro-Trump lawmakers are planning a media blitz to distract from the public hearings on the conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election to keep the former president in power, and CNN political analyst Stephen Collinson warned that could set the GOP onto a dark path.

"There are potential pitfalls for Republicans who stand with Trump as the lurid tale of violence, lies and autocratic power grabs is told again for the American people and for the benefit of history," Collinson wrote. "The evidence could be so damning that those who seek to discredit the hearings will find themselves defending the indefensible -- a dark moment of the American story that is so heinous it will live in infamy."

It's not clear what political impact the evidence will have, and most voters have already made up their minds about Trump after his four years in the White House, but the GOP's willingness to defend the former president to the bitter end shows that he maintains his grip on the party and its core voters.

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"Republicans have a much clearer route to power five months before the midterm elections than yet again appeasing Trump's autocracy," Collinson wrote. "They can simply blame President Joe Biden for the ills afflicting the country, given the disastrous political environment for Democrats as gasoline prices hit record highs and the cost of living soars."

"Anything that deflects from that goal seems unwise," he added. "There's also a risk that standing with Trump will brand the GOP all over again with the stain of defending a strongman who tried to overthrow a democratic election. That vision repeatedly punished the party when Trump was in power. And defending him could remind critical suburban voters all over again of just how extreme their party has become."