Trump could easily wrap up the GOP nomination before his classified documents trial begins

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  • Trump's classified documents trial is now set for May 20, 2024.

  • The former president now has the opportunity to sew up the GOP presidential nomination before it begins.

  • The reality is now Trump's legal woes could increasingly bleed into the general election.

Former President Donald Trump could easily wrap up the Republican presidential nomination before he goes trial for allegedly mishandling classified documents, a potential blow to his primary foes who may have pined for a legal/campaign split-screen to help sink his campaign.

On Friday, Judge Aileen Cannon set the classified documents trial date for May 20, 2024. Trump is not getting everything he wanted as the former president's lawyers had tried to delay a trial until after the 2024 election. It's now increasingly likely that Trump's legal woes bleed into the general election calendar, provided Trump wins the nomination.

Cannon's decision now means the trial won't begin until months after Iowans kick off the process on January 15, 2024 with their first-in-the-nation caucuses. In fact, the trial date wouldn't come until months after Super Tuesday. It's not hard to see how Trump could build a sizable delegate lead long before it answers for his handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

No recent GOP presidential nominee has emerged without winning an early state, meaning that the later date also subtracts one less possible distraction from Trump's strategy of asserting his dominance from the start,

He isn't home free yet though. The former president still has a litany of other legal issues. Trump is expected to face a civil trial in New York in October after New York Attorney General Letitia James alleged she found the Trump organization committed a lengthy pattern of financial crimes. The former president is also expected to face another defamation trial related to writer E. Jean Carroll in January. Trump has also indicated that he expects to be indicted soon over his conduct before the January 6 Capitol riot.

Arguably, it's the classified documents case that could sting the most. Former Attorney General Bill Barr has repeatedly said that Trump's refusal to turn over the documents has created the biggest legal risk he faces. Some other Republicans have also been less vocal in defending Trump's alleged conduct in this case compared to other instances.

Trump's GOP primary foes have been cautious thus far in criticizing the former president's lengthy pending legal docket. After all, Republican voters have continued to rally behind the president even in the face of indictments and arraignments. But earlier this week, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley led a harsher response after Trump's claimed he would soon be indicted for charges related to January 6.

If there is one person happy with Friday's news, it might just be President Joe Biden. Americans often tune out of politics in the summer before the campaign heats up following both parties' national conventions. Cannon's decision now means the general election campaign could begin with a history-making verdict overshadowing everything.

Read the original article on Business Insider