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The referrals have been sent to the Department of Justice hoping that Attorney General Merrick Garland will press criminal charges. The referrals, which include “inciting or assisting an insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to make a false statement,” have no legal bearing – but represent the first time the House has ever referred a former president criminally.
Whether Garland chooses to bring charges against Donald Trump remains unclear. If Garland does decide to bring charges, it will be the first time a former president has ever been charged criminally (Richard Nixon was famously pardoned for his involvement in the Watergate Scandal).
The fallout from charges being brought against Donald Trump would be intense.
The Media would relish charges against Donald Trump
Trump has been the lynchpin of mainstream media coverage since the moment he rode down his golden escalator. Across the political spectrum, media outlets have come to be dependent on Trump – he drives clicks and views, and ad revenue.
And while most left-leaning outlets would likely resist acknowledging the truth – they need Donald Trump; deep down, they love Trump.
Just ask the Washington Post – the paper’s financial situation has degraded since Trump left office, as the mass layoffs that were just announced indicate.
Speaking generally, The Media has clung to Trump despite how drastically his relevance has decreased since leaving office. I mean, Trump’s choice of Mar-a-Lago Thanksgiving dinner guests was the biggest news story of the Fall quarter. Was Trump’s choice of dinner guests the most consequential happening of the Fall quarter? Not quite. But the media knows that when they need a quick hit, they can turn to Trump for a reliable spike.
I’m as guilty as anyone. Trump drives coverage. So, I write about Trump.
Anyways, the point is: if Trump were indicted, marking the first time in US history a former president was indicted, The Media would blow a circuit. Because when it comes to Trump, the media will make news out of nothing.
But Donald Trump being indicted would be real news. It would be treated as if OJ had killed Princess Di. It would drive an obsessive, zealous coverage for months and months, ensuring that Trump remained relevant.
The Left would relish charges against Trump – so would the Right
Politically speaking, a Trump indictment would probably be polarizing – like seemingly everything relating to Trump.
To the MAGA base, much of Trump’s appeal comes from the idea that Trump is an outsider, sent to drain the swamp. If the DOJ indicted Trump, the outsider notion would be reinforced; an indictment would represent the establishment formally going after Trump.
MAGA would cry witch hunt and rally around their chosen savior; for a portion of the right-wing population, an indictment of Trump would fully make Trump a martyr, he would transcend.
The left would feel validated in their quest to impeach/charge/smear Trump. An indictment against Trump would allow the left to say, ‘you see, we told you he was crooked.’
An indictment against Donald Trump would inflame liberal self-righteousness to an unbearable extent, proving once and for all that the liberal moral compass had pointed to true north all along.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.