Donald Trump Has Been Indicted…Again: Former President Donald J. Trump has made a great deal of history over the course of his storied life and career.
Now, he can add twice indicted to his repertoire of greatest hits for history.
Charged with seven counts by a federal grand jury of violating multiple laws related to the improper handling of classified documents, Trump has taken to the airwaves to decry this as yet another in a long line of “total witch hunts.”
In the face of the federal indictment, the Trump Campaign has told news outlets that they are, “jacked up” and cannot wait to fight these new charges on top of the other charges that Trump faces, as they wage an already difficult reelection campaign.
This is sheer bravado.
Whether Trump can avoid jail time for this indictment will have to be determined over time.
For now, though, these charges are very serious. They are serious because Trump stands accused of having violated the Espionage Act and of having obstructed justice. Trump and his advisers know that these charges are unlike the Stormy Daniels and E. Jean Carroll charges.
What’s more, unlike the Russia collusion witch hunt (which was predicated on provably false claims), there is ample evidence showing that the former president was aware that he was deviating from the prescribed norms for declassification processes that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) had set down.
Ultimately, it is ridiculous that this case would even go forward. He was the president and can declassify things at his will. But, that process requires an actual executive order. The former president never issued such an order.
Let’s get real, though, it is obvious that the case is occurring because it is a political matter rather than a legal one.
More Than a Witch Hunt
But it is not a witch hunt.
A “witch hunt” implies there’s nothing to this investigation. In fact, there are many things that the special prosecutor, Jack Smith, was able to hang his legal hat on—notably repeated claims by former Trump advisers that they had briefed POTUS-45 of the proper declassification process as set out by the National Archives.
That is why Smith has gotten his indictment for Donald Trump.
Beyond that, the prosecution is using Trump’s own words against him. That, too, is another hallmark Trumpism. When it comes to outpacing his enemies, Trump is always able to outrun them when it’s a dirty scheme of their creation (such as the Russia collusion delusion or the overzealous 2019 impeachment trial over Trump’s somewhat “perfect” phoner with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy).
Sadly, it is Donald Trump who becomes his own worst enemy. This is a deep flaw found within the forty-fifth president’s character. And character, as they say, is destiny. Trump’s character will be his undoing.
Politico recently wrote that Trump failed to learn the final lesson from his mentor in politics, the late Red-baiting Republican lawyer, Roy Cohn. It was Cohn in the 1980s who taught Trump about how to handle the “Fake News” media: through contempt, confrontation, and bombast, just as Cohn had treated them.
The final lesson of Cohn, though, was that he was ultimately taken down by his antics. Cohn, like Trump, was his own worst enemy. People stopped being dazzled by the Roy Cohn show as much as they have ceased being mesmerized by the ongoing Trump drama.
Trump’s self-own that he took the classified documents in question to Mar-a-Lago instantly reminded me of Trump’s inexplicable decision to fire the quisling FBI Director James Comey (unbeknownst to Trump) shortly before Comey was going to be forced to clear President Trump of any suspicion in the Russia collusion case due to a combination of lack of evidence and flawed evidence collected by Comey’s FBI on the matter.
Taking to Lester Holt’s MSNBC show at the time, Trump defiantly decreed that he had fired Comey because of the FBI director’s Russia investigation.
Of course, the president can fire whoever he likes. And had he just said that, Trump would have mitigated any legal fallout and contained it to the political realm. Trump would have been better off firing Comey after the FBI director had officially cleared Trump.
But Trump, a septuagenarian who clearly lacks impulse control, couldn’t help himself.
He fired Comey and then claimed it was over his investigation into the Russia collusion delusion. Thus, Trump’s desperate and fiendish foes in Washington could make the case that the forty-fifth president was obstructing justice.
Hence, the Robert Mueller special counsel investigation that did so much damage to Trump’s first two years in office. Trump gave the Democrats and Political Class the knife with which to slice him up. It would not be the last time he did that.
There are more recent examples of how Trump’s legal problems have been exacerbated by his own behavior.
In the case of Stormy Daniels, again a grotesque overreaction by the prosecution (anyone other than Donald Trump would not have been charged in that “zombie case”), Trump’s own libidinous behavior brought that about. The former president insists he’d never have slept with Daniels. And that might be true. But he still paid hush money to her.
I understand that using money to make problems go away via a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) which is basically what Trump did is something rich people do, irrespective of their guilt. In politics, sadly, it’s guilty behavior. More importantly, the fact that Trump filed the $130,000 payment as “legal fees” on his tax returns, is why the partisan prosecutor in Manhattan was able to indict him in the first place for that alleged hush money payment to Stormy Daniels.
Meanwhile, in the E. Jean Carroll civil suit lobbed against Trump for allegedly sexually assaulting her in the 1990s and then defaming her publicly, Trump was made to pay $5 million for his comments because he couldn’t just keep his mouth closed.
Even after being made to pay that money, no more than a day later, Trump was at the CNN townhall meeting in which he proceeded to defame E. Jean Carroll yet again. Carroll is again suing Trump for defamation.
Donald Trump: Keep Your Mouth Shut
Similarly, Trump cannot seem to keep his mouth shut about the classified documents. He’s already admitted to taking the documents against proper protocols. Sure, other presidents have done similar things. But those other presidents weren’t being investigated the way that Trump is being investigated.
Trump is right when he whiffs that it’s not fair. Unfortunately, that fact is completely irrelevant to the matter at hand.
And knowing this doesn’t mean Trump should make dumb mistakes.
In fact, a wise and ruthless leader, knowing that he is surrounded by enemies, with but one path to escape toward more advantageous ground—in this case, winning an election—would be far nimbler and quieter in implementing his escape plan. Which, by the way, Trump’s reelection campaign is clearly that: an escape plan. Because, once in office, he will pardon himself.
As for the witch hunt component of this story: it is an obscenity that Trump is being dragged through the legal mud the way that he is. The current president, Joe Biden, also stands accused of mishandling classified documents.
Yet, he will never be held accountable the way that Trump is being held responsible for the document mishandling. Biden, unlike Trump, is part of the anointed Political Class (Trump was, in the formulation of gonzo documentary filmmaker, Michael Moore, a “Molotov Cocktail” thrown into the Political Establishment by the ailing Working-Class.
Biden is the defender of the status quo in America whereas Trump was clearly meant to shake things up—which he did.
Trump was never, though, viewed as one of the Republicans either. He was as much of a threat to the Bush wing that had dominated the GOP as he was to the Democrats. It made him appealing to many.
Trump the Dulled Blunt Force Instrument
But Donald Trump wasn’t an ideological conservative either. Trump was a blunt force instrument to beat the gilded doors of power down and bring fellow travelers into the government.
But once the doors were bashed open by Trump, the rush through the door never came. The cavalry did not ride in because they had not been called upon. Trump was unable to complete the revolution of the middle that he had triggered in 2016 because he never hired the right people.
Personnel is policy, as Ronald Reagan liked to say, and Trump never understood that fact. He was far too fixated on feeding his own ego.
Thus, Trump’s attraction is merely visceral to a small batch of voters today. He lacks wider appeal. That lack of appeal beyond the GOP base will likely eventuate into a victory for Trump in the Republican Primary (though I still fundamentally believe Ron DeSantis can beat Trump) and a defeat for the forty-fifth president—by hook-or-by-crook—at the ballot box in November 2024, handing the country over to another disastrous term of Joe Biden’s presidency.
Trump’s actions, rather than that of his awful enemies (and Trump’s enemies are truly evil), have brought him to this place. His sloppiness has created more problems than they are worth. And they will make him unelectable in the eyes of independent voters.
We Can’t Wait ‘Til ’28
The ideological blunt force instrument has dulled. A more surgical instrument is needed. That will never be Donald Trump.
If the Republicans lose in 2024, it will not only ensure that the GOP is a permanent minority party, but that the United States is made into a second-class world power, playing second-fiddle to the People’s Republic of China and their new authoritarian world order.
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.