Donald J. Trump has made history. He is officially the first person to run for president who has faced criminal charges.
We are truly in uncharted political and legal waters here.
Sadly, we do not have our best and brightest helping the country to navigate these dangerous waters.
Instead, we have vicious partisans on both sides, playing a dangerous zero-sum game—in which the outcome is not just the legal and political future of former President Trump, but the American republic itself.
Thus far, things are not looking good for America.
Jack Smith Strikes Donald Trump Again
Department of Justice (DOJ) Special Counsel Jack Smith, the bearded Svengali of Trumpworld, who Joe Scarborough of Morning Joe has unironically described as the “judge on [Star Wars: Andor]. He looks like the guy who takes the good guy from the Star Wars galaxy and throws him into jail for life,” is leading both investigations into Trump’s alleged misappropriation of classified documents as well as Trump’s purported leading role in the riots that besieged Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021.
Smith, who just recently added additional counts onto the more than 30 original counts of Trump’s alleged violations of the Espionage Act and subsequently attempting to obstruct justice in the classified documents case has again indicted the forty-fifth president.
This time, for his supposed role in the January 6 riots.
Jack Smith has charged Trump with four specific crimes in his January 6 investigation. The first is conspiracy to defraud the United States. The second is conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding. The third is obstruction of an attempt to obstruct an official proceeding. The fourth and final is conspiracy against rights.
Trump, who is already facing more than 30 years in prison if he were to be convicted in the classified documents case, could potentially face upwards of 20 years in prison if he were to be found guilty in Smith’s January 6 investigation.
Jack Smith’s investigation, by the way, is separate from another grand jury investigation underway in Atlanta that is specifically probing Trump’s purported attempts to pressure Georgia election officials into swinging that state’s election in Trump’s favor during their tabulation of votes in 2020.
All the storylines appear to be merging, though, as the legal hits keep piling on to Trump—and the severity of the impacts keeps intensifying with each hit Trump sustains.
Proving Trump’s Malign Intent
The indictment further details that the former president “was determined to remain in power.” From there, Jack Smith’s indictment of Trump explains that Trump spent two months following the 2020 Election spreading false information that the election had been stolen, despite eyewitness testimony from top Trump aides that, in fact, neither he nor they truly believed that the 2020 Election had been rigged or stolen by the Democrats.
These claims go toward proving Trump’s intent—which was, according to Smith, criminal.
Given all that the senior most Trump aides have admitted while under oath in the House of Representatives’ January 6 Committee hearings, coupled with the evidence that both Jack Smith’s investigation is yielding and the evidence that Fani Willis’ Atlanta-based grand jury investigation has found pertaining to Trump’s state of mind and his intent with challenging the election, the former president is in deep trouble.
This was what Donald Trump’s Democratic Party foes were waiting for: a chance to sideline the former president with his own words and actions in a spate of legal proceedings designed to stymie Trump’s bid for reelection in 2024.
Whether Trump bows out from the race is irrelevant.
The fact remains that Trump cannot possibly lead a successful presidential campaign—let alone win the presidency—with these legal crises hanging over him. In the instance of the Jack Smith investigations into Trump, one for the mishandling of classified information and the other for the January 6 riots, these cases will be tried in federal courts.
Donald Trump Faces Staggering Odds
It is true that a Trump appointed judge is controversially presiding over his classified documents case in Miami, Florida.
Although, the bulk of the lawsuits that the Trump Campaign in 2020 lodged at the state and federal levels challenging the results of the 2020 Presidential Elections were presided over by Trump-appointed judges.
Donald Trump lost all but one of those lawsuits.
There is no guarantee that the presiding judge over his classified documents case will rule in his favor, simply because Trump had appointed her to the bench while he was still president.
What’s more, readers should note that the conviction rate in federal court favors the prosecution, which seems to have compiled a compelling case against the former president. At a 90 percent guilty plea rate, Trump’s chances in federal court are not good.
Maybe he can beat the odds. And it certainly defies logic that a truly non-partisan Department of Justice wouldn’t simply wait until the election were over to charge Trump, so as to avoid any indication of bias. But it’s a bad look for the country to even be in this position, regardless of who is at fault in these cases.
It’s awful for our republic, that was once the greatest republic in the world and now increasingly looks like a giant banana republic.
Whatever happens next, our once-great institutions will be permanently damaged because of what has transpired here.
That’s the true tragedy in all these legal crises. Americans need to believe in their institutions, not lose even more faith in them. Neither Donald Trump nor Jack Smith are helping the cause of restoring faith in our hallowed institutions.
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.