Trump Pleads Not Guilty

1

Earlier this week, former President Donald Trump entered a Miami courthouse to respond to criminal charges made against him by the Office of Special Counsel of the Department of Justice that, among other things, he violated the Espionage Act by knowingly mishandling classified documents that he kept upon leaving office and obstructed the government’s efforts to reclaim them.

The 37-count indictment against the former president — which provides detail regarding the charges of willful retention of national defense secrets, conspiracy to obstruct justice and the making of false statements in response to inquiries about them — are serious criminal charges. A conviction on any one of them could have significant consequences. Trump pled not guilty.

We feel like we’ve seen this movie before, even though we haven’t. Trump, who loves to claim he is the first person in history to do one thing or another, now has the dubious honor of being the first former president to face federal criminal charges. But part of the reason we feel a sense of déjà vu is that the federal indictment comes about two months after local prosecutors in New York City filed more than 30 felony charges against Trump in a case arising from hush money payments made to a porn actress before the 2016 presidential election. Trump denied those charges.


And we have been regularly reminded about two other criminal investigations that are being pursued separately from the New York and Miami indictments: First, a Justice Department investigation of Trump’s wide-ranging efforts to stay in power after losing the 2020 election, and how those efforts led to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. And second, an inquiry by the district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia, relating to possible election interference by Trump in the 2020 election.

Had anything of this magnitude happened to almost any other national politician a decade or more ago, the result would have been largely predictable. The politician would declare his innocence, bow out of public activity and pledge to devote his full time to support his family and to the necessary fight against the forces of evil that conspired to take him down. But that’s not how Donald Trump operates.

Trump’s approach is to confront his accusers, declare and repeat his own narrative of the facts that may or may not be grounded in truth, and ascribe improper motive to anything his opponents do or say. Trump is a master at playing the victim card. He has perfected an aggressive approach that enables him to strengthen support from his base and beyond notwithstanding accusations of serious malfeasance, and parlay that support into increased fundraising and higher poll numbers. We saw that result following the New York indictment and are seeing it again with the Miami charges.

But Trump’s multiple criminal indictments present an opportunity. Although the ever-expanding group challenging Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination needs to walk a careful line, the stage is set for the emergence of a credible alternative to Trump’s narcissistic narrative in which he considers himself not merely above the law, but wholly unlimited by it.

The Miami indictment is serious. Trump would be well-advised to take it seriously. And so should his supporters.

1 COMMENT

  1. Democracy depends upon the voters having the opportunity to vote for their chosen candidate. There has been a clear campaign over the past 7-8 years by the left, composed of Democrats, their handmaidens in the media, and its now obvious even our security agencies to eliminate one of the most popular people in the Republican party from running for the presidency.
    The latest plot, as outlined in the biased media, is that Trump mishandled intelligence information, just as did Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, and likely many other ex-presidents. The problem is that only one of these politicians has been singled out for prosecution, coincidentally in the middle of his presidential campaign. His likely opponent, Joe Biden has been shielded from detailed and confirmed evidence for almost five years indicating that he has sold his country out to foreign governments, including communist China. Biden himself has been involved in mishandling top secret documents and his investigation has been free of the Trump type of leaks and hysteria. Equal treatment under the law is a constitutional right for all of us, not just the people we like.
    This is election interference on steroids and its also the criminalization of the system by which we place people into the highest of offices. Invading a presidential candidates home, selectively indicting that same candidate for espionage, without evidence of damage to our national security, smacks of picking the Republican candidate for president by those who have no right to do so. An indictment is a one-sided presentation of guilt, a presentation that almost half the country believes is intertwined with crass politics. If you want a democracy that can function as such, stop the continual malicious attacks on those that you hate and fear. No democracy can remain stable with half the voters thinking their right to pick their candidates is not free from outside manipulation.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here