By Andrew Malekoff
Donald Trump is facing charges of putting our military men and women in danger. A federal indictment shows the former president mishandling, hiding, and flaunting America’s most dangerous secrets including nuclear secrets and war plans. There has been very little push back from members of the Republican Party, even in the face of Trump’s documented admissions of guilt as memorialized by one of his own attorneys.
For example, in paragraph 54 of the indictment, Trump made the following statement to one of his attorneys after being told that he needed to demonstrate compliance in response to the May 11 subpoena regarding any remaining classified documents that remained at his residence:
“I don’t want anybody looking. I don’t want anybody looking through my boxes, I really don’t. I don’t want you looking through my boxes. Well, what if we, what happens if we just don’t respond at all or don’t play ball with them? Wouldn’t it be better if we just told them we don’t have anything here? Well look isn’t it better if there are no documents?”
No analysis necessary. It is all there. He was playing “hide and seek” with regulators and his own lawyers.
It appears that a large segment of the Republican Party, traditionally super supportive of law enforcement, has decided that Mr. Trump is above the law despite his alleged crimes of betrayal against the U.S. If you recall, 21 House Republican ingrates, many of whom never miss an opportunity to express how strongly they “back the blue,” voted against awarding the Congressional Gold Medals to the officers who responded so valiantly to the Jan. 6th assault on democracy.
There are men and women who have declared their candidacy for 2024 and refuse to wholeheartedly condemn Trump’s actions regarding our nation’s top secrets. With few exceptions they act like cowards running for second place, refusing to confront the frontrunner with the truth, and defend the Constitution like the true patriots they pretend to be.
As for his intractable base, Trump repeatedly says, “In the end, they’re not coming after me. They’re coming after you — and I’m just standing in their way.” Sadly, with true believers objective truth is always runner-up to Trump’s lies.
Trump continues to cultivate the ground to incite political violence. It is the same messaging, in the same ballpark as “be there, will be wild” and “stand back and stand by.” It is always Trump dropping his moldy bread crumbs, often through innuendo, and playing martyr for his adoring acolytes, who deep down he detests.
Messaging like this serves two purposes for Trump. First, to justify hundreds going to jail after Jan. 6, when he returned to his swanky secret document depot at Mar-a-Lago. Second, to galvanize his domestic terrorist troops for combat in the face of a cascade of indictments that have come and are coming his way.
Much of Trump’s base exists in an echo chamber and believe Trump’s lies. So much for critical thinking. Maybe the book banning crowd eliminated critical thinking from the curriculum as well. Most of the republicans in Congress know better. Nevertheless, the political capital and lure of the grift is so great, as well as the potential for authoritarian power it can bring, that it is more than enough for them to crush democracy through any means necessary, including threats of terror and acts of violence.
Someone with the screen name 1776take2 wrote on the pro-Trump messaging board known as “The Donald,” “MAGA will make Waco look like a tea party, I’m not laughing any more. Just buying more ammo.”
Trump’s defenders adhere to the principle that if the facts are against you, pound the law. If the law is against you, pound the facts. And if both are against you, pound the table. For example, failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate and Trump sidekick Kari Lake leads the way, playing on people’s deep-seated grievances, with ominous warnings for those who would dare hold Donald Trump accountable for his blatant criminality.
“I have a message tonight for Merrick Garland, and Jack Smith, and Joe Biden,” Lake said during a speech to Georgia Republicans on June 9. “If you want to get to President Trump, you’re going to have to go through me, and you’re going to have to go through 75 million Americans just like me. And I’m going to tell you, most of us are card-carrying members of the NRA. That’s not a threat, that’s a public service announcement.”
Do I need to spell it out? She is not hinting at anything. She is unabashedly threatening opponents of Trump with gun violence. Trump and his political allies like the unhinged Lake have no shame.
On Instagram, Donald Trump Jr.’s fiancé Kimberly Guilfoyle posted a photo of the former president with the words, “Retribution Is Coming,” in all capital letters.
“Eye for an eye,” wrote Rep. Andy Biggs, Republican of Arizona, in a post on Twitter on June 9.
These are all people, if the tables were turned and the same scenario regarding criminal mishandling of classified documents were played out under a democrat president, would be up in arms calling for that president’s head. No doubt about it. But this is not about justice or allegiance to the Constitution or fidelity to the American people. It is only about money and power.
Fomenting violence is the next step in Trump’s arsenal, as it was on Jan. 6. He has more than enough confederates in the U.S. Congress and certain media outlets to help him amplify the message that gives organized groups and lone wolves the opportunity to stew and plan.
Trump is leading the way toward a path of normalizing politically-inspired violence, all in the service of maintaining his immunity. He has always been impervious to the law. He is creating a permission structure for violence and he does not believe anyone can stop him.
Read the full text of the Trump indictment in classified documents case: