Trump’s Indictment: Shameful Beyond Words

June 9th, 2023 by Tom Lynch

Well, here we are, heading straight down the long and winding Donald Trump Rabbit Hole. And, once again, the man is sucking all the air out of the room known as the United States of America.

By now, everyone knows the ex-president is the first ex-president to be charged with a criminal felony, and, right now he has 37 of them strapped to his back, including violation of the Espionage Act, which carries a prison sentence of 20 years. As far-right Fox contributor Mark Levin said last night, “Donald Trump is 76 years old. If convicted he will die in prison.”

And Levin may be right. This time is for real. The United States vs. Donald Trump is now.

Yesterday, the entire congressional Republican Righteous Right and its base lined up to condemn the persecution, torment and torture of Donald Trump. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, a paragon of hypocrisy with a backbone of soft as a sneaker full of puppy poo, said about the at-that-point-unsealed indictments, “Today is indeed a dark day for the United States of America. House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable.”

He was right about the “dark day” part, and most Republican members of congress echoed the “weaponization of power accountable” part, even with the poor syntax. There is fury within the Republican beast, and McCarthy must keep tossing it meat.

But all that posturing was before the Justice Department unsealed the charges in its 44-page indictment at 2:00pm today. And they are damning in the extreme. It is going to be hard for anyone, regardless of political persuasion, to defend Donald Trump anymore. Oh, they’ll try, but whatever screed they shout will disappear in the winds of fate. I urge every one of my readers to read the indictment. It is American History in the making.

Trump now faces:

31 counts related to withholding national defense information;

4 counts related to concealing classified documents; and,

2 counts related to false statements made to the FBI.

That totals 37 felony charges related to the mishandling of classified documents. Here’s a taste. According to the indictment’s paragraph 6:

6.a. In July 2021, at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, during an audio-recorded meeting with a writer, a publisher, and two members of his staff, none of whom possessed a security clearance, Trump showed and described a “plan of attack” that Trump said was prepared for him by the Department of Defense and a senior military official. Trump told the individuals that the plan was “highly confidential” and “secret.” Trump also said, “as president I could have declassified it,” and, “Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.

6.b. In August or September 2021, at The Bedminster Club, Trump showed a representative of his political action committee who did not possess a security clearance a classified map related to a military operation and told the representative that he should not be showing it to the representative and that the representative should not get too close.

The indictment says that Trump appeared to be proud of the materials he retained and eager to show them off as keepsakes. “Isn’t it amazing?“ he asked a visitor to his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., after showing off Iran intelligence, boasting that military commanders “presented me this.’ Trump said he randomly took the papers off ‘a big pile,’ suggesting he had many more.

Paragraph 66 of the indictment is particularly problematic. Here, the indictment recounts how, according to his lawyer’s words, Trump made a “plucking motion” that implied, “why don’t you take them with you to your hotel room and if there’s anything really bad in there, like, you know, pluck it out.”

The indictment details 31 highly classified documents that Trump has kept at his resort. They included information about the military and nuclear capabilities of foreign countries, White House intelligence briefings, a country’s support of terrorist attacks against the U.S., and U.S. military contingency planning.

The US Plan of Attack on Iran was left lying around at various places and various times in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort where anyone could have, and probably did, see it.

In a particularly stinging portion of the indictment, Trump’s own words about the importance of protecting classified documents are recited. The Indictment recounts him saying, “We can’t have someone in the Oval Office who doesn’t understand the meaning of the word confidential or classified.” He also said, “In my administration, I’m going to enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information. No one will be above the law.” He said all that during his campaign in 2016 against Hilary Clinton. “But her Emails!”

Special Prosecutor Jack Smith held a short and terse news conference at 3:00pm today announcing the indictments and paying tribute to the prosecutors in his office and the FBI agents who have worked on this case for 14 months. He made a point of emphasizing that the defendant, Trump, is absolutely presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law by his citizen peers.

We should remember that. Thus far, the only thing Donald Trump has been convicted of is sexually abusing E. Jean Carroll. That conviction happened four weeks ago.

Trump still faces the possibility of being indicted in Georgia for attempting to change  Georgia’s results in the 2020 presidential election in his favor. And then there’s New York where he is already indicted for alleged financial illegality.

The indictment unsealed today is full of Trump’s own words. If he is convicted of any of this, it will be his own words that do it.

This has been a shameful day in America’s history.