Another Penny Drops. This Makes Four.

August 16th, 2023 by Tom Lynch

“This was an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.”

The ten words in the above sentence appear at the end of every one of the 161 criminal acts listed in the first of 41 Counts of this week’s expansive indictment of Donald Trump for his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia and promulgate his voter fraud lies.

So, here we are again. Another week, another indictment. This time it’s Fulton County, Georgia. This latest one contains qualities that are both different from and similar to the ones that came before it. Different in that:

  1. He’s been charged with leading a racketeering conspiracy under the state’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). District Attorney Fani Willis brought the charges, with their 41 counts of criminal felonies.
  2. Unlike his previous three indictments, this one alleges a conspiracy and also charges 18 other people. Some have become almost household names over the last couple of years: Meadows, Giuliani, Powell, Eastman. But the majority of those charged are only now having their moment under the arc light of infamy. The indictment alleges that all 19, led by Trump, comprise the members of the “criminal organization” that sought to overthrow the election of Joe Biden.
  3. And there are others—unindicted, co-conspirator “individuals whose names are known by the grand jury.” These folks comprise the current mob of deer in the headlights who participated in the organized conspiracy and now wait to see if their cooperation with Willis’s team will keep them free.
  4. Willis wants to try all 19 together at the same time beginning in approximately six months. This is hugely ambitious. Herding nineteen defendants with nineteen attorneys into the same corral-like courtroom will be quite a trick. Moreover, as Meadows is already attempting, the defendants, especially Trump, are going to try to move the case from the state of Georgia to the federal system. Why? For two reasons: first, doing so may get them a more sympathetic judge, perhaps one Trump appointed; second, if Trump is successful and wins the 2024 election he could pardon everyone at the stroke of his Flair pen. The optics would be terrible, but when has that ever bothered Donald Trump? He’s the odds on favorite to win the Republican nomination regardless of how much legal baggage he’s dragging behind him, and in the general election, as he already proved once before, anything can happen. But he can’t pardon himself or anyone else if he’s convicted in a state court.

Despite the completely new and different set of charges Trump is facing, there are some things that don’t change:

  1. The Republican Party, on the whole, is four square behind the former President. Its leaders are, predictably, reacting as they have to every previous charge: the Democratic Party, the White House, the Department of Justice and the FBI are engaged in full scale weaponization of the country’s justice system to get Donald Trump. I thought the reaction of Jim Jordan (R-OH) was particularly rich: “Today’s indictment is just the latest political attack in the Democrats’ WITCH HUNT against President Trump,” Jordan, who heads the House Judiciary Committee wrote on X. “He did nothing wrong!”
  2. Although new poll numbers aren’t out since the Georgia indictment, there is no indication that Trump’s MAGA universe, his Cult of Trump, which makes up 42% of the Party, is inclined to desert their hero and move to someone else.
  3. In what I find to be the most bewildering news to emerge from the latest indictment, even Republican leaders who condemn what Trump did in trying to steal the election say they will vote for him if he’s the Party’s nominee. Even Georgia’s Attorney General Brad Raffensperger, he of the infamous and recorded phone call with Trump, the one during which Trump asked, no, demanded he find 11,780 votes to put him over the top in Georgia, the one in which Trump threatened the AG with criminal prosecution if he didn’t do “the right thing,” the one which is central to Fani Willis’s RICO case against Trump, even Raffensperger said he would vote for Trump if his is the name on the Presidential ballot. It is obvious that the addiction to power, power in the hands of the Republican Party, is the real Trump card in this political game. This is the very definition of commitment. Circling the wagons is what politicians do best. And this is not to say Democratic leaders might not act in precisely the same way if Joe Biden were the one being charged, but that is almost impossible to imagine, because the country has never seen political corruption of this magnitude, at least, not in our lifetimes. Whatever Hunter Biden did, it pales into insignificance beside this cabal.

A hundred years from now, when most of these people are nothing more than obscure footnotes in an obscure Wikipedia entry, will our descendants have learned anything from this descent into politically chaotic hell? Will they have recognized what happened to us for the immorality it is? Will their “better angels” have prevailed?

It would be so interesting to be able to stick around to see how history treats this sorry time.