WORDS: 3,044 — No question the Jan. 6th Committee must investigate the insurrection completely. But should the goal be to nail Trump for some misdeeds and toss his overweight, overbearing, and authoritarian ass into jail, or should it all be only to afford legislative corrections for the future… and make the history books accurate? What exactly is to be gained by dragging Trump into a courtroom? Justice? Perhaps we should then ask ourselves the final question here, will the pursuit of justice be worth the pursuit?
What’s My Greater Point Here?
The nation is in a bit of a transitional mess.. politically, socially, and morally. An understatement for sure. Do we really need what will amount to an “O.J.” style judicial media frenzy-on-steroids smack in the midst of a world economy in upheaval, Russia’s war, trying to recover from a pandemic… and at home here higher prices at the pump exceeding all previous records, baby formula supplies faltering, food prices skyrocketing, a coming mid-term election with all the candidates jockeying for position in a completely divisive political environment.. both sides literally trying to grab or retain political power by stretching our right to even vote in order to gain an edge at the polls? The nation can’t even come to grips on what truth is, much less arriving at some level of truth in order to administer fair justice on those guilty of a crime. Alternative truth? Uh, huh. We had an insurrection attempt January 6th of ’01 where a good portion of Americans think it was only an average day of tourists… or blowing the smoke that it was all about some politician (Democrat of course) failed to defend the Capitol.
Let’s add to this already substantial mess the general mood of the American public… the not-so-undercurrent of percolating violent discourse, mostly Right Wing neo-whatevers. Perhaps spawned by the last decade or so of of the growing political grievance and advancing nationalism, then reaching a bit of a crescendo with the likes of Trump and Trumpism-inspired lies and false conspiracies, forcing a strong uncompromising national political and social divide. Then comes the inherent struggles of life in general in living inside a pandemic, a lockdown isolating the society…. the subsequent faltering of the economy… the current economic effects of that along with the Russian war kicking up the costs of living.. increased random gun violence… mental health aberrations across the board… global environmental impacts… each of these things adding to social stresses, living stresses. Even the family unit is being affected with contrasting political and social positions casing turmoil between loved ones. Toss all of this into a growing seething cauldron of public emotions at all levels… the upcoming mid-tern election, and then that result (no matter what the result may be) will inherently feed into the 2024 election. All these issues will be the social tipping stressors continuing over the next 2-3 years… at least. Not sure yet that some level of social violence is somewhere on the horizon? Simply listen to some of the Jan. 6th Committee witnesses when they speak of threats to their lives and lives of their families for doing nothing more than their jobs according to the law.
A bit of a side note… to help illustrate the intense divide within the country check out this commercial for KAYAK. Rather genius that they are using a satire of the current family conflict over political differences to sell their product.
Now.. ask yourself a question… is it going to be worth the inevitable deaths and likely destruction of property around the country to put Trump on trial… and maybe find him guilty?
Look, I Get It….
I felt every repulsive minute of the Trump presidency… far more about the man himself than any of his policies. MAGA has been idiocy from its inception simply on the moniker context alone. The man was elected on some electoral anomaly… losing the popular vote, itself certainly an indication of him being unpopular with the majority. His obvious and diagnosed behavioral dysfunctions aside, his narcissism, extreme authoritarianism, and incompetent experience was an embarrassment to the country. But in 2020 our votes limited his impact any further, and his last gasp in office was to try and discredit the election… but more importantly he tried to interfere in the proper transition of government… and brought nearly 30%-45% of the country into believing in that lie. Oh, yes.. I certainly understand the rage to hold him legally responsible. If for nothing else but for the ongoing abuse of power, he is not above the law and therein rests a strength of our Constitution.
Let’s not forget, the man went through two impeachments in the House for alleged improprieties regarding conduct in office. The first being an abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in events surrounding the hustling of Ukraine for personal gain in the days before the Russian invasion. The second impeachment was indeed for his role in the insurrection as a result of inciting a lie about 2020 election results. An impeachment normally weighs heavy with any president, and with the public and politically, yet not with Trump. These two impeachments, given all that has transpired on domestic problems, political “noise”, and world events since, has all but been forgotten. Yet his devoted supporters still encompass extreme Right Wing radicals, to typical nationalists, to all the way into “average” Americans who feel a grievance toward anything pertaining to government and/or its institutions. For them defense of Trump always includes the “whataboutism” comparisons with Biden, as if the debate about Trump is just about policy, which is not the case at all in establishing Trump accountability.
But let’s break all this down to understand the future risks if the inclination that the Jan. 6th Committee should lead to an indictment of Trump is pressed forward.
First, CAN He Even BE Charged With Anything? (Do We Bother?)
It seems that a number of possible “crimes” being suggested from the testimonies obtained from the Jan. 6th Committee require a measure of establishing intent… meaning, did Trump realize that he was doing something illegal. Not sure I understand that one given I’ve always been led to believe that ignorance of the law is not an excuse for breaking it. But apparently some legal minds are indicating that these crimes require some establishment of state of mind. He has some defense with the fact that he was listening to his legal advisors, and as we know, a couple of those guys were pushing Trump to move forward on pushing Pence to act contrary to his Constitutional position. Others were in fact trying to push him against all that.
The following is from a NYT article you can check out HERE in greater detail.
In a civil case related to the committee’s work, a federal judge concluded in March that Mr. Trump and a lawyer who had advised him, John Eastman, had most likely committed felonies in their effort to overturn the election. “The illegality of the plan was obvious,” Judge David O. Carter of Federal District Court for the Central District of California concluded in that case.
Judge Carter cited two crimes that he said the two men were likely guilty of committing: conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstructing a congressional proceeding. Members of the House committee have made similar suggestions, and some lawyers have contended that Mr. Trump could also be vulnerable to a charge of seditious conspiracy.But successfully prosecuting the potential charges suggested by Judge Carter and others could depend on establishing Mr. Trump’s intent — an issue that his statement this past week appeared to address with the argument that he believed his challenges to the outcome were grounded in legitimate questions about the conduct of the election.
Former Federal Prosecutor Renato Mariotti echoed similar speculation in a short CNN video clip interview on Smerconish, HERE .
“It’s very easy to tweet out or write an op-ed saying what people want to hear, it’s a very different thing to prove in a court of law.”
Yet certainly as we get more detail from Jan. 6th Committee testimony there is a growing emotional and actual factful impetus to want to see some indictments coming from the DOJ to address crimes by Trump and any of his complicit minions. While the growing pressure is on Merrick Garland to do indictments the expectation is that he indicts Trump for something. Indicting Trump’s complicit cohorts is a given, of course, and honestly Trump supporters could care less what befalls them. Trump people will presume that any charges levied against Trump are fraud, fake, unfounded, contrived, and the result of a hate-Trump conspiracy of the Liberal Left. After all, they believe in the Big Lie that Trump won in 2020… and that those election results should be reversed… and anything done to assure voter results in his win in the next election is justified. Use of violence an option.
So, to answer the “can he be charged?”.. likely that is a yes. But that does not assume he would be convicted. There is also the next consideration.
Second, SHOULD He Be Charged With Anything? (Should We Bother?)
Ah… now this is the big question. To try and answer that we would have to explore the sub-question… why would we NOT charge him if evidence supports it? For the sake of our discussion here let’s presume that Trump has enough evidence to be charged something.
No American is above the law, not even Presidents or ex-Presidents, hence if there is evidence of a crime having been committed then a person should be prosecuted, and of course given a chance to prove their innocense. Should a conviction be rendered then there is a process of appeals to assure proper review of evidence and Constitutional rights of the accused are maintained. This is a bedrock principle of our Constitution to assure justice for all. More important, this, plus our vote, makes us American.
Yep… as Americans this is what we are all about. But………………….
Third, Publicly, What Do We Expect If He Ends Up In Court? (What Do We Get In The End If We Bother?
……….there are some very serious considerations that we might consider before we decide to indict Trump over and above judicial requirements.
Given all the caveats to consider as I pointed out in the first couple paragraphs of this post regarding the political, social, and even moral mood of the country… the very possible likelihood of street violence, random violence into the once safe havens offered by our own neighborhood, the very apparent rise in Right Wing challenges to our democratic way of life, proliferation of guns along with the loosening of their regulations, and realizing that if the polls are to be believed that nearly 30%-35% of Americans have an intense grievance toward government and its institutions enough to consider non-Constitutional remedies, including violence…………… we might want to choose to reconsider charging Trump with anything, at least at this time. The alternative of a long and protracted judicial process, intensely media hectic daily, could suggest stress would lash out by damage and/or intentional destruction of property, and lives lost. The latter is important… we know people will die.
Given all the very possible ramifications of a Trump indictment (I mean.. imagine the huge outcry at the start over a possible release of Trump’s booking photo, which in itself would take on a life of its own across the entire planet.) every judicial step could be a trigger of some sort to his supporters. We should remember that part of that agitation sent to the more fringe elements of Trump supporters will also be the media reporting of anti-Trump Americans in a celebratory mood that Trump finally got nabbed for something. This could very easily split the nation more… and along more violent lines.
To Qualify This Thought…
At present Trump and/or his business is being investigated by a grand jury or two for other potential criminal activities. The following is a list of actions against Trump himself and/or his organization. Many of these are civil complaints… but a number are not. This list is compiled and maintained by LITIGATION TRACKER. (Hover over any selection below for a link to more information.)
I firmly believe that what will result in the greatest impulsive reaction from Trump World would be some indictment as a result of the Jan. 6th Committee given they are the villains associated as the epitome of Trump hatred and conspiracy theories of the Right. Keep in mind that the Committee knows full well that they much conclude their investigation before the mid-term election this November. Any indictment as a result of that investigation will be looked upon as being entirely political in order to disgrace Trump and Republicans prior to the election. Also, once an indictment is started a Republican/Trump controlled Congress cannot stop it. So any trial would likely run smack into the general election in 2024… thus affecting any idea of Trump running on that ballot… and threatening any Republican grab for the White House. A lot of tension will be at play.
So What’s The Best Action (Or Not) To Take?
- Indict Trump per the Constitution as evidence presents itself… or…
- …hold off indictment and try and save the country… and possible lives?
Here’s my thought…. if the goal is to keep Trump from getting elected back into the White House at any cost then we can consider his age for one thing. He’s now 76 and would be 78 in 2024. His health is risky. If he doesn’t succumb to some health malady that limits his ability to move or his faculties, he may not want the remaining days of his life in the White House. He really doesn’t like being there anyway because it’s not his plush domiciles. He’s not even crazy of Air Force One. He’s got an affinity to winning.. that’s all. This was entirely the reason for the Big Lie… he hates losing. He doesn’t want to go through that again. Perhaps of more notable importance… who will serve His Majesty once he gets into the White House? Everyone certainly knows by now that serving him likely means future Congressional scrutiny, testifying, subpoenas.. the world of criminal litigation… all due to his excesses while in office. No one will be lining up for his inner circle bullshit of constant chaos. This could be Trump’s greatest Achilles Heel…. no one willing to serve him if he does run in 2024. Certainly no one of any caliber, experience, or talent. He will face an “alone” presidency. Congress, even if entirely GOP, will know how to control him this time around. The man is done. Hence, the risk of a future with him in the White House is not important…. and coupled with his age… he’s done serving. Also because of his age.. he gets sent to prison and any sentence could be a “lifetime” sentence.. even if a “country club” prison. What will the nation have proved? The Constitution wins the day? Honestly, that means something to me. But again.. when it’s all said and done what will it have cost the country to get Trump into a courtroom?
Seems to me defending the Constitution is not always about beating some foreign enemy trying to challenge our democratic republic. Not every line of defense is on a battlefield somewhere… but maybe it’s also a line we opt to draw within ourselves to defend by asserting what we believe is our form of justice in order to preserve the Constitution from within. Do we refuse that line of defense because we think the nation will have some rocky moments? Even if those rocky moments means death for some and destruction for many? Do we accept… enforce… the Constitution without exception or do we make exception?
Let’s ask ourselves, how likely will people die in the event of civil disruption over Trump? In fact, by what method are they likely going to die? By guns, of course. Feel the irony here. The Founders gave us the Second Amendment to presumably defend ourselves from invading armies.. that now broadly interpreted by the Supreme Court allows for everyone to own one.. thus ensuring a lifetime of random civil unrest for any disgruntled reason.
But Trump still has a loud voice and it carries with 30%-40% of Americans… so far. Discrediting him among his believers is the best we can all hope for. While he’s wrapped up in a trial other GOP’ers, like DeSantis, who are campaigning, could end up jumping in to fill the void before 2024. It seems the nation still benefits even if Trump doesn’t get convicted. The battle will consume him and the public doubt will remain.
As for me… for now I am leaning that should the evidence reveal Trump should be indicted I support that in support of the Constitution. I have no desire to see it in some “hate Trump” retribution thing. As for my perception/prediction of the threat of civil unrest and death and damage in the event Trump gets charged and booked… I can only hope I am wrong in that prediction. Does that mean I am willing to morally accept even one death due to Trumpian-motivated civil unrest in order to see Constitutional justice against him is carried out? Since nothing is assured in any of this… I can only accept responsibility, moral or otherwise, for that which I have direct control. But the dilemma is apparent for anyone.