Docu Drama

He’s back. Well, really, he never left. He has dominated our national attention since he rode the Trump Tower escalator into a presidential race and our communal consciousness. His presidency felt as if OJ’s white Ford Bronco chase had lasted four years, and his current and future legal woes mean the Bronco just smashed into our amygdala, taking up valuable parking, setting off blaring alarms, and triggering an endless leak of toxic sludge. Every time we think he’s out of our gray matter, news events pull him back in. And he we are again. He did the crime. But we’ll do the time. From AP: “Donald Trump’s indictment on charges of mishandling classified documents at his Florida estate represents the most serious legal jeopardy so far for Trump, coming less than three months after he was charged in New York with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. Here’s a look at the charges.”

While this indictment is huge on its own, it’s miniscule compared to the looming investigations into Trump’s incitement of the Jan 6 insurrection and his extensive efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. We don’t need to dig through boxes at Mar-a-Lago to find evidence of these efforts—we witnessed them in real time. Among other crimes, the latest indictment accuses Trump of violating the Espionage Act – which covers a lot more crimes than just spying. As concerning as that is, I’m even more worried about another act, the one being perpetrated by Trump’s eternal enablers who know full-well who he is and what he’s done but who continue to cravenly pretend he is the victim of some weaponized government attack. It’s sad, pathetic, weak, and cowardly, but it’s also dangerous for the country.

Unsurprisingly, Kevin McCarthy has been the worst of the offenders. His take: “Today is indeed a dark day for the United States of America. It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him. Joe Biden kept classified documents for decades. I, and every American who believes in the rule of law, stand with President Trump against this grave injustice. House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable.” McCarthy knows “a President” didn’t indict Trump, and that this is not a “grave injustice.” But he’s more concerned about maintaining the support of the most rabid elements of Trump’s base than he is with the good of the nation. It’s a familiar story and a bottomless pit. And McCarthy is representative of many in his party who are clinging to this notion of the US government being weaponized against Trump, when they know as well as you do that January 6 was a literal example of Trump inciting a weaponized mob against the government. Even Trump’s GOP presidential opponents don’t have the smidgeon of courage required to describe a guy they despise as anything other than a victim. David Frum in The Atlantic (Gift Article): Republicans: Quit Pretending to Be Mad. “The conservative world in the age of Trump has coiled itself into a labyrinth of lies: lies about Trump’s victimhood, lies about Trump’s popularity, lies about Trump’s election outcomes, lies about Trump’s mental acuity and physical strength. The architects of the labyrinth presumed that they could always, if necessary, find an exit—and that their keys could someday turn the exit’s locks. Instead, they have found themselves as lost and trapped in the labyrinth as the deceived people they lured into it.”

Trump is the one being indicted by the special counsel, but all these other self-interested liars are self-indicting in real time.

Meanwhile, for Trump, 2024 is now all about a pardon. A self-pardon if he’s the candidate. A pardon by a fellow GOP nominee in exchange for his support if he isn’t. In the end, what shouldn’t be political at all will be dominated by politics.

+ Trump aide Walt Nauta also indicted in classified documents case.

+ You can read the full indictment here. (It’s really pretty basic. He took documents. He lied about it. He kept them. He obstructed efforts to get to the bottom of it. In other words: Classic Trump.) And from NPR: Here’s a breakdown of the indictment’s 37 counts against Trump.

+ “President Biden said he has not spoken to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday. ‘I have not spoken to him at all, and I’m not going to speak with him,’ Biden told reporters at the end of an event in North Carolina, per the White House pool.
‘And I have no comment on that,’ he added, referring to the Trump indictment.'” (In today’s political messaging environment, there’s no comment better than “No comment.”) Here’s the latest from WaPo.

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