What ever happened to the Republican Party? In the wake of the 37-count indictment of former President Donald Trump for violations of the Espionage Act, false statements to federal law enforcement officials, obstruction of justice, and more, one might reasonably expect that a party that used to tout its passion for law and order could, at least for a moment, refrain from deifying a former President who spent more than a year playing shell games with the National Archives and the FBI.
The behavior outlined by Special Prosecutor Jack Smith would be shocking if it was still possible to be shocked by anything Donald Trump does. As documented in the indictment, which is based in many cases on Trump’s own recorded words, text messages from aides, testimony from his own lawyers, security video, and photographs, Trump was fully aware that he took hundreds of classified documents when he left the White House. He stored them haphazardly in unlocked locations at Mar-a-Lago, a club that often hosts hundreds of people at a time. More than once, Trump, showed the documents to others, none of whom had the security clearances necessary. And when federal officials requested more than once that Trump return the documents, he repeatedly directed aides to move the documents to conceal them, even from his own attorneys. He subsequently directed his attorneys to sign a statement that all the documents had been returned when Trump plainly knew that statement was false.
Republicans responded in kind, with lies of their own, suggesting that Trump was being singled out for prosecution for political purposes. Every single Republican politician making that claim knows it is false.
Republicans have tried to equate Trump’s actions with those of Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Mike Pence, who all experienced their own troubles surrounding classified documents. That’s nonsense. In none of these instances have investigators found evidence that any of those three individuals intentionally possessed classified records, nor that they tried to hide them from investigators, as Trump repeatedly did. Had Trump acted like these other individuals, and gave the classified records back when requested, he would almost certainly face no charges in the matter. And every single Republican currently complaining about a so-called double standard knows this for a fact.
It was Trump’s repeated refusal to hand over government documents in his possession that prompted the National Archives to subpoena the records. It was only when Trump misled everyone by claiming he had surrendered all the materials in response to that subpoena, that the FBI executed a search warrant to recover the rest. Trump is facing indictment because he repeatedly lied in an effort to retain government documents he had no right to possess. And many of these were incredibly sensitive documents, including war plans, U.S. nuclear secrets, and identified vulnerabilities of the U.S. military and that of our allies. And Trump gave Mar-a-Lago maintenance staff and, in many cases, guests access to all of it. It would be a miracle if the Russians and the Chinese didn’t end up with copies of most of it.
For Trump and his GOP minions to play the victim card, or suggest some kind of double standard is astonishing in its hypocrisy and dishonesty.
Other Americans are rotting in prison for violations regarding classified documents that pale in comparison to the actions undertaken by Donald Trump, yet Trump is being picked on? Please.
Trump has violated his oath of office and he has done so repeatedly. Those who defend him, and still support him, have no business claiming any fealty to the law nor the U.S. Constitution.
A party that backs Trump is no longer a party of law and order. It’s a party of privilege for the wealthy and famous, where there are no consequences for any action, no matter how egregious.
What’s more, Trump will have the opportunity to defend himself in a Florida courtroom overseen by one of his own handpicked judges who has already shown herself willing to exceed her authority to benefit Trump. And Trump’s legal team will no doubt attempt to undermine the legal system yet again by attempting to solicit jury nullification since it’s virtually hopeless in the face of the evidence to argue Trump’s actual innocence. In every way, Trump and his GOP allies are willing to trash every American institution in their defense of a man who believes the law simply doesn’t apply to him. No wonder so many people of integrity have left the Republican Party. It’s become a cult to a debased human being who has no business running for any office, least of all President of the United States.