In his sworn deposition for a case brought by his sexual assault accuser E. Jean Carroll, Donald Trump simultaneously denied that he raped her and, in a rambling, incoherent diatribe, seemed to imply that the she enjoyed it when he did rape her! It was a typical moment in the life of Donald Trump, a man who has interminably shown himself to be his own worst enemy. He is that rare thing, the ideal witness against himself. Donald Trump is a prosecutor’s and litigator’s dream come true.
After all, it was Trump who simultaneously proclaimed that the FBI “planted” top secret documents at Mar-a-Lago and then claimed those documents belonged to him and the FBI shouldn’t be allowed to take them. Besides, he did declassify them “psychically”, did he not? Then there’s the small matter of Trump implying that Joe Biden is just as guilty as he is in his mishandling of classified documents. It’s the old reliable, “sure I robbed the bank, your honour, but Joe Biden robbed a bank too!” defence.
It might not be so bad if he only had one case pending against him. Perhaps his lawyers could convince him to keep his mouth shut about that one thing. In fact, it might not be so bad for him were it not for one stunning fact: as I write this, Donald Trump has 19 cases pending against him, 13 civil and 6 criminal!
And what case they are! It’s the 6 criminal cases that interest me the most. Those are the ones that can put him in prison. So permit me to count the ways. First, there’s the New York Attorney General’s criminal investigation of Trump. That’s right, Letitia James is also investigating Trump criminally. And we all know how doggedly determined Ms. James can be. That’s one criminal case.
Next there’s Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s criminal investigations into Donald Trump’s finances. After an anaemic start, it seems that Mr. Bragg finally got religion and decided that there’s something prosecutorial about Trump’s behaviour after all. That’s the second criminal case.
Next there’s the Washington DC AG’s incitement case. AG Karl Racine has announced a criminal investigation into Trump’s role in provoking the January 6th insurrection. That’s the third criminal case.
Then there’s the Fulton County, Georgia investigation into Trump’s election fraud, the one where Trump asks Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger for 11,780 votes — on tape no less! — exactly enough votes for him to win Georgia. He even appears to threaten Mr. Raffensberger with consequences for failing to find his votes. That’s the fourth criminal case.
And let us not forget the quiet Westchester, New York criminal investigation, wherein the Trump Organization misled local officials on the property values of Trump’s golf course in order to reduce its taxes. That’s the fifth criminal case.
Finally, there’s Trump’s blatant mishandling, concealment, obstruction of justice and theft of classified documents. That investigation could lead to charges of espionage if it can be shown that he sold some of them to foreign agents. That’s the sixth criminal case.
Naturally there could be more. Robert Mueller’s report on Trump’s 10 instances of blatant obstruction of justice is always actionable. Then there’s Trump’s criminal negligence in the deaths of a million Americans from Covid. And now that we finally have his tax returns, now that Charles Rettig has been summarily booted out as head of the IRS, the IRS might decide to charge Trump with tax fraud. There’s no hurry for that, by the way. There exists no statute of limitation on tax fraud.
Most of these cases have paper trails that are conclusively damning and seven miles long. Some have deeply inculpatory audio recordings. But they all have the very best thing of all going for them: Donald Trump’s stupid, self-incriminating mouth.
That’s the mouth that will ultimately be Trump’s own worst enemy. That’s the mouth that has been yapping interminably for the last eight years. And that’s the mouth I can’t wait to see permanently shut by the criminal justice system. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.