Just how ugly is this?

We need your help! Palmer Report articles are all 100% free to read, with no forced subscriptions and nothing hidden behind paywalls. If you value our content, you're welcome to pay for it:
Pay $5 to Palmer Report:
Pay $25 to Palmer Report:
Pay $75 to Palmer Report:

Sign up for the Palmer Report Mailing List.

Imagine this hypothetical situation: a person steals one single page of a top secret sensitive compartmented document, one so secret that it must be read inside a SCIF if it’s read at all. Let’s say the document details Russian interference in American elections. Let’s further say that no American lives will be lost and no American secrets will be betrayed if the person should hand that document off to a reporter. And thus, they do so.

Okay, whatever you can say about the person who did that, the indisputable fact is they broke the law, and the law is the law. No matter how noble the motive, America’s secrets can’t be stolen and shopped at will. A line needs to be drawn because if it isn’t, one day lives will be imperilled and secrets will be betrayed. So what is a just punishment for the offender? A year in jail? Too harsh you say? How about a six month suspended sentence with 500 hours of community service? Is that more like it?

What if I told you the correct answer is five years and 3 months in prison, much of that in solitary confinement? Way too harsh you say? What if I further told you that the five year and three month sentence was a gift, part of a plea bargain?

Whether you agree with that sentence or not (and I don’t), that is the sentence handed down to Reality Leigh Winner for just such a crime after just such a plea deal. In 2018, Winner was handed the longest prison sentence ever imposed for unauthorized release of government information.

So if you’re wondering what Donald Trump’s sentence should be for stealing hundreds of such documents and scattering them around Mar-a-Lago, for lying to the FBI about them and deliberately obstructing the FBI’s attempts to retrieve them, perhaps you should use Ms. Winner’s fate as a guideline. If it’s any indication, Trump should get at least 100 years in solitary confinement, with perhaps 25 years off for good behaviour.

We don’t know yet why Trump stole those documents, but one thing is clear. They’re important to him, so much so he lied and concealed and obstructed in order to hang on to them. That suggests to me that he intended to use them to generate cash, because with Donald Trump all roads lead to money. Did he plan to sell them to the Russians, the Saudis or the North Koreans? I wouldn’t put it past him.

   

But for whatever reason he kept them, and we may never know why, the fact remains he broke the law. And if there really is such a thing as equal justice under the law in America, Donald Trump’s penalty should be proportional to Reality Winner’s penalty, and anything short of a long custodial sentence would be monstrous. Trump must go to prison for a long time or America must stop calling itself a land of justice. I see no middle ground. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

We need your help! Palmer Report articles are all 100% free to read, with no forced subscriptions and nothing hidden behind paywalls. If you value our content, you're welcome to pay for it:
Pay $5 to Palmer Report:
Pay $25 to Palmer Report:
Pay $75 to Palmer Report:

Sign up for the Palmer Report Mailing List.
Write for the Palmer Report Community Section.