Considering the nightmarish horror film this has all been, it sounds like far too happy of an ending: once Donald Trump’s time as illegitimate President of the United States is over, he’s going to prison for the numerous crimes he’s committed before and since taking office. But it’s not merely some kind of fairy tale or pipe dream: it really is the (only) logical outcome for where this all headed.
There’s a reason Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said weeks ago that she wants to put Donald Trump in prison: the whole thing is already teed up. Robert Mueller didn’t just lay out the eleven obstruction felonies that Trump committed; he made a point of spelling out that Trump can be criminally charged for these crimes and prosecuted in the court system once he’s out of office. But that’s only one-third of the equation.
We’ll see if the next presidential administration goes forward with obstruction charges against Donald Trump, which would likely have to be signed off on by the next Attorney General. But either way, the Feds at the SDNY have already teed up felony charges against Trump in the Cohen-Daniels payoff scheme, and they’ve spelled it out in the Cohen court filings. Their decision not to bring charges at this time is merely a sign that they’re waiting for Trump to be out of office first.
Even if Trump somehow ends up pardoned on all of these federal charges, it’s a given that the New York Attorney General and/or Manhattan District Attorney will bring state charges against Trump over a number of criminal matters. Those can only be pardoned by the Governor of New York, which obviously isn’t happening. And while a jury may not convict Trump on every last criminal charge brought against him, some of the charges will be so straightforward that a conviction is essentially a given; just ask Paul Manafort.
So yeah, Donald Trump is going to prison when this is all over. That’s the only part of the story we know for sure. Other questions, such as how soon he’ll be removed from office, and how much more horrific damage he’ll do along the way, remain unanswered. But Trump’s future status as a prisoner-for-life is already written. Those fatalistically grumbling that he’s going to magically “get away with it all” are suffering from reverse-Pollyanna thinking, in defiance of all available facts.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report