The most important thing to keep in mind about the Trump trial

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In 1926, Henry Stimson and his wife Mabel Wellington White vacationed in Japan. Of the places they visited, Mrs Stimson was particularly charmed by the beautiful Honshu city of Kyoto. You might even say she fell in love with the place, so much so that, years later as President Harry Truman’s Secretary of War, Stimson remembered his wife’s deep affection and implored Truman to spare the city. As a result, Harry Truman decided on Hiroshima instead of Kyoto as the first of two targets for his new super weapon, the atomic bomb.

Tens of thousands of human beings owed their lives to Mary Stimson’s enduring fondness for their city. At the same time, tens of thousands of human beings owed their deaths to Mary Stimson’s enduring fondness for a different city.

It’s a chilling thought that on such thin dimes fate can sometimes turn. But let’s take this example a step further. Suppose in the name of his wife’s love of Kyoto Stimson had not only talked Truman out of bombing that Japanese city but ANY Japanese city. Suppose instead he had convinced the president to choose an unpopulated target as a demonstration to the Japanese government the power of the bomb. Then no one would have died, not in Kyoto, not in Hiroshima, not in Nagasaki. All because Mary Stimson loved a city in Japan.

Too far-fetched you say? Then consider this real world actuality. Suppose Donald Trump’s sexual liaison with film producer and porn star Stormy Daniels had become generally known instead of, as it was, illegally covered up. Suppose that knowledge had tipped the razor-thin 2016 election result from Trump to Hillary Clinton. The unqualified disaster that was the Trump presidency would have never happened.

What would that mean? Hundreds of thousands of lives would have been spared from Trump’s inept handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. The seemingly unbridgeable division Trump created between Republicans and Democrats would have been largely averted. Trump’s runaway corruption, self-dealing, and the humiliation he brought to the United States on the world stage would have been entirely avoided.

There would have been no blackmail of Ukraine, no dictator worship, no shameful backroom dealings with Saudi Arabia, no insurrection, no calling the media “the enemy of the people,” no interminable golf games, in short, no Donald Trump. Trump today would be as irrelevant and forgotten as Mitt Romney and John McCain.

When they talk of Donald Trump’s first of four criminal trials as the lesser matter, the least consequential, when they insouciantly refer to it as the “Stormy Daniels hush money trial,” they demote its importance and undermine its impact. Trump’s three other criminal indictments are about crimes committed in the final weeks and months of his misbegotten presidency. His current trial is ultimately and morally about his successful interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the outcomes that created. The victims of that crime include you, me and the people of the world. Without the current crime, Trump’s other crimes might have never happened. Imagine that.

So when you think of this case, remember just how consequential it actually is. It truly is the mother of all of Trump’s crimes committed in office. It is the crime that robbed us of four years of peace of mind, it is the crime that could, in the end, rob us of our democracy.

Let no one tell you for a minute this case is unimportant. In a very real sense, it’s the most consequential case ever tried in the history of the United States. When you reflect on the widening gyre of anarchy Trump has loosed upon the world, it is quite possibly the most important case ever tried in all of history. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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