The Trial of Donald J. Trump

It is by the tiniest of threads — a 1973 Department of Justice memo stating that a sitting president cannot be indicted — from which the legal status of Donald Trump precariously dangles. The sitting president, for whom that very memo was recently resurrected and paraded around, is about to become the ex-president. The memo says nothing about the non-indictability of ex-presidents.

The Biden administration (and how I do love writing those words!) will presently be in a unique historic position. It can answer unequivocally the one question on many people’s minds throughout this malignant ordeal we refer to as the Trump presidency: does the rule of law truly apply to everyone?

Meanwhile, the man who played only a supporting actor’s role in Trump’s violation of campaign finance laws is headed back to prison. Michael Cohen is back in prison because he “refused the conditions of his home confinement.” Specifically, Cohen balked at signing a statement saying he couldn’t speak to the public and he couldn’t publish a tell-all book.

It’s instructive to recite the reasons Cohen is in jail. Cohen pleaded guilty to: five counts of tax evasion, one count of making false statements to a financial institution, one count of willfully causing an unlawful corporate contribution, and one count of making an excessive campaign contribution at the request of a candidate (Donald Trump) for the “principal purpose of influencing [the] election.”

It is the last two counts of the indictment in which Trump was the lead actor. As to the former two, Trump has spent the last three and a half years fighting in court to keep his tax records hidden. And, as you know, he has just lost another round in the Supreme Court. Clearly he therefore has something to hide, which almost certainly adds up to tax evasion — at the very least. And as for the second of Cohen’s criminal counts, try to imagine a situation, under oath in a courtroom of law or otherwise, in which Donald Trump wouldn’t be guilty of making false statements.

That is only the starting point for Donald Trump’s many crimes. So if Michael Cohen is in prison then Trump shortly should be, if the Biden administration is the kind that practices what it incessantly preaches, that is, that no one is above the law. Or as Joe Biden put it in a tweet he made on the Fourth of July, “Our nation was founded on a simple idea: We’re all created equal.”

It’s easy to be cynical these days and say it will never happen. But I have a new idea for you to think about: how on earth can it not happen? The single ostensible thread that has kept the Department of Justice or the FBI or the Southern District of the State of New York from indicting Donald Trump is a memo written by pro-Nixon lawyers in 1973. I remind the reader, this is not a Congressionally enacted law, it is not a Constitutional Amendment, it doesn’t even carry the occasionally questionable force of an Executive Order. It’s a lousy little memo. And very soon the entire premise of that lousy little memo will disappear.

In order for Donald Trump not to be indicted, Joe Biden will have to show cause, and it will have to be good. I cannot think of a single reason why he would possibly want to. The shopworn notion that, in Gerald Ford fashion, Biden (or his Justice Department) will decide not to pursue a long list of criminal complaints against Donald Trump in order to bring the “long national nightmare” to a close seems ludicrous to me.

We have endured the sturm und drang of nearly four years of Donald Trump. We deserve to have the outrages that the child-rapist and murderer Donald Trump and his vicious brood of disgusting grifters have visited upon us redressed. The blood of 135,822 Americans (as I write this) that have died because of Trump’s criminal ineptness cry out for justice from the very ground.

We have endured the tawdry, unlawful and dishonest presidency of Donald John Trump for too long. We are about to witness the majestic justice of the Trial of Donald John Trump. We have paid for it in tears and toil and sweat and blood. We have, in short, earned our portion of due process, and paid for it with our own dead and dying. And I can think of no cause more righteous than the defeat of Donald Trump in November. It isn’t just our public right to go to the polls and vote this monster out of office, it is our sacred duty. So let’s do it. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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