On November 15, 2022, Donald Trump will be making a “big announcement.” Spoiler alert: he’s going to try for a Grover Cleveland, that is, he’s going to run for a second non-consecutive (non sequitur) term as president of the United States. Contrary to what Trump may or may not think (and contrary to what a lot of people may or may not think, be they Democrat or Republican) Trump’s candidacy won’t save him from indictment, trial, conviction or imprisonment.
There exists no law, no statute, no tradition, no memo that says the Department of Justice cannot indict a presidential candidate. There is, however, a DOJ guideline to avoid making overt moves that might be construed as political within 60 days of an election. Oh, and by the way, that means 60 days before an election, not on either side of an election. Immediately after an election is fair game.
So the DOJ has two years in which to indict, try and convict Donald Trump. Given the staggering amount of evidence against him and the fact that he is still committing crimes out in the open I would say an indictment should be a fait accompli. Naturally we will have to see how things pan out.
Repugnant though it may seem, Trump remains a citizen of the United States and as such is entitled to all the protections and accoutrements of Due Process. That includes, but is not limited to, the right to mount a vigorous defence, the right to a trial by his peers and the right to the presumption of innocence inside the courtroom. Those last three words, “inside the courtroom,” are crucial. I am under no obligation to presume him innocent of anything and neither are you.
To put it in stark terms, I do not intend to give Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt while he continues to commit his crimes in broad daylight, despite his Sixth Amendment rights. Trump has been, metaphorically speaking, shooting people on Fifth Avenue for the last several years and I have no intention of pretending otherwise. He is guilty, guilty of provoking an insurrection, guilty of election fraud, guilty of tax evasion, guilty of rape and guilty of murder. I will not be gaslighted or whipsawed into thinking otherwise.
So let him announce his candidacy. It won’t save him. Justice will take no notice and neither should you. I will stand by his right to a fair trial but nothing beyond that. He has ruined America and I have nothing but condemnation for him. 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.