A Hypothetical Question About Donald Trump’s Indictment

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If you’ve been following the news lately, you must be well aware that former president Donald Trump has gotten himself into a heap of trouble. But over the course of his charmed life, he has never been indicted – let alone convicted – of any crime, whether large or small.

For decades, his standard business practice was to stiff his contractors, paying them no more than three-quarters of what he owed them. He has had four major bankruptcies, but each time he escaped unscathed.

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Trump has sexually assaulted countless women and even boasted about that in the infamous Access Hollywood tape that became public during his 2016 presidential campaign. But, unlike Harvey Weinstein – who may spend the rest of his life in prison – the Teflon Donald may never pay for his crimes.

Trump is a lifelong conman and grifter. Just in recent days, he was exposed in the news media for bilking his ardent followers out of hundreds of millions of dollars, which were allegedly being used to “Stop the Steal,” but were actually channeled for other purposes.

You would think that after planning and then leading the January sixth insurrection, he might have been jailed along with hundreds of his loyal foot soldiers for the bloody invasion of the Capitol. And yet, the Department of Justice has not even invited him in for questioning.

And yet, perhaps his theft of at least dozens of secret, top secret, and even more highly classified national security documents may be a bridge too far, not only for the Justice Department, but even for some of his most ardent followers as well.

Treasonous Crimes

But now, Mr. Trump has kindly given us three treasonous crimes for the price of one. Let’s look at each, in turn.

His first crime was to sneak the documents out of the oval office, probably by stuffing the breast pockets of those blue suits he always wore, and bringing them upstairs to his living quarters. Ironically, he had never appeared to have much interest in national security issues as evidenced by his lack of attention at his daily briefings.

After supervising the hasty packing of dozens of cartons containing these classified documents – along with clothing and other personal effects – he had them shipped them to his South Florida beach resort, Mar-a-Lago.

Trump then spent the next year and a half stalling the National Archives and the F.B.I. about returning these documents.

This struggle finally culminated in the F.B.I.’s “raid” last month, which turned up more than a hundred highly classified documents as well as forty-eight empty folders that once contained still other highly classified material.

The F.B.I. recently disclosed that at least one of the recovered documents actually was a report on the nuclear secrets of another nation. Had just this one document fallen into the hands of operatives of that nation, it could have not only put our own secret agents at great risk, but might even have set off a nuclear war.

As we learned last month, these highly sensitive documents were stored haphazardly in seemingly random places in Trump’s living quarters, his presidential office, and even a padlocked storage closet easily accessed by the public.

Because it was no secret that Trump was holding all this classified information, Mar-a-Lago became a magnet for foreign intelligence operatives who may have appeared in a wide variety of seemingly mundane roles ranging from private guests to employees of the resort.

Although Trump’s top lawyer personally assured the FBI months ago that there were no more classified documents at his beach resort, FBI officials received multiple tips that a huge trove remained – and where they were stored.

So, when the FBI agents arrived, they went straight to the publicly located storage closet and to Trump’s presidential office among other hiding places.

A Question For Donald Trump

Exhibiting the height of chutzpah, Trump complained about how the agents spread piles of classified files on the floor of his office to be photographed. His beef was that he had never had a messy office, and that the FBI was just trying to make him look bad.

This leaves us with the question: Why did Trump bring all these classified documents to Mar-a-Lago in the first place? His long-time lawyer, Michael Cohen, has suggested that he wanted to sell them to the highest bidders.

Keep in mind that agents of such hostile nuclear powers such as China and Russia might well be willing to pay billions of dollars. And rest assured that Trump could be counted upon to drive some very hard bargains. Let that be a warning to you, Mr. Putin!

So, now we come to my hypothetical question: Do you think Trump will even be indicted – let alone, convicted -- for any of his crimes – even for stealing and possibly selling or intending to sell classified national security documents to hostile foreign powers? Hopefully, we’ll find out before very long.