How quickly we forget some of the outrageous acts Donald Trump was accused of committing while president. Let us review:
We begin with Trump’s incitement of the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol and his multi-pronged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election by illegal means. There was his attempt to strong-arm the Georgia secretary of state into “finding” enough votes that Trump would be declared victor in that state. Trump also called Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and urged him to call a special session of the legislature at which the election results would be thrown out and a new slate of electors appointed. He called the Pennsylvania Speaker of the House and attempted to strong-arm him into doing the same thing with the Pennsylvania legislature.
Trump met in the White House with members of the Michigan legislature and urged them to take similar steps in their state. He also made numerous phone calls to state officials and legislators in other battleground states, trying to pressure them to throw out the results of the elections in their states and submit slates of fake electors to the Congress. These calls resulted in the appointment of fake slates of electors in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Trump’s phone calls and meetings about submitting fake slates of electors would appear to be an overt act in furtherance of an attempt to interfere with a legitimate function of the government, i.e., the certification of electoral ballots on January 6.
Trump was behind attempts in several states to get law enforcement agencies to seize voting machines and turn them over to the Trump legal team. Voting machines were seized by officials or Trump-backers in Georgia and Colorado and voting machine data was copied by people working on Trump’s behalf in Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona. Tampering with voting data is illegal in every state in the Union, as is conspiracy to tamper with such data. Trump was in direct contact with his lawyer, Sidney Powell, who filed numerous lawsuits in battleground states on his behalf and was behind attempts to seize voting machines in Michigan and tampering with voting machine data in Nevada and Colorado.
Trump met with Sidney Powell and Michael Flynn in the Oval Office where they discussed suspending the Constitution, imposing martial law, and “re-running” the election using the U.S. military. Discussing such illegal schemes amounts to a conspiracy to overthrow the legitimate functions of the federal government, and the conspiracy need not bear fruit, i.e., be carried out, in order for an indictment for engaging in the conspiracy to be brought. The plot to impose martial law went far enough and was taken seriously enough that on December 18, Army Chief of Staff General James McConville and Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy issued a joint statement telling all active-duty Army forces that "There is no role for the US military in determining the outcome of an American election.”
And then of course there is the matter of Trump’s theft of government documents from the White House and his refusal over a period of 18 months to return them to the federal government, specifically to the National Archives, where they belonged. He is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice for having violated no less than three federal statutes involving obstruction of justice (he defied a subpoena and appears to have attempted to silence certain witnesses), mishandling of national security information (over 100 highly classified documents seized by the FBI from his office and residence at Mar a Lago) and the theft of the documents themselves.
There are unresolved allegations by the Mueller Report that Trump engaged in multiple acts of obstruction of justice and obstruction of a congressional committee. Mueller held that a sitting president could not be indicted and so dropped the matter. Trump isn’t president anymore. He’s indictable on every count of obstruction established by Mueller’s investigation. In case you forgot or haven’t checked lately, the Mueller investigation lasted nearly two years, from May of 2017 to March of 2019. The Mueller report itself survives, as does all the evidence his team of investigators painstakingly amassed, currently held by the National Archives.
The New York Times reported today that six countries spent more than $750,000 at the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C. while their officials were attempting to influence the Trump administration on behalf of their governments. The House Oversight Committee previously estimated that the Trump Hotel received as much as $3.7 million from foreign governments between 2017 and 2020. Trump refused to put his assets in a blind trust during his time in the presidency, instead turning over the running of his many businesses to his sons Eric and Donald Jr. and his daughter Ivanka. All the proceeds of Trump’s businesses go directly to Donald Trump as the sole owner of more than 500 separate companies under the umbrella of the Trump Organization.
The Trump Hotel, which was located in the Old Post Office building in Washington D.C. while Trump was president, is one of his companies, thus all profits derived from the hotel would accrue to his benefit. The Constitution’s Emoluments Clause states: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State. An emolument has been defined as anything of value including money. Trump’s profiting from monies spent at his hotel in Washington would appear to violate the U.S. Constitution, which is the Supreme Law of the Land.
And now we arrive at another late-breaking Trump crime. The New York Times also reported today that John Kelly, Trump’s second and longest-serving chief of staff, revealed to the paper that Trump had, on multiple occasions, attempted to have the IRS conduct audits of his political enemies, including former FBI Director James Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe. On other occasions, Trump discussed with Kelly having the Department of Justice and the IRS investigate Hillary Clinton, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (who also owns The Washington Post), Peter Strzok, the lead FBI agent working on the Mueller investigation team, and Lisa Page, another FBI agent with whom Strzok was having an affair, and with whom he exchanged text messages critical of Trump.
No audits were conducted by the IRS on the incomes of either Comey or McCabe during the time Kelly was White House chief of staff. However, after Kelly left that position and Mark Meadows was appointed in his place, the IRS audited both Comey and McCabe, conducting a type of extensive audit described by experts as “an autopsy without being dead.”It is a violation of federal law for any federal official, including the president, “to request, directly or indirectly” that the IRS audit or conduct any kind of investigation of specific American taxpayers. Trump’s conversations with Kelly appear to fit the definition of that crime.
I’m sure I’ve missed something. Trump was a very busy man when it came to lining his own pockets, retaliating against political rivals and enemies, and attempting to either fix the results of the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, or in the case of the 2020 election, overturn its results. He seems to have committed enough crimes while in office to make even the second most corrupt president in recent memory, Richard Nixon, swivel in his grave.
It appears likely at this writing that the Department of Justice will seek to indict Trump on multiple counts of interfering with government operations, the mishandling of national security information, and obstruction of justice. The DOJ has seated two grand juries in Washington D.C., where they have presented multiple witnesses over the past year. One grand jury is hearing evidence on Trump’s crimes surrounding January 6 and his attempts to overturn the election of 2020. The other grand jury is hearing evidence concerning his theft and mishandling of government-owned documents after he left office.
Which is precisely what matters today. Donald Trump, who believed he was invulnerable while he was president and so did pretty much anything he decided to do and damn the consequences, is now a civilian. He is, in a word, indictable, whether he makes himself a candidate in the next presidential election or not.
Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.
Reprinted with permission from Lucian Truscott Newsletter