Letter 2 America for August 14, 2022

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Dear America,

I'm wondering if Donald Trump has finally told a lie sufficient to be the petard by which he is hoist.  He couldn't keep his mouth shut and just agree to the release of the warrant for his Mar-a-Largo estate and the inventory for the articles collected.  By virtue of that consent, he could have at least argued that he had nothing to hide.  But given the history of the negotiations between his legal team and the Department of Justice--which have been going on for months since the Library of Congress announced that over a dozen boxes of documents had been spirited out of the White House by Trump when he left--and the subpoena with which he didn't comply, his capitalized claim that, "ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK" has been rendered a patently intentional, self-serving lie.  And by virtue of the highly secret markings on at least one of the boxes, connoting the fact that it was to be kept in a highly secured facility that it was never to leave and was to be accessed only by those with the highest of security clearances, Trump's possession of it was criminal not just prima facie, but per se.  Add to that the potential for criminal charges in consequences of his failure to turn the boxes of White House records in question over to the Library of Congress in the first place, it is hard to foresee him "getting out of the water dry," as the Russians say, on this one.  I'm assuming that he will be charged by necessity because of his flagrant disregard for at least two federal statutes, one of which carries a potential sentence of ten years in federal prison.  To quote The Immortal Bard, aye, there's the rub.

It seems to me that the Department of Justice is in a predicament.  Trump has made the profile of this matter so high that no one, not even his most ardent supporters, can avert his eyes from the gravity of it all.  Thus, federal charges virtually must be filed against him, and what then?  His supporters will, in defiant and willful ignorance of the facts of record, claim that the Trumpster is being persecuted.  That will just add fuel to the blaze that his mere existence constitutes.  There could even be more of the violence that we have already seen his large battery of loose canons inflict on the nation: a lunatic shooting up a pizza parlor in Washington, D.C. in search of the apocryphal Q-anon conspirators, January 6th, the one-man assault on the FBI offices in Cincinnati and the like.  But not charging him is not a viable alternative, and if he is tried, it is virtually certain that he will be convicted, and then all hell will break loose.  What a conundrum; a Hobson's Choice.

But wait.  There is a way to avoid any of the dire consequences that Trump's criminal conduct in this case has wrought.  Justice could go ahead with the charges, but offer the defendant a deal.  Trump's ego will prevent him from pleading guilty, and allowing him to walk would render the notion of the potency of federal law a vacuous myth.  So here's what Justice should do.  They should charge him forthwith, and let the charge roil the waters, but only briefly.  The public rumblings by Trump's loonatic fringe acolytes will be loud, but when it amounts to nothing that benefits him, he will see that he's in trouble.  He wouldn't do well in prison for a raft of reasons, and while he's stupid, he isn't so stupid as to ignore the risk he faces if incarcerated.  So the Justice Department should offer him a deal: plead nolo condere, which means that he doesn't admit guilt but he can't fight the charges, and agree never to run for office again.  The court will find him guilty on that basis and put him on parole for as extended a period as possible, and if Trump tries to renege by running for president, or even dog catcher, it's the hoosegow for him.  Let him say anything he wants in public...just so long as he never holds office again.  It will be a Pyrrhic victory for Trump, but the risk of chaos in the country will be sharply reduced, and though he deserves much worse, giving it to him would be a Pyrrhic victory for the nation.  Everybody gets out of the water dry.  That's the best result we can hope for.

In the final analysis, this case is a standoff between good and evil.  Good will not win, but then evil won't either.  We can let Trump blow over like the bag of wind he is, and eventually, our country can repair itself by letting the past stay in the past.  We can hope that by doing so we can redeem our collective virtue as a nation and abandon the implicit prejudice, xenophobia, conservative sanctimony and disregard for truth that afflict us today.  There's a way out.  But it isn't to do nothing.

Your friend,


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This page contains a single entry by Michael Wolf published on August 14, 2022 11:48 AM.

Letters 2 America for August 5, 2022 was the previous entry in this blog.

Letter 2 America for September 22, 2022 is the next entry in this blog.

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