If I read the tea leaves for the 2022 and 2024 elections correctly, Donald Trump plans to be a major factor in our future politics.
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Whether you love or hate him, the country has been damaged by his emergence as a political figure, his presidency, his rhetoric, and, above all, his lack of character. As fictional president Andrew Shepard said in the film The American President, “being president of this country is entirely about character.”
There is little doubt Trump fabricates conspiracies, distorts facts, engages in divisive rhetoric and tactics, cheats on spouses, avoids tax responsibilities, disrespects women, and habitually lies. On this first anniversary of the January 6th, 2021 insurrection, we are discovering what many of us already suspected: This man is a criminal, the likes of which our country has not seen since Richard Nixon and the infamous Watergate conspiracy.
As we follow the work of the congressional committee investigating January 6, many pundits have focused on Trump’s 187 minutes, where he watched the insurrectionists break into and damage the U.S. Capitol Building and did nothing to try to stop the madness. I firmly believe this focus is shortsighted.
As the argument goes, Trump had the authority and power to stop the riot and his failure to act obstructed an official proceeding. What official proceeding, you ask? The counting of electoral votes that would send Trump packing and officially make Joe Biden the president of the United States.
Some advisors suggested he make a simple public statement. Others told him to go to the Capitol and speak directly to the rioters and urge them to cease, desist, and go home. He did nothing, and his inaction, according to some legal pundits, amounts to obstruction.
While I agree with that assessment, I don’t believe it scratches the surface of his crimes. I believe the committee and prosecutors should investigate and focus on his actions, rather than his inaction. They will discover that his behavior in the days leading up to and including January 6 was much worse.
Donald Trump was an active participant in the planning and implementation of the events leading to the insurrection. This begins with the so-called “big lie” and his refusal to accept the outcome of the election. When he discovered that his “stop the steal” cries were being embraced and repeated by his cult following, he decided to capitalize on their disappointment and issue a call to action.
How would he and his cult ‘stop the steal?’ They would prevent the electoral vote from being counted or, in the alternative, persuade the Electoral College voters from voting the will of the people. You will recall that Trump attempted that trick at the state level, in many states, most famously in Georgia, where a tape recording revealed he instructed the Republican secretary of state to “find 11,000 votes.”
Donald Trump did not only stand around, do nothing, and watch an insurrection unfold. He conspired with, and engaged in a seditious conspiracy, a crime that makes it illegal to corruptly impede or obstruct an official proceeding. He opposed by force, the proper exercise of a government function and the authority of the United States, which is textbook sedition.
Furthermore, texts, emails, and, probably, tape recordings between Trump and his cronies (Mark Meadows, Shaun Hannity, Steve Bannon, and others) exist that will demonstrate that Trump knew what was about to happen, orchestrated, participated, and encouraged the event’s planning. He showed up that morning to cheerlead the insurrectionists and promised to walk with them to the Capital. But to protect his own ass, he quietly left and returned to the White House. The 187 minutes of television viewing was his only his final seditious act.
What would the likes of Fox News be saying if this man was a Democrat? Such a man should be living the remainder of his days, at best, in quiet disgrace or, at worst, in prison. Instead, this darling of the right wing of the Republican Party and hero/cause of the insurrection is still involved in Republican politics, endorsing candidates, creating PACS (funds which he will probably misappropriate), and campaigning for a return to public office.
Heaven help us all.
Mark M. Bello is an attorney and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Legal Thriller Series, ripped-from-the headlines, realistic fiction that speak truth to power and champion the rights of citizens in our justice system. These novels, dedicated to the social justice movement, are not only enjoyable, they educate, spark discussion and inspire readers to action. For more information, please visit www.markmbello.com. Mark also hosts the Justice Counts podcast with Not Fake News editor & publisher Bob Gatty, presenting bi-weekly interviews focused on social justice.