Friday, June 9, 2023

Benedict Donald

 (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
This Tuesday, June 13th, the day before his 77th birthday, Donald Trump will appear in federal court in Miami to answer yet another indictment. The first one, in Manhattan, was pretty serious. Those were civil charges consisting of sexual assault and Trump had been found liable on both counts, sexual assault and defamation, and ordered to pay E. Jean Carroll $5,000,000. His response?
     Predictably, it was to defame Carroll yet again.
    This was probably the exact reason Special Prosecutor Jack Smith gave Trump the floor in the 18 hours before unsealing the 49 page indictment containing 37 felony charges, 31 pertaining to the Espionage Act: So he could scream and continue incriminating himself. 
     It is not a happy time in MAGAstan.
    And now the loyalists, those ideological soulmates of the bunker dwellers in 1945 Berlin, the ones who eight years ago were screaming, "Lock her up!" when no charges were ever brought, are now counseling patience, that "everyone is innocent until proven guilty". Which is true. Jack Smith said as much in his two and a half minute-long press conference.
    But there are others, such as Mike Lee, who keep sputtering, "But, but the Biden bribes!" while screaming about Biden personally indicting Trump, even though you'd think a lawyer such as Lee allegedly is would know grand juries indict, not presidents, not districts attorney, not special prosecutors. Grand juries.
    Oh, Mike Lee, you poor right wing prick. It must really give you cold sweats at night knowing there's a Constitution out there and that we're a nation of laws and not men. Violating the Espionage Act is a really serious offense. I would think you'd learned that in law school.
    And there are still others who've abandoned and skipped over calm counsel and have gone straight to calling for civil war and more insurrection. Witness Clay Higgins, Louisiana's most beloved skin-headed Nazi and his call for unspecified militias to take all the bridges in Washington DC. And then we have the jack-booted Andy Biggs declaring that we've "reached a war phase".
     Of course, mainstream Republicans and others who shine their jackboots with their tongues refuse to call them out.

US, How Do I Hate Thee? Let Us Count the Ways
But first let's count the boxes.
     Revealed in the newly-unsealed indictment was this nugget that's destined to make national security experts shit bricks. That Trump staffer Walt Nauta, who was also indicted right after Trump, moved 64 boxes from the patio umbrella storage room at Mar a Lago and came back with only 30 before the feds arrived.
     That means 34 boxes of potentially classified documents are still in the wind. And, as it turned out, the aforementioned patio umbrella storage locker was actually the most secure place in Mar a Lago in which these documents were illegally stored. There were these revelations:
• Trump stored his boxes containing classified documents in a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, an office space, his bedroom, and a storage room.
• Some of those boxes were stored from January to March 2021 on a stage in the club's White and Gold Ballroom, which hosted events and gatherings during that period and were photographed, possibly by a guest.
• Mar-a-Lago hosted more than 50 events, including weddings, film premiers and fundraisers, that drew tens of thousands of guests during the period the documents were stored in Trump's offices or other areas near public spaces.
   That's right. Top secret documents pertaining to our and other nations' nuclear secrets and our vulnerabilities were stuck in a toilet, a shower and a stage that had seen at least 50 major functions and could've been seen and accessed by countless thousands of people. That's right, Not only did Benedict Donald defy subpoena after subpoena to turn over the documents for over a year, he just let them lie around like a slimy old ham hock abandoned by a senile old guard dog.
But Why Miami?
Because of well, you know who.
     Once again, Trump stooge Aileen Cannon's name came bobbing up like a bloated, rotting corpse in the Gulf of Mexico. Cannon was chosen to be the presiding judge in the documents case. But it may not be as bad as all that. Cannon may only make a cameo appearance in the earliest phase of the prosecution, which is the arraignment. If she tries to shoehorn her way in for the long haul, Jack Smith would have the discretion and latitude to ask the 11th Circuit to kick her out as they had last year during the special master case she'd turned into a clusterfuck.
     So, why Miami?
    For the simple reason that's near where the alleged crimes occurred. The Southern District of Florida is by far the closest federal jurisdiction, even though Cannon is out of Fort Pierce. There's also the worry that the infamously government-averse Floridians who will make up the jury may decide to give Trump a free pass for old time's sake. (Although Trump is the real reason to be suspicious of the government, if any side eye is to be had.)
     Another reality check- The same DC prosecutors who've been investigating this and the attempted coup will travel down to south Florida to try the case. Keep in mind, also, that the Southern District of Florida has a better than a 95% conviction rate, meaning they're very good at their jobs. I'd imagine that, since this is such a high stakes prosecution unique in the annals of American jurisprudence, they'll be vigorous in their vetting during the voir dire process.
     Remember, Jack Smith did not get to the Hague prosecuting war criminals by being a naive fool. The man knows what he's doing. And Smith is quite well aware of the fact that this case one way or the other will immediately be enshrined as case law. If they drop the ball here, this will leave the door open to any other future president to commit the same crimes Trump surely had and with impunity. That would raise the bar to impossibly high levels in any such future prosecution if they do not set a satisfactory legal precedent with this one.
    And, in keeping with the 6th amendment, Smith also said during his very brief presser that he intends on swiftly prosecuting this case, which may be the last thing Trump will want. His never-ending screeching and squealing on Truth Social shows that he knows he'll be found guilty. He'll want to delay the inevitable and drag this into the 2024 general election. Plus, the longer he can drag it out, the longer he can fund raise off it.
     But that's exactly the reason why Smith wants to prosecute this as swiftly as possible: So it isn't perceived, as Trump is screaming, as "political interference".


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