TRUMP INDICTED! Orange Man may wear Orange Uniform

June 9, 2023 • 5:49 am

I couldn’t believe it when I heard this news last night, but all signs were that it was impending. Here’s the headline from the NYT. If you click on it, I’ve linked it to the news story that someone archived:

An excerpt:

The Justice Department on Thursday took the legally and politically momentous step of lodging federal criminal charges against former President Donald J. Trump, accusing him of mishandling classified documents he kept upon leaving office and then obstructing the government’s efforts to reclaim them.

Mr. Trump confirmed on his social media platform that he had been indicted. The charges against him include willfully retaining national defense secrets in violation of the Espionage Act, making false statements and a conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The Justice Department made no comment on the indictment Thursday and did not immediately make the document public.

The indictment, handed up by a grand jury in Federal District Court in Miami, is the first time a former president has faced federal charges. It puts the nation in an extraordinary position, given Mr. Trump’s status not only as a onetime commander in chief but also as the current front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination to face President Biden, whose administration will now be seeking to convict his potential rival of multiple felonies.

Mr. Trump is expected to surrender to the authorities on Tuesday, according to a person close to him and his own post on his social media platform, Truth Social.

“The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been indicted,” Mr. Trump wrote, in one of several posts around 7 p.m. after he was notified of the charges.

The former president added that he was scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in Miami at 3 p.m. on Tuesday. In a video he released later on Truth Social, Mr. Trump declared: “I’m an innocent man. I’m an innocent person.”

The Washington Post gives the charges: seven of them:

Trump, who is again seeking the Republican presidential nomination, has been indicted on seven charges, people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post, including willful retention of national defense secrets, obstruction of justice and conspiracy. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

Well, I haven’t had coffee yet, but I have to say that I’m pleased as punch. Not necessarily pleased that he’ll be punished—for that’s up to judges and juries—but chuffed that he’s going to have to publicly face the music, do a PERP WALK, and perhaps appear on the stand (that would be his downfall).

I haven’t read the news analysis, but surely this will affect next year’s Presidential election. It’s hard to believe that being an accused felon can win him votes, but you know the Republicans: they may see him as more of a martyr. Will they still run a candidate who’s under indictment? I bet so, since it’s legal and they won’t care if he may have to leave office if elected. Nothing can deter the GOP’s ardor for this narcissistic primate.

But if he’s convicted, he’s done for—an ex-President, singing with the choir primeval, longing for the pools of Mar-A-Lago. And, perhaps, there may be jail time. No ex-President has ever been indicted of a federal crime (Nixon was pardoned before he was ever charged), so we have an interesting political and legal season coming up.

Given Trump’s penchant for stalling, I doubt he’ll be tried before the November elections next year.

But I think most readers here will have a spring in their step today. I know I do!

48 thoughts on “TRUMP INDICTED! Orange Man may wear Orange Uniform

  1. So Gen. Petraeus’ attorneys were able to get his potential felony liability reduced to a misdemeanor, mishandling of classified information. How much of the book to throw at someone and whether your tuchus might go to jail seems to be a really personal decision on the part of government prosecutors.
    I wouldn’t mind a guest column by Ken today.

    1. As I understand it, Petraeus got that as part of a plea deal that saw him plead guilty. I’m sure Trump could get a similar deal, but can you imagine him actually pleading guilty?

  2. I’m working on new lyrics for that classic Pointer Sisters song – the new title: You’re So Indicted:

    You’re so indicted, and you just can’t hide it
    You’re about to lose control, and I think I like it
    You’re so indicted, and you just can’t hide it
    And I know, I know, I know, I know
    I know you’re guilty

    1. Another set of lyrics is required : transatlantic bonus today! Bonking Boris resigns from parliament in the wake of the ruling, “Determined to have misled parliament over Partygate”.

  3. I may have much disrespect for the Tangerine Shitgibbon, but I’d not have thought to stoop so low as to call him an Orangeman.
    Thinking about it though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sharing a stage with Paisley fil. If he thought there was a vote to be had, he’d probably dig up Paisley père and prop him up on the stage too.
    I guess the difficulties of jail management would imply that he goes into permanent segregation – alongside the child rapists and multiple murderers – with supervision by Secret Service agents seconded to “Corrections”. Or regular “Corrections” staff vetted by the SS. That should cover most regulations about “duty of care” without undue special attention. Which will really hurt his ego.

  4. A new word will be needed to replace schadenfreude, which is inadequate to describe what is about to occur.

    Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.
    Malicious enjoyment derived from observing someone else’s misfortune.
    Delight in another person’s misfortune
    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  5. The early signs are that the Republican Party is rallying around Trump. The new mantra of the party is that Biden has “weaponized” the Department of Justice and the FBI for the purpose of getting Trump. There is no evidence that Biden has played any role in what the DOJ is doing. The Republicans will use the argument that Hillary Clinton did the same thing in mishandling documents, although the circumstances were not the same. This indictment and the likely future ones will strengthen Trump’s position with the party base, making his nomination even more likely. However, in the general election, particularly if he is already convicted and possibly already imprisoned, Trump will go down to a resounding defeat, crashing the party with him.

    Of course, it is possible that Trump will be acquitted, which would enhance the likelihood of his election. Another term of his presidency is too painful to contemplate. Regardless of what should happen, there is little evidence that the Trump cult, the base of the Republican Party, will ever abandon him. The right-wing militias will gain more adherents, more “lone wolf” crazies will emerge. Violence, in the form of domestic terrorism, will become more prevalent. The social fabric will fray and possibly disintegrate. Neighbors will hate each other. What one person thinks of another will be determined by what they think of Trump. Even more than now, family members and former friends will stop talking to each other. Any chance of cooperation among the parties in the governmental area will cease. There is no way to tell what the end game will look like as the result of this trajectory in American society and politics. Historians will spend the next few decades, perhaps centuries, trying to figure out how it was that a geriatric con man served as the spark that set off a powder keg ready to explode for decades that only needed the right person and circumstance for this to happen.

    1. Brrrr…shudder…that’s the scariest stuff I ever recall you writing, Historian. Sorry.

    2. It’s a terrible thing for this nation for the federal government to have indicted a former US president.

      It would have been a worse thing — a complete undermining of the rule of law that undergirds our form of government — for a former US president to be treated as above the law. Imagine the precedent that would set for future presidents.

      1. This is what Pence said yesterday. “And let me also say I think it would also send a terrible message to the wider world,” Pence continued. “I mean, we’re the emblem of democracy, we’re the symbol of justice in the world, and the serious matter, which has already happened once in New York, of indicting a former president of the United States sends a terrible message to the world. I hope the DOJ thinks better of it and resolves these issues without an indictment.”

        The guy, like his former boss, is delusional. The wider world would look on in horror if the US decided to let a criminal like Trump go free.

          1. Good point. Americans, especially politicians, have rose-colored glasses when they speak of America in general terms. “We” think we’re exceptional, the rest of the world scratches their head and wonders why we think that. Especially in light of our unbridled gun violence and lately a huge swath of Americans (I’m looking at you Republicans) that don’t care for democracy.

    3. It’s a cliche to say “We’re in uncharted territory”, but – we’re in uncharted territory. That doesn’t mean we are certainly doomed. However, the risk of some very bad outcomes just went up substantially. I don’t think future historians will be particularly mystified by Trump, in terms of personifying the social stresses of the era – no more so than they are for Hitler (a reference which would have been immediately denounced years ago, but is common and even approved nowadays, and there’s a lesson there). But it’s all a lesson in front of us that peace and democracy can break down into a war of all against all.

    4. Historians will spend the next few decades, perhaps centuries, trying to figure out how …

      Wonderful! I am sure they will get there in the end. I have no doubt they have a method to arrive at a demonstrably true answer to the question 🙂

  6. He’ll be tried in Florida where the federal judges have a reputation of not putting up with delay tactics.

  7. President Obama takes boxes of classified documents back to his tacky, overpriced “residence” and then prevents the National Archives and even the FBI from removing those documents for many months: I’m sure the Right would rush to his defense and whine witch-hunt. Because consistency.

    The occupant of the White House doesn’t have power: he’s merely an employee. Not a CEO, not a king: a public employee like any other. It’s the office that contains immense power, being granted only by the consent of the People.

    “I was chosen by god” is a statement that should immediately disqualify a candidate, nevermind all the landfills of corrupt baggage dragged along by that D-list TV host.

    He faked it until he made it, and then continued to fake it because that’s all he is. The Orange Dumbbell never deserved to go on a tour of the White House let alone live there, let alone control a nuclear arsenal. He wasn’t even qualified to sell Pizza Hut.

    1. Dave, did you really mean “President Obama”? It sounds like it should be “President Trump”particularly respecting “the tacky overpriced residence”

      1. I did, yes, to demonstrate hypothetically the continual lack of consistency.

        While I abhor the religious Right, I’m in no way loyal to any party or particular politician.

        Anyone in government who mishandles, knowingly or unknowingly, classified documents, should not only face potential prison but also lose the ability to hold public office forevermore. Either by design or by accident, they should be held accountable for said mishandling, be it Bill and Hillary, Joe, Mike, or Dumbbell.

        The public entrusts its representatives to serve, and the consequences of any abuses thereof should be both bipartisan and stern, in equal measure.

        1. But only Mr. Trump is actually going to be held accountable, and I think for good reason. As I understand it*, the indictment of the former president is not for mishandling documents, which a lot of politicians seem to do but which isn’t a crime, but rather for, so the government alleges, refusing to return national defence information when the government asked him to, for denying that he had it when he knew he did, and for taking steps to hide it for when the government came looking for it. Those are all federal crimes that, because of specific intent indicated, go beyond mere careless or willful mishandling of documents. It’s even not a crime to steal them as long as you give them back when asked.

          The nature of those alleged crimes I think tells us why only Mr. Trump is being indicted and other mishandlers are not being….and won’t be, even if you believe in principle they should be held accountable in some other way. Perhaps the government will indeed look the other way because those other mishandlers are Not Orange Man…or because none of those others are believed to have engaged in provable criminal conduct.

          I do look forward to what defence he offers.
          * This understanding may or may nor accord with summaries of the indictment presented here. I went for a change of scenery.

  8. I wonder if there is any evidence suggesting a motive and if so did the grand jury hear it? Was he hanging onto the material to peddle to P*tin? Or was is simply out of compulsive gratuitous acquisitiveness?

    And have people testified that we don’t already know about?

    1. And have people testified that we don’t already know about?

      Federal grand jury proceedings are covered by the rule of secrecy established by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e)(2)(B). Everyone involved in federal grand jury proceeding is prohibited from publicly disclosing grand jury information — everyone, that is, except for the grand jury witnesses themselves (who retain a First Amendment free speech right to discuss their own testimony with anyone they see fit).

      There have been a great many witnesses who testified before the grand juries sitting in Washington, DC, and the Southern District of Florida regarding Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation of the Trump documents case. I believe only a small fraction have made their grand jury appearances known publicly.

      So the answer to your question above is, yes, there are very likely a large number of witnesses who testified before the grand juries whose identities remain unknown.

      1. This is just in from the Washington Post: “The criminal case against former president Donald Trump for alleged obstruction and mishandling of classified documents case is expected to be overseen at least initially by Judge Aileen M. Cannon — the federal judge in Florida who last year appointed a special master in the case and temporarily halted FBI access to classified documents taken in a court-approved search. Multiple people who viewed the summons ordering Trump to appear in federal court next week confirmed that the case has been assigned to Cannon, a young conservative judge who was nominated to the bench by Trump in 2020. “

        Will Judge Cannon embarrass herself again or will she run a fair court? There is a long and rocky road ahead before we get a jury verdict. I have a few questions for you, Ken. 1) Can the prosecution appeal a judge’s decision before the trial is concluded? 2) If the jury acquits, but the prosecution believes there were grave mistakes by the judge, can the acquittal be appealed or is it too late? Thanks.

        1. I’m hoping there was good reason to do this in Miami, but I can’t for the life of me figure out any plausible ones. I read a comment from an “expert” that the choice of Miami is a clear signal that the Justice Department “is determined to obtain a conviction that will be upheld on appeal and result in a prison sentence for Trump.” But they didn’t explain why. Maybe Ken can shed some light on this?

          Meanwhile, Cannon has already demonstrated once that she is capable of choosing Trump over the rule of law even when doing so makes her look eminently incompetent and obviously corrupt to here peers.

          1. The Sixth Amendment states this:

            “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

            Since the alleged crimes were committed in Florida, the trial must be there. If the government wanted the case tried elsewhere, it could be dismissed because it was in the wrong venue.

          2. If I stole artifacts from the Smithsonian, but they were recovered at my home in Florida, where was the crime committed?

            I’m not sure why Florida is the right venue here.

          3. A conspiracy charge can be prosecuted in any venue in which an act in furtherance of the conspiracy was committed. For the Trump documents case, that means a conspiracy count could be prosecuted in Florida or Washington, DC.

            OTOH, substantive charges such as specific acts of obstruction of justice, or making false statements, or witness tampering can be prosecuted only in the venue in which the crime occurred. (This is a constitutional requirement under the Sixth Amendment.)

            I believe it was so that such substantive charges could be brought against Trump that the case was indicted in the Southern District of Florida. It also may be that one or more of Trump’s coconspirators (such as Trump’s valet, Walt Nauta, who moved boxes out of the Mar-a-Lago storage unit the day before a visit to the site by the FBI) are also going to be charged. Someone like Nauta could be charge only in the Southern District of Florida, since his activities were confined to that district.

        2. I see a very difficult road to obtain a conviction with the case assigned to Cannon. In answer to the above, I understand that the Gov’t cannot appeal an acquittal under the Double Jeopardy Clause. Regarding appeals of non-final orders, I think they are allowed but rare.

        3. I seriously doubt that Aileen Cannon will end up presiding over the Trump documents trial.

          When a new case is filed in the Southern District of Florida, the filing attorney is required to submit a cover sheet. One of the questions asked on the cover sheet is whether any related cases are, or were, pending in this district. I’m sure the prior civil suit filed by Trump and assigned to Cannon was listed as a related case. Where there are, or have been, such related cases, the new cases is presumptively assigned to the judge who heard the earlier case, in the interests of judicial economy, since that judge presumably already has a certain familiarity with the underlying facts. I believe that is the sole basis on which the new cases was assigned to Cannon. (It would also explain why the magistrate assigned to the current case is Bruce Reinhart, the West Palm Beach Division magistrate who issued the Mar-a-Lago search warrant.)

          I don’t think this will serve as a sufficient basis for the case to remain assigned to Judge Cannon. I think it will go back into the blind draw of judges ordinarily used to assign judges to cases.

          Moreover, I can’t imagine that Aileen Cannon wants to get back into the national spotlight in a case involving Donald Trump after the way an ultraconservative panel of Trump appointees from the Eleventh Circuit of Appeals scathingly slapped the earlier case out of her hands, directing her to dismiss the case and finding that she had no jurisdiction to entertain the lawsuit in the first place.

          I’m sure the prospect of presiding over an much larger and intense case involving Donald Trump holds all the appeal for her that returning to Oxford to debate Huxley again would have held for Wilberforce, or returning to Zaire to fight Ali again would have held for George Foreman, or that returning to Shea Stadium to replay the final half-inning of Game 6 of the ’86 World Series would have held for Bill Buckner. 🙂

          If Judge Aileen Cannon (the least experienced federal district judge in the Southern District of Florida) is initially assigned to preside over this case, I suspect she’ll be looking for an excuse to recuse herself and spare herself any further embarrassment.

  9. Conservative commentators are saying this will have an unintended consequence for Democrats–namely, Republicans will amp up their attempts to prosecute Democrats. I think this is very likely to happen.

    1. An empty threat. Ridiculous even. The RP has spared no expense in going after major DP figures continuously for more than 20 years. It’s silly to suppose that any increase in their efforts would be noticeably worse, and it’s ludicrous to suppose that any such consequences would be “unintended“.

      In any case, let the chips fall where they will.

    2. Well, if Democrats broke the law, then prosecute them. Simple as that. And so what, we’re just supposed to let a criminal go free out of fear of retribution. That’s not how it works in America, yet the GOP continues to show that they really don’t like how America works. A lawless bunch of miscreants, the GOP.

  10. In 1649, Charles 1 Stuart argued that “the King can do no wrong”, but a parliamentary commission ruled against him, and it seems Charles rather lost his head over the matter.
    Other jurisdictions have since followed England’s lead ( ) and now the US has at last joined this group. The Axios review notes that in Peru “every president but one who served between 1985 and 2018 has been arrested or charged”. The political party of Nixon, Agnew, and Trump presumably draws its inspiration from this and similar South American models, a philosophy which we could summarize as banana Republicanism.

  11. “In a particularly stinging part of the indictment, Trump’s own words about the importance of protecting classified documents are recited. He said, for instance, ‘We can’t have someone in the Oval Office who doesn’t understand the meaning of the word ‘confidential’ or ‘classified’. He also said, ‘In my administration, I’m going to enforce all laws enforcing the protection of confidential information. No one will be above the law.’ “

  12. Some random thoughts on this issue:

    1.How can Red America consider this to be a righteous indictment when, from their perspective:
    A. President Biden, former Vice President Pence, and many former officials, including presidents, had unauthorized documents in their possession when they left office but were not indicted. Nattering about obstruction may not convince Red America that there are important differences in the underlying offenses;
    B. Charges are being filed by the Biden administration on a presidential rival for actions around technical violations of a records law, a Banana Republic political tactic; and
    C. This can be construed as just another attack, and a petty one at that, on Red America by Blue America?

    2. Trump may have broken meaningful election laws with his attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Every time he is indicted by political rivals for technical or minor violations of laws or regulations, the chances of getting members of the Red team to see the righteousness of holding him accountable for important crimes may well diminish. As is evident from history and this conversation, when we suit up into teams we tend to understand issues from the viewpoints of our teams. And every attack on our team amps up our emotionally based need to defend that team. And its leaders.

    3. Our primate team oriented brains aren’t well suited to dispensing justice when we are acting as members of a group rather than as individuals judging individuals.

    1. In my country, leaking classified material is considered to be an extremely serious crime and will get you a jail term if caught. I can’t believe it’s considered less serious in the USA, so why shouldn’t Tr*mp be indicted for it? I don’t think this is technical or minor.

  13. You mean how can Red America consider this to be a righteous indictment when they are deep in Trump’s cult of personality? I don’t know, and frankly, I don’t care. If Red America thinks Biden’s and Pence’s document possession is similar to Trump’s, then they’re simply delusional. The Biden administration isn’t filing the charges, and the violations weren’t “technical” and if Red America thinks otherwise, then they’re simply delusional. Whoever construes this as “just another attack, and a petty one at that, on Red America by Blue America” is simply delusional.

    Re. your 2nd point. This and the previous indictments have nothing to do with his attempts to overturn the 2020 election; those indictments will be coming out of Georgia and they are imminent. I don’t know why you say these particular indictments are “technical or minor violations” I’ll just assume you haven’t paid attention. That’s usually the biggest problem in regards to Trump’s base: those who support and/or worship him believe everything the liar says, they can’t see behind the con, and they’re usually immersed in the propaganda of social media and “news” networks like Fox and Newsmax.

    1. Thanks for sharing your observations Mark. I appear to have miscommunicated my point on any indictments coming as a result of Trump’s attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Indictments for relatively minor offenses like keeping an few copies of official records or for offenses that are a legal reach can actually blind Trump’s supporters to the seriousness of other offenses like those that appear to have occurred after the election. Thanks for giving me a chance to clarify my point.

  14. I’m still reading the indictment. Normally, this type of stuff is very dry and dull reading but this . . . He had boxes of classified material sitting on a stage in a heavily used ballroom, then moved to various rooms including a storage room off a heavily used area, showed off classified material to people that had no clearance, etc. Then he resisted returning the stuff when asked. Unbelievable. Even for Trump, what was he thinking? As someone else said, this was an unforced error. He didn’t need to do this, it just didn’t seem to occur to him what he was setting himself up for. Again showing this is someone that shouldn’t ever be near the office of the president. That is my biggest concern: I don’t think he could win the presidency now, but I wouldn’t say it is impossible, and I don’t want to think what would happen if he got back in.

    Here’s the indictment (note, PDF file):

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