It seems like almost an anti-climax to the biggest event since⎼ I don’t know when. The pandemic, which was or is a three-year catastrophe? The Russian invasion of Ukraine? Any of the recent mass killings? The Jan 6, anti-democratic, mostly white nationalist attack on our nation, that is still creeping along, threatening so much we hold dear? None of these will be forgotten by so many of us. Joe Biden’s defeat of DJT? Now, that was something. DJT being elected in 2016? The world is still reeling from that.
So many of us have waited and hoped and now it’s here. It’s taken three plus years. Such events, in a democracy and nation of laws and millions of people, can take time. This is the first time in U. S. history a former President faces criminal prosecution, and for charges that include conspiring to undermine the constitution.
This event began Tuesday, in the late afternoon, with the announcement that the court in Washington, DC indicted someone. We could guess, but we didn’t know for sure. On Wednesday, the indictment was released, and we knew for sure. The document was devastating in its completeness and quality of evidence, dramatically written, even elegant. And Thursday, the arraignment.
No charge of treason, despite fairly clear evidence that he probably did just that. He tried to end democracy. No charge that his speech led to the death of police officers as well as attackers, or to police suffering from lingering PTSD from the attack.
David Leonhardt of The New York Times reported the evidence of treason would not be easy to prove⎼ especially if the goal is to complete a trial before the next election. DJT “never directly told those at the Jan 6 rally to attack Congress.” He was crafty in his language.
He did lie, repeatedly about the election being stolen, and so much else. Sixty plus court cases show that he had no evidence for his claims. His own Attorney General and many others told him that. His Vice President has said that DJT lied about Jan. 6 and will be held accountable by history for the lies.
What DJT did say, on Jan. 6, was, “All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical-left Democrats, which is what they’re doing. And stolen by the fake news media. That’s what they’ve done and what they’re doing. We will never give up; we will never concede…
I’ve been in two elections. I won them both and the second one, I won much bigger than the first.… I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard…. And we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore….” Etc.
He was charged on four counts. Obstructing an official proceeding, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the U. S. government, and conspiracy to prevent others from exercising their constitutional or civil rights, to vote and have their votes counted.
The indictment starts out with simple and direct charges. “The Defendant lost the 2020 election. Despite having lost, the Defendant was determined to remain in power.” It shows that he knew that his claims about the election of 2020 were false, were a lie, yet he did it anyway. He showed no concern for who was hurt, and the awful effects on our nation. As the Special counsel, Jack Smith, said, we should read the indictment. It’s also available as a podcast, read to us by MSNBC reporter Ali Velshi.
Yet, I expected more. Maybe the heavens to part. Maybe love to spread through the nation, or civil war. But luckily, none of the reactionary violence we might’ve feared has occurred. All big events, if they don’t cause unforgettable harm can take time to reach us and can create this sense of “wow, has it really happened?”
Maybe we will finally get to see him led off to serve time for crimes no one, certainly no President should ever commit. Maybe the trial will lead those in the GOP to become a party that cares at least somewhat about the nation and laws. Maybe. But as New York Times columnist David French said, it is surely “a trial America needs.” A trial that will hopefully get out the vote in November 2024, to save our world and democracy. Let’s make it so.
Today, he was formally arrested but not handcuffed as accused criminals are on crime shows. He was arraigned in a federal court. He was read his rights. And he was released on several conditions, including not communicating with witnesses without counsel being present, or trying to influence jurors, or commit a crime. Judge Moxila A. Upadhaya was the magistrate judge for the arraignment and Judge Tanya S. Chutkan will oversee the actual trial. The hearing to set the trial date will be August 28th. And then DJT was allowed to walk out of the courtroom.
He is now facing 3, and soon possibly 4, trials. Over 1,000 Jan. 6 attackers or seditionists have been prosecuted so far. This was made possible by so many of us standing up for democracy and the rule of law or just doing our jobs responsibly. This includes not only the Capitol police and FBI, Democrats, and old-line, not MAGA Republicans, in Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and elsewhere, election workers and others throughout the nation. These people sometimes risked their lives, homes, jobs to do so. This shows, I hope, that we can save and improve this fragile thing called democracy, and stop those in our midst who would destroy it.
Another long and dramatic event will now play out in this nation. An event that might determine if we have Presidents in the future or Presidential dictators or just dictators. We will be immersed in a legal battle that might determine how well we sleep at night and if we get to vote or have our votes counted in the morning. So, we take a deep breath. And we watch and listen.
*This blog was syndicated by The Good Men Project on Sunday, 8/06/23.