As a Republican presidential contender in 2016, Donald Trump knew something most of us may have totally missed.
Most people took it as a joke when Trump addressed an audience during a rally in Sioux Center, Iowa and said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, okay, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay?”
He totally understood the depth of devotion and loyalty supporters had for him. Little did we know at the time, there was some truth in his bold statement.
One of the strategies which propelled Trump’s popularity was to passionately defend “birtherism”, the long-held conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama was born outside of the United States and hence should never have been elected.
In doing so, it perpetuated a lie which had racial overtones while tapping into the hated-filled emotions of certain segments of the population.
From the passion fueling his support, an embolden Trump actually believed he could literally break any rules and not suffer any major consequences from voters or those in authority, He came to power by way of a lie, and he governed by way of lies.
Now, we are starting to see the lies and fraud catch up with the prideful former president. In multiple ways, the judicial system is starting to flex its muscle by showing while Trump is a former president, he is still a citizen who must be held accountable like all other citizens.
Last week, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a major lawsuit against Trump, the Trump Organization and his three adult children for a scheme to defraud banks and insurance companies. The state seeks to recover $250 million and severely restrict the defendants from conducting business in New York.
The bully has met his match in the New York Attorney General who has proven to be no pushover. James also said at a news conference that she was referring the matter to the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department’s Southern District of New York for potential criminal prosecution. While James declined to say whether she expects Trump to be criminally charged, most likely if he were an average citizen he would already be behind bars.
When a president inappropriately uses intimidation, it can make a difference in overriding the government’s system of checks and balances. What Trump sees as criticism and political attacks, it is often attempts at holding him accountable. Ted Cruz said Republicans don’t criticize Donald Trump because he “punches them in the face” for it. The twice impeached president has always been shielded from punishment for wrongdoing due to a lack of courage from members of his own party. Unfortunately, those with power and wealth can use their financial resources and political influence to escape or delay accountability. Trump’s “foot soldiers” are getting punished for their participation in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, but so far Trump and others with power have been free from any consequences. With judicial battles on multiple fronts, how long can Trump delay accountability? The former president faces potential criminal scrutiny from the federal government, the Manhattan district attorney and prosecutors in Fulton County, Ga, for a variety of issues –including his finances, the Jan. 6 insurrection, and his retention of sensitive government documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
It is obvious from the beginning Trump believed he was above the law. He still believes his devoted followers will ignore any lawlessness on his behalf and continue to promote his lies and bullying. He believes GOP lawmakers will continue to succumb to his intimidation while giving him political cover. He has confidence that judges who he has appointed to the federal courts will be blind to the law and will also do his bidding. Trump’s governing blueprint of dishonesty and deceit should not be stamped with approval by an intimidated Justice Department who like many GOP lawmakers will hold back accountability due to politics. The lack of accountability to Trump will be the green light for future Trump clones such as the current governor of Florida who would be more than willing to accept and carry out the blueprint. Fortunately, we are seeing signs of hope and confidence in our judicial system. Where the Trump-nominated U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon seemed intent on giving the Trump lawyers what they want in the form of a special master, the delay tactic appears to have backfired due to true justice being ultimately being enacted. The Trump team was mistaken in believing that former federal judge Raymond Dearie, as special master, would be an ally on their side.
Dearie did what any respectable judge would do, he quickly put an end to Trump’s stalling and nonsense. Meanwhile, a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, consisting of two judges appointed by Trump and one by Barack Obama unanimously granted the Justice Department a reprieve from Cannon’s order barring them from reviewing the documents with classified markings seized from Mar-a-Lago. The judges not only rejected Trump’s lawyer’s lack of arguments, but also Cannon’s acceptance of them. Trump along with members of his legal team, his supporters, GOP lawmakers and the nation as a whole need to see to real justice at work. Let’s hope it continues.
David W. Marshall is the founder of the faith-based organization, TRB: The Reconciled Body, and author of the book God Bless Our Divided America. He can be reached at www.davidwmarshallauthor.com.