Beyond WH enablers and 1/6 mobsters, how many hardcore backers are culpable co-conspirators?
That Trump committed multiple criminal actions is no longer in doubt, only their range and severity. What remains outstanding is whether sufficiently harsh punishment will fit the systemic crimes—for all malefactors—and deliver a key teaching moment for the next wannabe autocrat. Hard facts over a year prove Trump hardly acted alone, though he played up his role as ringleader pushing violent insurrection. We’re talking an array of serial, linked crimes and criminal conspiracies—in short, a criminal confederation.
So, when does active facilitation of illegality, equally scornful of law, elections and the Constitution, turn into charges for vulnerable accomplices? From the FindLaw site, co-conspirators indicted for “aiding and abetting” need not be present when a criminal breaks the law. Exposure opens with prior or post-knowledge and/or offering advice, actions, or financial support in the commission of a crime. The federal crime of aiding and abetting applies when the accused acts with intent, before or after, to aid, counsel, induce or procure the person committing the crime. Bingo, in spades. Further, accessory after the fact crimes apply when the accused knows of a criminal offense, then hinders the criminal’s apprehension, trial or punishment. Prosecutors, on your mark! Double bingo.
No small cause for today’s steady erosion of Trumpian standing is the Gangster-in-chief’s huge legal exposure, with weekly incriminations confirming guilt. Not exactly a shocker after a career of Trump’s transparent, self-serving contempt for law—where anything he wants goes, certain no power holds this culprit to account. Such irrational confidence assumes only losers get caught. One trusts Trump’s arrogance of god-like immunity is as deranged as his laughably inept parade of failed schemes.
Is there much doubt historians will certify Trump as not only the worst, but by far the most criminal president? That settled, what remains is assessing the immense damage, especially undermining trust in essential institutions, like voting, majority rule, and transfer of power, even government itself as a viable entity. These disasters, if permanent, subsume the dismal crimes themselves. Were accountability to fall way short, America is sunk in malaise for who knows how long. If Trump’s scattergun of skullduggery (by anything but a genius) escapes real and permanent penalty, brace for equally audacious, sneakier political sneaks. The GOP has nothing else going but spawning more such anti-democratic demons.
The proof is in the rubble
Further, wary cable lawyers aside, savvy prosecutors won’t sweat establishing willful, knowing Trump intentions driving wrongdoing, well beyond sexual predation, tax fraud, acceptance of overseas funding and schemes, and Ukrainian blackmail? Especially with exponential post-election knavery, this criminal pipsqueak has left in his wake incriminating rubble equal to any Putin-pommeled Ukrainian city.
Even so, massive fines and jail sentences won’t readily erase the most heinous Trump crimes: heedlessly, crassly and ineptly poisoning voting and campaigning, thus fair elections, all the while suckering his base to reject America as a beacon of diversity. The only thing more disruptive than a failed, wannabe dictator is a successful one. So how wide and deep is the “aiding and abetting” conspiracy and what responses are necessary? Justice implodes when every third-rate shyster dishes out bad justifications that push an ignorant, unAmerican president to a folly of federal election mayhem.
There may be no law against not conceding, but trying to steal an election assassinates the very sovereignty of We, the people. Certainly rampaging rivers of legal hokum—from Eastman, Giuliani, Meadows, Miller and Bannon—deserve indictments, yet are there not scores of accomplices, including elected officials, indictable for the violent, election-disruptive uprising? Second, the crackpot Capitol insurrection took four years to boil, the extension of the Trumpist ploy to cause an emergency crisis that then justified a fascist takeover. Should not the culprits, within and above the base, who knowingly donated, rallied and organized, be held responsible for this wholesale gangsterism? Evidence mounts here is a pandemic of criminal conspiracies—and we need the most potent, legal immunizations against a replay.
No rabid right, no Trumpism
Why should Trumpers, who knowingly advanced Donald’s Deviance (since he never hid what he was) in all its brutal nastiness, not be exposed as aiders and abetters? If someone donated to Al Capone’s cash flow, thus advancing that gangster for a piece of the pie, wouldn’t prosecutors rush to investigate partners in crime? Since the Big Lie and Jan. 6 crowned four years of Trumpist knavery, why not consider all those without which Trumpism dies on the vine? Can’t the law exact the huge costs to all caused by only one-third?
It’s bad enough when a country, full of itself as a system of laws, delays for months accountability for the most conspicuous criminal ex-president ever. What about Sixth Amendment guarantee for speedy trials—a right that serves both defendants and impatient citizens? How much wickedness must the Lawbreaker-in-chief commit before even facing trial? Here’s when NOT doing something matters.
Worse still when only pathetic, lowly Jan. 6 yahoos become convicts while the organizers and funders remain untouched. Did this uprising start itself—and by addled racist boobs? Either we address what made one twisted national party such easy pickings for a fascist takeover by the most vulgar con man—or this country must grieve over its blinders. Any system of “justice” that delays indictments—with law-breaking as blatant as Russian war crimes—needs serious reform. Trumpism thrived because a devious rogue found weak points up and down the system. Personally, any sleazebag who fails to disclose endlessly promised tax returns after seven years shows profound bad faith, alone meriting political exile. Trump impugns our intelligence and the IRS with this longest audit con in history!
When criminals go unpunished, hell breaks loose
Just because of their lost visibility doesn’t remove issues over emoluments, nepotism, racketeering to gain income for Trump properties, and suspect campaign fundraising after Jan. 6. Not just soft crimes like harassment, against former appointments who dare criticize, but hard crimes, like the crudest election blackmail in Georgia. Any culture that won’t detail the magnitude of the criminal conspiracy is no country of laws. The rabid right routinely bellows “Lock ‘em up,” impugning opponents willy-nilly. Let’s return the compliment by jailing actual, repeat criminals who fed a crime wave. Only a fully-empowered, national commission can encompass criminality far larger than Watergate.
Finally, adding to direct co-conspirators, we must assess the hidden billionaire money that raised and sustained Trump’s visibility from an un-elected back bencher. It didn’t happen by chance, despite establishment party skepticism. As long as 500 rich families can buy government, they will find new Trumps. Equally in need of scrutiny: how duplicitous post-election fundraising gave Trump tons of cash to fritter away any way he wants. Denying politics as a “profit center” would stop one Trump corruption—and systemic reforms demand dealing with each of many corruptions at a time. No top, empowered criminal goes it alone. Expand the scrutiny. Lock ’em up.