Seize Trump’s passport: No greater flight risk than an unmasked con fleeing “every crime imaginable”

For the nation’s stability, for the integrity of our justice system, and even Trump’s own (short-term) good, seizing his passport resolves all problems.

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What other gangster has more high-style, extradition-resistant bedrooms to keep him in junk food?

Here’s the simplest, low risk way to keep Trump under wraps, without stepping on touchy prosecutorial toes. And it won’t incite hooligan street havoc, as indictments promise. Plus, how long it takes for indictments to surface matters not at all. Nor must we rush trials, verdicts or sentencing. 

Passports per PassportInfo can “be seized by the issuing government while the bearer is at home, to prevent flight out of the country while the bearer is under investigation for a crime or awaiting trial” [my boldface]. “Under investigation” defines Trump’s remaining time on earth, whether by federal, state, media or civil scrutiny. Either you arrogantly pull off the coup or you endure being the most investigated politician in our history, bar none, whatever the verdicts. 

Further, let’s never underestimate how slippery are the most litigious, guilt-riven billionaires, many enriched by slithering out of snares, leaving justice agape. Forget strong-arming Merrick Garland (who deserves it) or pressuring Joe Biden to find a more attentive, courageous Attorney General (warranted – how about Adam Schiff or Laurence Tribe?). In fact, we don’t own our passports, the federal government does, and it can demand forfeiture before criminal accusation or conviction. We’re talking not Justice nor the WH but simply the US State Department, with confiscation done by federal, state or local police. 

Equally true is that the last gasp by the dimmest of malignant narcissists senses when the party’s over, the con is kaput, and the posse unpacks the rope. Among others, the Daily Beast’s David Rothkopf captures the belated moment, “Put a Fork in Donald Trump—the Ex-President Is Done – LONG OVERDUE,” and that any splashy campaign declaration “is just another sign of his collapse.”  So, reams of damning evidence pile up, criminal liability expands faster than the universe, and ex-enablers are unraveling the Trump Derangement Syndrome. Bye, bye, front-running standing. Why, he’s getting so nationally unelectable, even dismal Hilary may reconsider a 2024 run.

Desperation reeks 

That being the case, as Trump’s status (and freedom) evaporate quicker than the non-existent ballots he failed to coerce, then survival and escape rear their ugly heads. His desperation oozes forth: insane attachment to the Big Lie, claims of total innocence, and trifling lies about credible accusers,, thus making all future indictments (including those not even conceived) by default phony. Alas, the involuntary exile of notorious cult leaders is never pretty – and the imperishable stench will outlast Trump’s used up, seditious life. 

While perhaps the last to know, the unmasked, deranged hustler eventually sees the walls closing in, accelerated by vapor-thin coverups. Trump’s only chance was to pull off his coup, gain WH immunity, then deflect prosecutions until memories fade. No such luck when rapid wrongdoing spans real election fraud, sedition, inciting a riot (spurring the arming of rioters), coercing officials to commit crimes, and then, as a finale, wave his laughable “election fraud” flag to victimize donors with scam fundraising. Afflicted with the plotting skills and temper of a five year old, Trump remains the chutzpah champion of the western world. 

Like other celebrated escapees, Trump would top the gang of cowardly bottom-feeders convinced no American court has the right to judge his sweeping perfection. Trump will impugn (with the same terms) legitimate trials as he did fair elections: losing only reinforces it’s all about dirty tricks by haters, committed to humiliate him and the family name. Yet, were enough connivance to again corrupt the process, then the putz from Palookaville walks away, dripping with praise how glorious is American justice. 

Cut him off at the pass

The best way to resurrect our glacially-slowed justice system, plus keep Trump from wandering the globe, is to confiscate his passport. Keep him within grasp so that relevant prosecutions may help make America great again (well, slightly less tarnished). That doesn’t impede a lawless billionaire from self-exile, but that implicitly confirms guilt, even desperation. Imagine the Three Stooges disguise – long trench coat, huge hat, fake beard, dyed hair – as Trump in the wee hours leaps on a speedboat or yacht to Neverland. If he hadn’t been so mean to Cuba, or impugned other “sh-t countries,” he’d have more prospects. Now he’d be buffeted by rough seas and fearsome hurricanes he never quite understood.

Running away has its downsides. Imagine the ghoulish media coverage, akin to OJ Simpson speeding to nowhere. Such publicity cements Trump as the ultimate pariah fugitive – a virtual conviction before a real one. Destinations? Russia, maybe Turkey, North Korea (!), a rightwing stronghold in South America? Saudi Arabia loves autocratic billionaires oblivious to its medieval assassinations. Trump hotels will open their high style suites, but some places, like Scotland, could well detain him, even extradite. 

Had he not berated Gov. DeSantis, maybe Florida would have granted a special dispensation, declaring him the deposed, thus still immune president. Would even this reactionary Supreme Court buy that lunacy? Better still, Trump sells Mar-a-Lago to Putin, who declares it a diplomatic Russian consulate, thus free from federal entanglement. So many options, so few that would wash – all that would define Trump as the iconic criminal-on-deck. 

More downsides with flight: that puts U.S. assets and Trump’s life mission in jeopardy: dishonestly bilking rubes. Loans will be called, and his credit would be as non-existent as those made-up 2020 ballots. A billionaire might funnel crypto currencies, but not without liability for aiding and abetting a fugitive. Many overseas leaders already think Trump no more than a disruptive, farcical blowhard who should have been jailed years ago. 

Fugitives don’t live free

The other problem is cash flow as the worst fear plaguing those who equate money with virtue is going broke. Poverty for an ex-billionaire would humiliate him on par with getting frog-marched off his golf course, both only slightly less painful than a long sentence in a third-rate prison. Fugitives, by definition, must live on less and less, contradicting the first Trump Commandment: demand more and more until you have everything. 

Wanting everything is his religious quest, and only braggadocio about his suspect billions can offset evidence of meagre intelligence, even stupidity, with a dreadful education except in hustling and fighting off convictions. No book reader (maybe cartoons), he’d shun cable TV where endless shows demonstrate what a failed, dimwit crook he’s been all along. After all, Trump’s life mission was/is testing whether he’s still the gold medal con artist who escapes “charges of every crime imaginable,” in White House lawyer Pat Cipollone’s apt parlance.

Thus for the nation’s stability, for the integrity of our justice system, and even Trump’s own (short-term) good, seizing his passport resolves all problems. Fortunately, or not, Trump hasn’t gotten smarter or more courageous than his lying, draft-dodging youth. Who knows what new, untested, and unimaginable crimes he can concoct in his remaining free time. 

Desperation can be hellish, whether you’re a suspect, or indicted, or swamped by trials in multiple states – even before punishments roll in. Being unmasked and under the gun is the worst nightmare for any interminable con man, even worse when in the eye of the worst scandalous hurricane in our history. More’s the pity. 

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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.

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