One of the many great tragedies prompted by the reported indictment of the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump, is that so many conservatives now are forced to step aside from engaging in the exciting run-up to the GOP presidential primaries for the 2024 election. Despite the exciting lineup of choices to kick out Biden and Kamala, the order of the day now is to close ranks behind Trump.
Except perhaps for Andrew Johnson, no man ever has been as persecuted — and unfairly so — from the moment he entered the presidency. Johnson was a quirk of history. He was a Southern Democrat from Greenville, Tennessee, who joined as Republican Abraham Lincoln’s running mate amid the Civil War. Andrew Johnson never was supposed to be president. However, secessionist John Wilkes Booth murdered Lincoln moments after the Civil War ended, and suddenly the victorious Northern Republicans found themselves led by a Tennessee quasi-Dixiecrat. They never accepted him, made his life miserable, impeached him for a non-offense, and came one vote short of convicting him.
Other than Andrew Johnson, no other president has been so persecuted, demonized, and tortured as Donald Trump. He is too strong to say “They are torturing me.” So I will say it. This is unbridled torture, outside all bounds of behavior in American history. This garbage is why America ends up with so many mediocrities like Biden and Kamala leading our country into quagmires — because truly great Americans decide: “I don’t need this.”
We recognize a bit of how and why the hate unfolded. Trump was incredibly nasty and occasionally quite coarse during the 2016 GOP primaries. He descended into an idiotic comparison of hand sizes with Sen. Marco Rubio and insulted fellow candidates Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina for their looks. Similarly, he went after Sen. Ted Cruz’s wife’s appearance because she is not as glamorous as Melania, and he intimated that Cruz’s father could have been involved in the John Kennedy assassination. There was more nonsense with Lindsey Graham’s phone number. These were outside the pale and opened doors for evil destroyers to step in. But truth is that the Left went after Trump even before he stepped outside of civility. They accused him falsely of racism. Mistranslated a Yiddish comment about Hillary getting “schlongged” in a primary as being a misogynistic reference; it was not. They called him an anti-Semite — as vicious a lie as there ever was. They accused him of racism for referring to a federal judge as “Mexican judge” when any fair-minded observer knows that’s how New Yorkers talk: Rudy Giuliani is an “Italian” and so is Andrew Cuomo. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a “Puerto Rican.” Robert Kennedy was “Irish.” And a federal judge with Mexican ancestry is “Mexican.” Trump never questioned that judge’s Americanism, only his biases on immigration law — and that was fair.
Yet it never was Fiorina or Rubio or Cruz who went after him once the initial hurt wore off by election time. Graham, Rubio, and Cruz became strong Trump backers in the Senate. Rather, the vicious hate stemmed from the Hillary side of the aisle.
The Clintons are despicable and vicious. Enough ink has been spilled on this — the people they destroyed in pursuit of their power, their ruthlessness, corruption, the misogyny of the one, and the cynical defense of his misogyny by the other. We now know that Hillary funded the most heinous character assassination efforts, funneling money to Perkins Coie, who funneled the money to Fusion GPS, who commissioned the bogus Steele Dossier. Hillary’s campaign sent Perkins Coie $5.6 million, and the Democrat National Committee sent another $3.6 million. That led to the Russia Hoax and the endless Mueller investigation that turned up almost nothing besides Paul Manafort’s ostrich jacket. And it was not only the despicable Clintons. It was Nancy Pelosi conducting an annual impeachment. One had something to do with a call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which Adam Schiff falsified by reading into the record a completely mendacious mobster-like transcript, and which briefly got some guy named Vindman a guest appearance on Curb Your Enthusiasm in which he ends up with the pretty lady on a vacation flight after she purloins another guy’s passport and flight tickets. The second impeachment? Another pointless exercise in futility. And then the third annual travesty, the rigged Jan. 6 Committee hearings by a one-sided panel that covered up all inconvenient evidence. Time has evidenced that Jan. 6 was no insurrection. In all, a grand total of two people have been convicted of sedition. Not a shot was fired. Cops escorted some invaders deeper into the Capitol. A guy put his feet on Pelosi’s desk. Sentences typically have been for periods of less than a year. If only the Bolshevik and Maoist Revolutions had been such.
Trump made mistakes during his presidency. All presidents do, even the greatest ones. Franklin Pierce dropped the ball with Bleeding Kansas. Teddy Roosevelt announced too soon that he would not seek reelection, rendering him a lame duck who no longer could push through legislation. FDR tried to pack the Supreme Court, and that blew up on him. Ronald Reagan had Iran-Contra. Clinton allowed Osama Bin Laden to escape. The first Bush blew the economy, and the second Bush got America into an Iraq War that may have been one of the worst foreign policy blunders in American history, disrupting the bloody decade-long war and perpetual Shiite–Sunni animus between Iraq and the Iranian Ayatollahs, freeing Iran to focus instead on creating nuclear bombs to destroy America. Obama’s “Operation Gunrunner” sent Mexican drug lords deadly assault rifles that murdered Americans.
So Trump made mistakes. He trusted Paul Ryan to see him through funding for the wall. He initially made some poor Cabinet choices like Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. Trump blustered unhelpfully too often. But Donald Trump got a ton more things right and may have left behind the most impressive first-term presidency in American history. The economy boomed, and unemployment numbers reached record lows for all sorts of historically disadvantaged groups. He did not get us enmeshed in a single war, and he kept Russian President Vladimir Putin out of Ukraine just by being Trump. He extinguished the all-star starting lineup of international terrorists like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Qasem Soleimani. He confronted and tamed the North Korean Dough Boy, Kim Jong Un. He started building that big beautiful wall, brought back American jobs, and successfully imposed tariffs without starting a trade war. He got Europe cheapskates to cough up more money for NATO. And he named consistently top-notch conservative federal judges — from district courts to appellate circuits to the Supremes. He got ventilators to states so fast that even bitter political foe then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo felt obliged to thank him. And Trump’s Operation Warp Speed got vaccines developed in beyond record time. The more he succeeded, the more Democrats hated him because he proved impervious to their persecutions.
I may be incorrect, but I personally believe Trump did in fact do wrong stuff with that pole dancer on the lower rung of our social order. I believe he indeed paid her six figures to keep quiet. Why hush money? I guess he did not want his wife and kids to know. Indeed, one may wonder why the pole dancer is not investigated for blackmail. But it is obvious he did not pay her off to advance his political aspirations. So we now are amid the Fourth Annual Trump Ordeal.
Understand what a grand jury is. I know this first-hand from years of law practice in the federal and state systems:
The rules of a grand jury differ from those of a regular courtroom. Only the prosecutor is allowed to put on a case. No defense attorney or defense evidence is allowed in the room. So a grand jury is not about fairness or determining truth. Rather, it is constructed to facilitate an indictment. Its only purpose is to prevent criminal trials against people whose behavior has been spotless. In Trump’s case, of course there are specks: (i) a sordid affair (like Bill Clinton’s many) and (ii) hush money. In a grand jury, one witness after another is grilled by a prosecutor in front of gullible impressionable sorts. The prosecutor brings in nasty witnesses, people with personal gripes like Trump’s sleazy bag man, Michael Cohen, and eggs them on. Not a single witness is allowed to speak on behalf of the accused. There is no judge to protect witnesses from being abused. The witness has nowhere to turn for legal assistance. Therefore, the prosecutor pummels with tough questions, sometimes insults witnesses brutally, and threatens witnesses abusively in front of grand jurors. I know of cases where a witness would not say something the prosecutor wanted, so the prosecutor said in front of the grand jury “You can leave the room now, and we have officers right outside the door waiting to arrest you on perjury charges for lying to this grand jury.” And then the shaking, terrified witness walks out the door and finds there is no officer waiting for him, and he never gets arrested or hears from the prosecutor again — but the jurors do not know that.
The whole point is to trick the grand jurors into thinking, wrongly, that the witness had been lying. That is how dishonest and abusive a grand jury proceeding can be. The only brake that prevents even worse abuse is that the experienced prosecutor knows the limits, that if he or she gets too vicious, then the grand jury may shift its sympathies to battered witnesses. So the prosecutor manipulates the grand jury in secret, using tricks of the trade, ploys and psychological maneuvers that never would be allowed in open court. That is why so many indicted suspects ultimately end up having their cases thrown out anyway or win at trial. Meanwhile, each day the prosecutor becomes increasingly chummy with grand jurors, joking with them, asking about their lives, their children, their hobbies. It is like the opening minutes in Jeopardy! after the first commercial. The whole thing is a racket. This is why it is said that any competent prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict even a ham sandwich. (As an Orthodox rabbi, I eagerly await that day.)
And now Trump is indicted. It is bogus and cruel. Even tough men deserve fairness and justice. Personally, I like Trump, and I also like Ron DeSantis and Mike Pompeo, and I also esteem Mike Pence. But, like that famous scene in Stanley Kubrick’s 1960 film, I find myself declaring in the face of Marcus Alvinus Braggus: “I’m Trump!”
We conservative Republicans now all are Trump. And we now will not rest until Joe Biden — and, if still possible, Hillary Clinton — are indicted and handcuffed.
To Everyone Celebrating Trump’s Indictment