The Problem With The Trump Indictment: Everyone Knows, & No One Cares
Admittedly, this day has certainly been some time coming.
For many of us, it all feels long overdue. Many of us have had a moment, long passed, where we thought Trump had finally crossed the line of what would be tolerated, and charged.
For most, I suspect, it was his first impeachment, stemming from him using his office and position to pressure or encourage Ukrainian President Zelensky to dig up dirt on his political opponents. Contrary to Trump’s insistence, it was not a “perfect” call.
For me it was when Trump pretty clearly violated the Emolument’s clause of the Constitution, forbidding federal office holders from taking payments from foreign governments. When foreign dignitaries stayed, at great expense, at Trump owned properties, on trips they hoped to gain favor no less, it seemed apparent that this was flatly illegal. Trump had not divested his businesses as previous presidents had, and now was transparently making revenues by hosting foreign officials; it seems like exactly why the Emolument’s Clause might exist.
And yet, time and time again, Trump evaded responsibility for his often blatant crimes.
That streak came to an end not too long ago when the Trump Organization was found guilty of criminal tax fraud. That got far less news than this week’s development: Trump himself has been indicted and charged with a crime.
And while I sit with a weird kind of solemn relief, I can’t help but feel discouraged that this is the charge we’re going to lead with.
The Charge: Misuse of Campaign Funds
For those not as dialed in, let’s review the situation.
While it hasn’t been unsealed (made public) yet, it is nearly certain the charges will be related to a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, with whom he had an affair. Such arragements and payments are not in itself illegal, but it appears Trump reimbursed his lawyer (who made the payments) with campaign funds, which would be a misdemeanor.