Trump climbs up plane steps holding umbrella with his name on it

Pre-K Redux: What kind of moronic loser puts their name on their umbrella?

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Grace of the American Republic: Looking Forward To the Appropriate Catastrophe

In his latest encounter with reality - SAD! - America's disgraced, lying, multiple-indicted "perpetual defendant" was charged in a 4th jurisdiction with a 4th grievous crime of trying to overthrow democracy. Astoundingly, he's still whining and criming: Sack the judge, move the trial, attack the four prosecutors (coincidentally, 3 of them black) doing their jobs. But belated accountability looms. Former Capitol cop Mike Fanone: “Donald Trump spent his entire lifetime fucking around and he’s about to find out."

Having "shattered the laws of political physics," the baby-mobster who always viewed the law as a weapon he could wield against his many supposed enemies now faces 78 criminal charges in both state and federal jurisdictions, with more very likely to come. Last week, Trump became the 1,078th person indicted for federal crimes in connection with the January 6, 2021 storming of the Capitol, marking a record fourth time in just four months he's been accused of committing a serious crime distinct from his other indictable ones - never mind all those, it must be noted, from the decades-long malfeasance he's slithered away from pain-and-shame-and-prison-free. The Jan. 6 indictment, of course, joins an already tawdry list of transgressions: 37 felony charges for stealing and then hiding/lying about classified documents; 34 New York charges for paying hush money to Stormy Daniels; also in New York, charges of massive business fraud that could ban him and his evil spawn from future dealings there plus legal liability for sexual assault; and charges reportedly coming soon in Georgia for pushing to "find" 11,780 election votes he didn't get. All told, he's expected to face $40 million in legal bills this year alone; good thing for him, he usually doesn't pay them anyway.

On Thursday, observers noted, a wannabe dictator so bloated with insecurity he puts his name on buildings, golf clubs, shirts and even his stupid umbrella was cut down to paltry size with "exquisite symbolism." With no family or minions present, he was taken into custody by the government he tried to overthrow in a courthouse between two scenes of the crime - the White House and Capitol. To the cry of "All rise!" - no more Hail to the Chief - the lifetime sexist, racist xenophobe faced U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, a Jamaica-born, Obama-appointed female judge who's handed down some of the harshest sentences to Jan. 6 rioters and who earlier rejected Trump’s attempt to block the Jan. 6 Select Committee from getting access to presidential records with, "Presidents are not kings, and plaintiff is not president." And in her reportedly most galling humbling of him, she called him "Mr. Trump," not his favorite, delusional "President" - "a citizen, no more and no less." He underwent the same mundane legal rituals as any criminal defendant - swearing in, name and age - before hearing the litany of charges, "term of imprisonment" (oh please) if convicted, and warning that, “If you fail to comply with any conditions of your release, a warrant may be issued for your arrest” (ditto).

The 45-page indictment lists four counts against Trump: Conspiracy to defraud the United States "by using dishonesty, fraud and deceit" to obstruct the collecting, counting, and certifying of election results; Conspiracy to Impede Congressional Proceeding on Jan. 6; Conspiracy Against Rights ie: to vote and have that vote counted; Obstruction of Official Proceeding ie: certification of the vote. Undercutting the likely (and actual) "free speech" defense argument of Trump attorneys, it pointedly notes he had the right to challenge or even lie about the election, but not to do anything about it, aka "use unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting the election results" - like installing 16 fake GOP electors in Michigan now facing felony charges, or calling Georgia officials to "find" votes he didn't get. It also lists six unnamed co-conspirators - Giuliani, Powell, Eastman etc - and spends 15 pages documenting the key fact Trump knew he was lying - one advisor called the claims of fraud "conspiracy shit beamed down from the mothership" - but kept doing it anyway. Jan 6. was "an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy" fueled by lies, charged Jack Smith, who had sat in the front of the courtroom glowering at Trump; now, he urged all Americans to read the indictment "in full."

Trump has tried to whip up his supporters to go to battle for him; at rallies he's taken to claiming, Christ-like, “They’re not indicting me, they’re indicting you." But only a small crowd turned up at the arraignment; their signs ranged from "Ultra Extreme MAGA" to "Jail Trump Forever"; and the snarling bully who once led rabid chants of "Lock Her Up!” now gives prosecutors fresh lethal ammunition every time he opens his vile, clueless mouth. Charlie Pierce at Esquirelikened the spectacle to the 1807 trial of Aaron Burr, now "no longer the only president or vice-president to be indicted for crimes against the nation he once served"; he quotes the prosecutor's taunt to the defense, "If the gentleman pleases, he is at liberty to consider the whole trial as a piece of epic action, and to look forward to the appropriate catastrophe" - in this case, an expected hanging of Burr that never took place. In the case of Jack Smith, Pierce argues, the power of his "monumental" historical and legal document lies in its precision: Smith has crafted an indictment "precisely drawn to sit the former president* down under a swinging lightbulb in a dark interrogation room...There is very little room for the defendant to breathe." If we're lucky, Pierce adds, "There is thunder in this indictment that will echo for decades."

Many others view this latest charge as a potential turning point in our long, sordid, national calamity, both anguished melodrama and buffoonish farce. In The Atlantic's "This Is the Case," Tom Nichols argues we can "no longer indulge the pretense that Trump is just another Republican candidate," like when "an annoying uncle rhapsodizes about stolen elections," describes opponents as pedophiles or rants about "the dire national-security implications around Hunter Biden’s genitalia." Deeming Trump’s candidacies "moral choices and tests of civic character," he avers the new indictment "challenges every American to put a shoulder to the wheel and defend our republic." Will Bunch alsostresses the case, drawing on an 1870 Ku Klux Klan Act, symbolizes "the virus that has sapped democracy on this continent" - the white supremacy that's always marked Trump's life. His racist father, the Central Park Five, the Obama "birther" claims, the Mexican "rapists," Muslim ban, "shithole countries" and race-based totems - they all coalesce in his fevered claim that voter fraud was coming from black communities in Democratic-run cities, who don't and shouldn't count. "If we pretend this is just about Trump (and) some charges but we leave that part out," Bunch writes, "we’re leaving the danger and the cancer still among us unaddressed."

After the latest charges were announced, the Bidens, vacationing in Delaware, went to see Christopher Nolan's film Oppenheimer. Trump took up the first of many, frenetic outbursts: witch hunt, fake charges, deranged Jack Smith, weaponized DOJ, election interference by the Biden Crime Family, who've sadly replaced Sleepy Joe. "The lawlessness of these persecutions is reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the 1930s," he shrieked. "President (sic) Trump has always followed the law and the Constitution, with advice from many highly accomplished attorneys." LOL.They presumably included Rudy Giuliani, who now faces his own charges and in 2020 engendered "clearly not an Ocean's 11 scheme when he unveiled a "powerful smoking gun" video about election fraud in Georgia - "suitcases" of illicit votes, "double-counted" ballots - that was quickly debunked as fantastical nonsense. Also John Lauro, who while seeking to defend his client appeared to confirm his guilt by telling Newsmax Trump did ask Pence to "pause the voting" so state legislatures could weigh in and re-audit, "but what he didn't do is, you know, send in the tanks" - one legal analyst: "Sounds like a coup to me" - and is now clumsily arguing "a technical violation of the Constitution is not a violation of criminal law."

Trump, meanwhile, is using the once-cherished presidency as a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card, working to parlay his newfound criminal fame into the White House. Last week he crowed, "I need one more indictment to ensure my election," and his numbers - WTF MAGA - have in fact gone up. Following the infamous edict from Steve Bannon to "flood the zone with shit," he's also been quietly plotting his revenge, reportedly assembling an imaginary government-in-waiting packed with MAGA lawyers, vengeful "special counsels," pardon plans for goons and rioters, and other weapons of mass destruction to transform the DOJ into an instrument of his fascist agenda. Mostly, though, Trump is busy freaking out and (still) fucking up. Unable to listen to anyone else - think the "many, many, many people" who purportedly told him he lost the 2020 election - and despite stern warnings from Judge Chutkan not "to try to influence or retaliate against witnesses" - the petulant deadbeat who Just Can't STFU went back to his crappy fake-gold-encrusted McMansion and promptly began trying to influence, retaliate against and otherwise trash likely witnesses, starting with "Liddle’ Mike Pence," who "has gone to the Dark Side," was "delusional," and is "not a very good person." Ha: Yuge Super Duper Ultra Pot/Kettle say what.

Since then, he's kept at it, with much ketchup presumably thrown at walls as the reality of the possibility of prison time sinks in. After the Pence barb, he lost it and just went with browbeating everyone, thundering the very presidential, "IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!” When the post quickly raised eyebrows, a Trump "spokesperson" defended it (sic) as "the definition of political speech," babbling it was "in response to the RINO, China-loving, dishonest special interest groups and Super PACs, like the ones funded by the Koch brothers and the Club for No Growth." Umm, okay. Alas, Jack Smith, who used to prosecute war criminals for a living, was uncowed; he promptly filed a court motion seeking a protective order from Judge Chutkan, citing the post's "harmful chilling effect on witnesses," arguing "there is no First Amendment right to threaten," and suggesting the danger of a loose-cannon Trump improperly sharing evidence in the case. Saturday, Judge Chutkan ordered Trump’s team to file a response to the motion by 5 p.m. Monday. They requested - delay, distract, delay - the deadline be moved to Thursday. She quickly denied the request, leaving 5 p.m. Monday the moment the Lock-Up-Everyone guy might, just, possibly be ordered locked up, for all our sakes.

Yet he's still screeching. The lame free-speech "defense" was quickly followed by a venomous video, "Welcome to the Fraud Squad," whose invective targets the four prosecutors, three black. Alvin Bragg is a "radical liberal" who "refuses to prosecute violent criminals," Jack Smith "made a career persecuting innocent Republican officials," Letitia James is an anti-Trump "socialist," Atlanta D.A. Fani Willis, who's been subjected to a flood of racist threats and slurs ("Jim Crow Democrat whore") is incompetent and corrupt besties with a gang member. All weekend, as his lawyers insisted on TV his crimes were "aspirational," Truth Social posts howled: "THERE IS NO WAY I CAN GET A FAIR TRIAL WITH THE JUDGE ‘ASSIGNED’ TO THE RIDICULOUS (CASE)...WE WILL BE IMMEDIATELY ASKING FOR RECUSAL OF THIS JUDGE ON VERY POWERFUL GROUNDS...IMPOSSIBLE to get a fair trial in Washington, D.C.," a "high crime embarrassment" for which "I have called for a Federal TAKEOVER (to) bring our Capital back to Greatness." Nancy Pelosi, who said he looked like a “scared puppy” at court, is "a sick & demented psycho who will someday live in HELL!” (She also called the indictment “exquisite...beautiful and intricate.”) Biden made the U.S. women's team lose at the World Cup and "the USA is going to Hell!!!”

Even with the hysteria, writes Michael Moore, "He's lucky to be an American." Addressing, "Dear Disgraced Indicted-Felon Man-Baby Ex-President," Moore admiringly cites "the diversity (of) all the crimes...I’ve never seen anything like this, not even in a mob movie" - though most have the same motive: "To enrich yourself and to rule over us." "Here's to a speedy trial by a jury of your peers in four amazing American cities where the majority of the population happens not to be white," he adds. "You, sir, live in the United States of America and we do not execute white billionaires. At least give us that." For corroboration, Moore calls on esteemed Yale professor Timothy Snyder, historian of fascism and author of a clear-thinking Substack and the book On Tyranny - "to abandon facts is to abandon freedom” - who since 2016 has been warning America is not so exceptional a coup couldn't happen here, like almost everywhere else in the world. Snyder offers the trenchant bottom line on Trump's arrogant, self-serving pity party for himself and his "rights." "That Trump will be tried for his coup attempt is not a violation of his rights," he asserts. "It is a fulfillment of his rights. It is the grace of the American republic. In other systems, when your coup attempt fails, what follows is not a trial." Moore: "Better that than tied to a stake."

Sign calling for Trump to serve 20 to 24 years in prison.In Maine, a sign calls for justice.Photo by Rod DeFilippis

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