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Trump indictment.  A political boost or a setback?

Trump indictment.  A political boost or a setback?

The indictment of President Trump by a Florida grand jury should put to rest the claims by his enemies that he always gets away with bad behavior – even criminal behavior.  Au contraire.  In most instances in which Trump is brought to court, he does not fair well.  You will recall that he had to shut down his foundation and pay a fine.  He had to shut down Trump U. and pay a fine.  His company was convicted and fined for tax fraud.  He was recently fined after a jury found him liable in a sexual assault verdict.  He as been indicted in New York City for violation of campaign finance laws.

And now he has been indicted on 37 criminal counts – violating seven laws — in the so-called “documents case” by a federal grand jury convened by Special Counsel Jack Smith.  And the odds makers are betting that Trump will be indicted in Georgia– and there is still the January 6th case being investigated by Smith.

This is by far Trump’s most serious case.  It is a federal case … a criminal case … and comes with potential significant jail time if he is convicted. 

The case is not only a potential threat to Trump’s campaign for a second non-consecutive term but will create an enormous emotional response from the American people – on both sides.  (Although not the level of violence being promoted in leftwing reporting.)  We like to believe that we live under the rule-of-law and that no man is exempt.  If Trump has acted illegally, he should suffer the consequences.  That is the position of his detractors.  

But there is another side to the issue.  Has he really broken the law?  Are all the charges legitimate?  Or … have prosecutors targeted Trump and weaponized the FBI and Department of Justice against him – as he contends?  Did Smith overcharge, knowing he could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich – as the expression goes?  Are their mitigating circumstances unique to this case?

Whether Trump earned his indictment or is being persecuted by prosecutorial abuse has been pretty much decided by the American people – depending on which side you are on.  It is almost impossible to find anyone without a firm opinion,

Those opinions are locked in even though we do not know all the details of the indictment – and have not seen the evidence or heard the testimony that will come out in the trial.  But it can be said that the optics are not good in terms of the prosecution.

We have a Department of Justice headed by President Biden’s own people indicting a former President and presidential candidate of the opposite party in the early stages of a presidential election.  We are not comfortable having one political party using the prosecutorial offices they control to indict a currently leading opponent.  It certainly gives the appearance of politics.  And the claims that the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Special Counsel operate oblivious to the political biases is nonsense.

On the other hand, the indictment and public record do not comport with Trump’s claims of innocence in the court-of-public-opinion.  His credibility has been hurt by his own statements and actions – and the testimony of others. From what we have learned so far, the case against Trump is rather strong. But there are legitimate defense arguments to be made in favor of Trump.

Both sides understand that the indictment – warranted or not – will further divide the nation and intensify the emotions.  Trump has expressed hopes that the public would rise up in his defense – and his enemies express fear of a public and violent response.  (Actually, it is easy to believe that Trump’s enemies would actually like to see violence in the streets to justify their predictions.)

The immediate question is whether this indictment – or even an eventual conviction – will help or hurt Trump’s bid for a second term. He does appear that the more they subject Trump to a law enforcement gangbang, the more support he shows in the polls.  Many Republican voters appear to have come to a belief that Trump is being railroaded.  Others may be giving him a “vote” in the political polls even if they do not intend to vote for him in the primaries or on Election Day 2024.

It is an anathema to the American people to put a President in jail.  It smacks of third world autocrats.  Truth be known, many people do not want to see our leaders putting opponents in jail even if those opponents are technically guilty of some non-violent white-collar process crimes.  Perhaps it is because we the people believe that an aggressive prosecutor could indict and even convict Mother Theresa of some legal transgression.

Before we can know the answer to the political questions, we will have to wait and see how these various cases unfold – and what is the final outcome for Trump.  There is a lot of road between now and November of 2024.  The unknown impact of Trump’s legal problems – and other unforeseen events – make it impossible to predict the future – this time more than ever.

What can be said is that the presidential election of 2024 will be like no other contest in American history.  It could be a competition between a jailbird and a doddering old man.  God help us.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. frank stetson

    Are you kidding? As Jack Smith simply said: all Americans should read the indictment. And then tell us what you really think.

    Or as Bill Barr said; the indictment was, “very, very damning” and “I was shocked by the degree of sensitivity of these documents and how many there were, frankly,” concluding “if even half of it is true, he’s toast.” Barr added that he felt the 31 of the 38 total counts that fell under a section of the Espionage Act were “solid counts.” Barr is the guy who scuttled the Mueller report with his strange override that Mueller totally disagreed with, and recently called Trump’s NY indictment for hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels as Melanoma recovered from the birth of a Barron, a campaign funding violation that put his co-conspirator, and ex-consigliore, Michael Cohen behind bars in Federal Prison, Barr called this one an “abomination” that was the “the epitome of the abuse of prosecutorial power,” a “pathetically weak…held together with chicken wire, paper clips and rubber bands” type of case that had a co-conspirator, rendered guilty and imprisoned was not enough to change Barr’s mind. Yeah, Barr protected Trump on that one, which is black-letter law guilty, but not this one which sort of says: it’s baaad. Barr of all people says this one looks viable at 50% accuracy.

    Larry says: “The indictment of President Trump by a Florida grand jury should put to rest the claims by his enemies that he always gets away with bad behavior – even criminal behavior. (he has never been convicted on a criminal count and, so far, it’s just been some money of which he tells us, he has plenty, so no skin off his nose.) Au contraire. In most instances in which Trump is brought to court, he does not fair well. (it’s fare, not fair and try, in most cases, it never gets to criminal court, and the other ones are settled for cash with no admission of guilt, a lot of which he never pays) You will recall that he had to shut down his foundation (aka the Trump honeypot) and pay a fine (he paid $2M across eight charities, hardly a fine after what he stole) (not to mention his kid’s foundations, aka the little honeypots, often defrauding people too, the kids were court-ordered to have “charity training.”). He had to shut down Trump U. and pay a fine. (Trump did not pay, Phillip Ruffin paid in 2019, claiming he owed Trump this amount. I wonder after that what Trump owed him?) His company was convicted and fined for tax fraud. He was recently fined after a jury found him liable in a sexual assault verdict. He has been indicted in New York City for violation of campaign finance laws.” (All in all, he’s fared pretty well. So far. But as of EJ Carroll’s case, the worm has turned, and he’s finding it harder to wiggle out using cash as King. She got her cash, but more important, he was adjudicated guilty of sex abuse and defamation, with another defamation adder in the offing. Still not a criminal charge, but getting closer.)

    Many Trumplicants like Larry keep focusing on what others have done to Trump as rationale for what Trump has done. Or the legality of some bad things making them OK. Trump is the victim of Democrats, the Deep State, RINO’s, DOJ, FBI. IRS, even the archives, etc. while forgetting that he did the deeds. He made these decisions. He took the documents. He kept the documents. He lied about the documents. And he obstructed others from getting the documents. On this one, look at the indictment, look at the boxes, look at where they were kept, look at his lies to his own lawyers, the archives, the FBI, and DOJ. Look at his own words in the indictment. Innocent until proven guilty but seems pretty hard to blame others for Don’s deeds on this one.

    Innocent until proven otherwise. However, given this one is a lock according to Barr, and that NY, all flavors, and GA look pretty solid, I agree it would be better for the country if he didn’t go to jail and just went away. Bbut FL looks really bad, GA sure looks solid given his phone call, and NY is a slam dunk, all flavors. Looks impossible to extradite himself from jail time unless DOJ brokers a deal across all these different jurisdictions. Problem is how do you plead that out across jurisdictions? He may be finally in too deep to squiggle out. Hopefully, DOJ can orchestrate and Trump will finally come to his senses and deal. I really it that, but am ever hopeful.

    Meanwhile, Trump supporters of power like Representative Andy Biggs tweeted: “We have now reached a war phase. Eye for an eye.”

    Representative Higgins said: “Hold. rPOTUS has this. Buckle up. 1/50K know your bridges. Rock steady calm. That is all.” rPotus means REAL President, the Big Lie. 1.50K know your bridges is code for insurrection at a county level where you know the bridges.
    Trump wannabee loser recounter Kari Lake said: “If you want to get to President Trump, you’re going to have to go through me, and you’re going to have to go through 75 million Americans just like me. And I’m going to tell you, most of us are card-carrying members of the NRA. That’s not a threat, that’s a public service announcement.”.

    Senator Lee said: “The Biden administration’s actions can only be compared to the type of oppressive tactics routinely seen in nations such as Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, which are absolutely alien and unacceptable in America.”

    This is just the opinion of the Republican Congress; you can imagine what the everyday Trumplicants are saying. More than for 1.6.2021, they are openly calling for war saying this is the time patriots rise up against an illegal, autocratic, communistic, regime and all of the members therein. Hard to argue against arms against an illegal, autocratic, communistic regime —- if you believe all that malarky. But they are in Congress, they are our leaders and they are not saying much different than our twice-impeached sex abusing defamation President.

    I pray for your souls and that you will read the indictment before you lock and load, blow up bridges, or take up arms against your government and fellow citizens. You did the right thing to stay away at the NYC arraignment. Remember those who listened about the rigged election on 1/6/2021 right before they stormed the Capitol on their way to prison, some for seditious conspiracy end up in jail, many blaming Trump for their punishments.

    Burn me once, shame on you.
    Burn me twice, shame on me.

    • larry Horist

      Frank Stetson … Are you have problems with your reading comprehension again? Or just want to be a counterpoint to the Larry Horist of your imagination. You make it sound as if I was defending Trump from the points raised in the Indictment. Remember this graph:

      “On the other hand, the indictment and public record do not comport with Trump’s claims of innocence in the court-of-public-opinion. His credibility has been hurt by his own statements and actions – and the testimony of others. From what we have learned so far, the case against Trump is rather strong. But there are legitimate defense arguments to be made in favor of Trump.”

      I was comparing the OPTICS of indicting a former President and current Republican opponent and the merits of the case — which are not favoring Trump’s claim of innocence. I might take you more seriously if you were not such a hyperbolic ankle biter Try to deal with what I write and not the words and thought you put into your invented straw man Larry Horist.

      I have great civil discussions with people who disagree with me. But they have something you do not — intellectual integrity.

  2. Papa Bear

    There really is no case.Article 2 of the Constitution States that the “President is the Head of the Executive Branch”, of our Constitutional Republic. As such, he and he alone can decide what is Classified or not Classified. And he, and he alone can declassify any document he sees fit to. The so called “Classified” Documents in question belong to the President(Any President), and it is not up to Congress, the so called “Deep State” or even the Courts, to reclassify those documents once the President(Any President) has declassified them. The timing of this indictment indicates that it was for purely political purposes. Giving the Media something to try and take the pressure of the revelation that the “Sitting President” has in the past, as Vice-President, directly take bribes from Foreign Entities to infuelance their prefered outcome in their own countries, maybe?!

    • Joseph S. Bruder

      The President loses the ability to declassify anything as soon as the next President is sworn in (and yes, Trump lost by a landslide, big time). All of the charges against him happened after the election. Believe it or not, there is a process to declassify something – he can’t just imagine it. He can, on the spot, decide to share info with someone, and then declassify it after the fact (or raise the classification of the person he showed it to.) But he did none of that. And not only did he steal the documents, he lied about having them and directed his employees (who also didn’t have security clearances) to move them around to avoid detection. He made copies, and in some cases the originals haven’t been found.

      Larry says “Has he really broken the law? Are all the charges legitimate?” Oh, puuuullleezzz… Did you even read the indictment? He is on tape telling a reporter and a publisher “look at these secret documents! It proves everything! ” (although I would tend to doubt anything could prove the drivel that Trump spews). Neither they nor the aide to Trump in the meeting nor even Trump himself had an active security clearance or need to know. The FBI carried out 37000 documents! Stacked in a bathroom, in a storage closet (that happened to have a copier in it – I know I always keep my copier in a storage closet), ON A STAGE IN THE BALLROOM (which hosted dozens of events), in a storage room adjacent to the pool room and a kitchen storage room, and other adjacent rooms that weren’t even locked. There is a photo sent from one employee to another of a box spilled over with a Secret-clearance folder on the floor (and for sure, those two employees didn’t have clearance either).

      Papa Bear also goes down the conspiracy rabbit hole – about timing (if anything, it took way too long to indict Trump), about President Biden (again, lots of Republicans claiming that he did something, not sure what, with no proof of anything illegal or even immoral, just vague statements like “we can’t prove he didn’t do something illegal), and it’s funny that they try to pin foreign bribes on Biden when Trump and his family have taken 3 BILLION DOLLARS from the Saudis, Trump’s daughter got millions from the Chinese while being an active advisor to the President, Trump was charging the Secret Service for his own protection every time he played golf (and it was literally about 1/4 of his term) and Trump tried to extort President Zelensky of Ukraine for dirt on Biden (which he didn’t get, but got impeached for).

      The indictment was very thorough about what the charges are and the reasons for each charge. Frankly, I’m surprised that there were only 37 charges. There could have easily been several charges per Secret document – that alone puts it in the hundreds. And we still don’t know what happened to the originals of many of the documents. If you or I mishandled even one Secret document the way that Trump did, we’d be looking at a minimum of 20 years in prison. Considering that the Saudis paid Trump a BILLION DOLLARS for hosting a golf tournament (not to mention 2 BILLION to Kushner), I’d be pretty suspicious that MAYBE some of those documents made their way to the Saudis.

      Trump is a traitor – that much is clear. You can make all the excuses you want, but Trump clearly and flagrantly broke the law here (and had every chance to return the documents, but chose not to). He spent his entire Presidency grifting off of the government, and continues to grift from his stupid supporters – the supposed billionaire begging for money for his campaign, his defense, and probably his appeal after his conviction. If he was really a billionaire, that would be pocket change to him. We all know it’s going straight in his pocket to keep his many loans and failing businesses afloat. Once he pulls out of the race (which he probably will have to do once he’s convicted), then he’ll get to keep all that money (at least he thinks so). I hope the judge throws in a humongous fine equal to all the money he’s grifted since he’s been out of office. He doesn’t deserve to make further profits off of his crimes.

      • larry Horist

        Joseph S Bruder … I am afraid you have an uninformed and simple –minded view of a complex case. There are questions of law … the Constitution … and bad behavior. Each of the different indictments have to be judged individually based on those factors — and the unique fact that Trump had unique powers as President (and some post-presidency rights) — some of which have never been tested or defined by the Supreme Court. Rather than waste time trying to educate you, I will be doing a future commentary on the subject which might — or at least should — enlighten you to some degree.

        • frank stetson

          Remember the words of Horist, JSB: “I have great civil discussions with people who disagree with me. But they have something you do not — intellectual integrity.”

          Apparently you are not one of THEM. May the force be with you. The farce is with Mr. Horist who clearly does not have civil discussions with a number of people who disagree with him.

          I guess he just forgets a lot more recently and his demeaning, condescending, tirades full of name calling, branding, and stereotyping whenever he can not create a cogent argument.

          Love to discuss issues anytime you get off the mean-bus, Mr.. Horist.

          • larry Horist

            Frank Stetson … A text book example of projection. Remember … no one is useless since they can always serve as a bad example.

      • Joe Gilbertson

        You are not correct. Any “process” to declassify material is set out by the President. He is NOT bound by them. If he hands you a piece of paper, you are automatically cleared to see it. If he stores material at his house, then his house is automatically cleared to store that material. The President is the only one with this authority – not the Secretary of State (hello Hillary) and not the Vice President (hear that Biden?).

        And it goes without saying that the rest of your message is BS as well.

        • frank stetson

          Good luck Joe. No need to wait Larry, there’s a very good chance that the question of classification does not even come up. First, all documents are not created equal. Second, Trump is no longer President. Third, and this is really important JOE: read the indictment —- your theory on declassification does not matter for the charges.

          Here: it’s got BIG PRINT:

          “Nor does the classification status of the documents affect Trump’s criminal liability. The Department of Justice has publicly cited three criminal statutes that might apply in this investigation. None of them require that the information be classified. The most serious charge, the Espionage Act, criminalizes mishandling of information “relating to the national defense.” Generally, judges consider classification to be strong evidence that information relates to the national defense. But unclassified or declassified information can still qualify — particularly when the declassification happened entirely outside the usual process, involving no consultation with the relevant agencies about the national security implications of removing protections.”

        • Joseph S. Bruder

          Hellllooo… Trump did all this AFTER he was no longer President. All that authority went away well before the documents were retrieved. He was asked for them, and refused for more than a year. Then he sent a few documents back and hid the rest. That is clearly Obstruction. And he was still letting people without clearances see and handle the documents. And he made copies. And he took a BILLION dollars for hosting a golf tournament with the Saudis, who came to Mar-a-Lago – that’s a mighty high rental fee for a golf course, and is a smoking gun in its own right.

          Old Joe, given your background, you KNOW that if I even wrote down the contents of a few lines of a Secret document, and showed it to someone outside of a secure area, I’d be arrested immediately and be facing 20 years in a federal prison. Remember, Trump had 37000 documents in his possession, more than 100 of them Secret or Top Secret, stored them in insecure and even public places, had employees without clearance moving and hiding them, made copies, and showed them to people. And he discussed, as he was showing off documents, that it was STILL Secret, so even he knew it wasn’t declassified.

          You’re making excuses for an imaginary scenario where Trump was still President, but he was not. And Larry is trying to repeat Republican excuses that there is some ambivalence in the law – there is not. Larry wrote “even though we do not know all the details of the indictment” – it’s available on line, has been since last week, and clearly states what Trump did and which laws were broken – if you actually make the effort to read it. It’s not even that long, and has lots of pictures for Republicans.

          The Constitution clearly states that the people (as well as Congress) have the ability and right to remove a President, and it grants no special powers to an ex-President. Any extension of priviledge is granted by the current President as a courtesy and sign of respect (which Biden refused for Trump who was a known security risk even while he was President). And c’mon, “bad behavior”? Trump crossed that line in his first few weeks of office. This case is about ILLEGAL and arguably TREASONOUS acts.

          You’ve both lost any semblance credibility by claiming that King Trump can do anything he wants without fear of prosecution. That’s what both of you are arguing.

          • Joe Gilbertson

            The documents were all obtained while he was President, he had no access after that. If he had the documents, then they were properly stored, because the President of the United States put them there. The part that happened afterwards was the invention of crimes that did not exist.

            You are not and never were the President of the United States. You are not a classifying authority of any kind. And apparently even if you haven’t broken any laws you can be immediately arrested and face 20 years in federal prison. Thanks, Biden, great job there.

            The rest of your argument is gibberish, not sure how to respond to it.

        • mike f

          Joe, Speaking of BS, what you wrote above constitutes total BS. The President is bound by laws of the United States, he is not a dictator (despite what you may wish). He broke the Presidential Records act. He was requested to return documents, subpoenaed, and finally a search was done to retrieve the documents. Knowing the former President as we do, if he was actually “allowed” to have the documents that he stole, he would have been the first one to file a lawsuit to get them back. That was not done. Reason being-obviously he was not allowed to have them. You have said in the past that you have worked with classified information-I sincerely doubt that, but if you did, your senility has caused you to forget what the rules are. There is a process to declassify documents, even for the President. And you can bet that having an idiot for a president, there were many people who were watching what he did, and what he declassified. We have responsibility to those who we partner with on security matters, and Trump was so careless and unknowledgeable that he would never be allowed to declassify anything he wanted. Bottom line-none of the documents he stole were declassified, but the charges against him are not for having the classified documents, they are for his obstruction in not returning them when requested, and for allowing access to other unauthorized personnel..

  3. Darren

    This is nothing more than a Democrat ” Hail Marry Pass ” not to defend the country , but just to stay in power.
    Every time they try to Rail Road Trump, his Base grows.
    I hope it is a competition between a jailbird and a doddering old man.
    With todays demographics and low voter intelligence as the Democratic base, it
    appears to me they approve of crime!

    • Joseph S. Bruder

      First of all, Trump’s base is shrinking, and Republicans are starting to jump ship after seeing actual indictment.

      Secondly, Biden can literally run rings around Trump, and has proven multiple times that he can best the Republicans in negotiations.

      Thirdly, it was Trump who said “I like my voters uneducated”, and statistics bear that out. The states with the best schools and the highest education rates are in Democrat-led states, and Republican-led states bring up the bottom. And not coincidentally, even on a county level, counties that voted for Biden have higher standards of living and better schools, and the Trump-voting counties have lower levels of education.

      And finally, some Republicans have complained that prosecuting a former President makes the US look like a third-world country. In reality, it was Trump’s corruption that made the US look like a third world country, and Biden is doing a makeover on the image of the US around the world.

      Trump will not be the Republican candidate for President. When he’s found guilty of treason, his right to federal office will be revoked. No-personality DeSantis from FL will FLame out early, and there will be nobody left.

  4. Frank stetson

    “…the case against Trump is rather strong But there are legitimate defense arguments that can be made in favor of Trump.”

    Sounds like you are defending Trump. You suggest this might be a political boost, your words. The other choice is a set-back. Like shooting someone on fifth and getting away with it.

    Rather strong? Legitimate defense?

    How about some toast?

    Problems with reading comprehension, again. Hyperbolic ankle biter,, i have intellectual integrity, I have great civil discussions with people who disagree with me. I am Larry, hear me roar. Sigh.

    You just had to get personal, again, as usual.

    • larry Horist

      Frank Stetson …. I write: “…the case against Trump is rather strong But there are legitimate defense arguments that can be made in favor of Trump.” And you interpret as a defense of Trump. I would say that is an objective overview of the situation. I say they have a strong case against Trump, and you see it as defending him. That is just nuts. I say Trump has some defense arguments. You think he does not? That is just nuts. Which of those statements do you think is untrue? Again … you do not seem to comprehend what is written.

      You say my suggestion that Trump might get a political boost is not even mine. It is the conjecture of scores of tv talking heads on both sides. Since you know I prefer that Trump NOT be the GOP standard bearer, how can you interpret that statement as support. That is must nuts.

      Your bias seems to have you jumping off the rationality train. Yes … I am critical of your disinformation … your misrepresenting my writing and opinions … and your childish insults. And it is not just me. I see your same cranky childish responses to others on this site. You seem to be among those I have once described as the perma-pissed.

  5. frank stetson

    The “immaculate declassification” never happened. As the indictment notes: Trump clearly knew the process all the way back to the Hillary email scandal days when he explained it to us all and why we should lock her up for exactly what he is being tried for.

    Plus, think about it, President is in office, has guest that he need to show document to, it’s classified, so, of course, we would want immediate declassification. This document is a copy, the real one in the archives and on database, and it notes Larry the spy in London. After the meeting, the minions move to tell the archive it’s been declassified, archive makes the changes, and Larry the spy finds out and moves. It’s a good process.

    Trump magically declassifies same document by reading it in his bathroom in Mar A Largo. He tell no one, someone else sees it and their are no minions completing the process. The archives don’t know, Larry the spy don’t know, but someone else knows, and what he knows is declassified so……poor Larry didn’t understand the process I guess…..

    There is real world consequences to ad hoc, one-off, sort of processes that Trump’s process highlights. Now, we will need new rules, regulations, maybe laws, to fix what Trump broke. And given Pence, Biden, and the rest —– even more rules, regulations, and laws to fix this entire process.

    Meanwhile: more and more Republicans are reading the indictment: Pence just said: “Having read the indictment, these are very serious allegations. And I can’t defend what is alleged.” “But the President is entitled to his day in court, he’s entitled to bring a defense, and I want to reserve judgment until he has the opportunity to respond.” perhaps just a nudge, but a nudge in the appropriate direction.

    Christie, Hutchinson, Thune, Bolton, all threw gas on the fire, but we sort of expected that.

    Barr calling Trump “toast” was unexpected.

    Then Halley flipped calling the President “reckless” in his actions, Tim Scott said, after reading the indictment: “these are serious allegations.” Haley who also is saying the FBI, DOJ, need fixing added her new twist: “If that’s the case, it’s reckless, it’s frustrating and it causes problems. You know, we’re looking now, this is the second indictment. We’re looking at a third indictment coming in with Georgia.”

    Even Don-clone Ron DeSanctimonious flipped his earlier defense of Trump with: ““As a naval officer, if I would have taken classified [documents] to my apartment, I would have been court-martialed in a New York minute,” DeSantis said. “I think there needs to be one standard of justice in this country. Let’s enforce it on everybody and make sure we all know the rules.”

    As the worm turns, we started with a defense as they defended Trump against EJ Carroll, but are moving to a “serious, but innocent until proven guilty and let the wheels of justice turn” status. More and more everyday.

    Personally, I have move on. I have Georgia on my mind.

    • larry Horist

      Frank Stetson … Your first graph sends your screed down in flames. Hillary does not have the power to declassify. Trump does. If he criticizes Hillary for mishandling classified documents, it is not relate to a President’s handling. If you cannot understand that, you will not understand the the court case.

      While there is a difference between Trump and Biden/Pence in the possession of documents because of Trump’s potential for obstruction of an investigation…, BUT the possession alone is a crime Both Biden and Pence could be charged, but will not be based on prosecutorial discretion — although Biden is subject of a Special Counsel investigation.

  6. Mike f

    Larry, This is not the ‘so-called’ documents case-it is the documents case plain and simple. You question whether he has really broken the law? It is obvious that you have never been involved with classified information-he has broken so many laws and only a fraction have been charged. You say that it is ‘anathema to Americans for a President to go to jail’-what is really anathema to Americans is for a crook to go free. The justice department has handled this case with kid gloves, they asked for their documents back, they sent people to retrieve them, they subpoenaed them and finally had to retrieve them by court order because the idiot wouldn’t give them back. I am sure that his core constituents are even more likely to vote for them (these are the same people that vote for MTG, Boebert etc so not the brightest bulbs out there) but anyone with the slightest understanding of classified info and the law will turn against him (prime examples are Barr and Christie-both formerly staunch supporters). I do believe he will be the nominee, and I also believe he will lose the election-again….

    • larry Horist

      Mike f … You write about me … “It is obvious that you have never been involved with classified information … Once again you make up bullcrap to suit your argument. You forget that I worked for the White House on two occasions. I also was assigned to a military unit that dealt with classified information. I also worked with the CIA. I know a lot more about classified documents than you could ever know. And your ignorance is obvious from your simplistic assessment of the case against Trump. I will be writing more about that in the near future. Pay attention and you may learn something.

      • mike f

        Larry, Once again you make comments about me without knowing me. I too have worked in government, and have had clearances to see documents at each classification level that he has stolen. If you worked in all the places that you say you have worked, and had access to classified information in all those offices, clearly you didn’t understand the rules (or senility has caused you to forget them). I understand from my work that there is a process in government for every activity, even for the President. The documents were never declassified, however the case is not about whether he had documents that were classified (which is clearly against the law), the charges are for the obstruction when he failed to return the documents when asked for them, when they were subpoenaed, and then the FBI was forced to retrieve them. He broke so many laws, but he is only getting charged for a few of those transgressions. Perhaps if you understood the charges you would be able to write a more informative post….

        • larry Horist

          Mike f … You may know the rules of handing classified documents that apply to everyone BUT the President. You either have had no experience at that level or you are just spreading misinformation. You contention that the laws of the land apply to President as much as the rest of us is pure ignorance or the facts. And that is especially true in the management of government documents. Only the President holds the unique power over classification and declassification. There are many other laws that we citizens are required to obey, but Presidents are not. A lot has to do with their special powers. That is why some folks do not understand the difference in the handling of government documents between Trump, as President and the others, such as Hillary Clinton, Mike Pence and Joe Biden, before becoming President. Even if you experience was too limited, I think you could educate yourself on the facts before continuing to make a fool of yourself. Senile …lol. Come on, man. You can do better than that childish insult. Oh … sorry …. maybe you can’t.

          • mike f

            Larry, You keep indicating that you know about classified documents and material and how they are to be handled (obviously you don’t). I sincerely doubt that you have any experience with documents of the classification level that were brought to marylago. If you were aware of the type of information that is contained in documents of that level and category, you would be outraged as I am at the cavalier handling of such sensitive information. That is, unless rather than pledging allegiance to the United States of America, you instead pledge your allegiance to the Republican Party, and are too concerned about the potential fallout from this case on the futures of the Party, rather than the potential for damage to our National Security and standing with other nations. Pretty disgusting from my point of view….

          • larry Horist

            Mike f …. Did you ever work for the White House …. or the CIA? You can doubt my experience with handling classified information, but that only means you base your doubts on ignorance. And that is true of your entire layman opinion on the subject. It is obvious from what you say that you never dealt with presidential documents .. or you forget a lot … or you are just lying. It must be one of those … or maybe all three.

          • larry Horist

            Mike f … You assumed something not in evidence. I am very critical of Trump’s use of the documents, but I know presidential powers enough to know there is a case that it is not illegal. Offensive, yes. I have an upcoming commentary that makes that clearer, I think.

          • frank stetson

            There are levels in this latest Trump debacle, one is the legal that we armchair lawyers are delighting in the politics of, the other is moral and ethical, which with Donald J Trump we normally avoid as a black hole from which you can’t escape. On the later, I wonder about what could have even initiated what his aides call his “beautiful mind” phenomena. I mean, the guy is not a reader, but apparently has had these boxes forever and selects different ones for each trip on Airforce 1. As if he knows what’s jumbled inside. Like a snuggly bear, they seem to be his friends even if he doesn’t really know what’s going on inside. He clearly knows what’s legal, he clearly decided he was above the law, and therefore he clearly decided to lie, cheat, and instead, not return them when asked, over and over. It really does not seem that he was shopping them around but he was showing them around. On a moral and ethical basis, you tell me, but it does seem very, very weird. Just like a guy with germaphobia paying a porn star for attention. Weird. I mean have we ever heard strange sex party, orgy, or even sexual affairs with Trump? Not many, if any, — sure, accused of rape, abuse, etc. but kinky sex — never. Weird.

            So, I ask you conservatives, even if I agree, all is legal, then what’s up with why would this guy do this, legal or illegal aside? What’s up with this shit? Any guesses? I mean when I left my company after close to three decades, I kept the autographs from the stars, but not much beyond that. I guess if I was to consult I would have kept more, allowed, work papers, but a moving van worth? I would have just put it on a stick or two. SO what’s up with the paper???

            Meanwhile, back on the legal end, now Pompeo has turned on Trump, albeit haltingly, and while there is not a a tsunami of guilt-shaming Republicans, more join every day usually basing their change upon reading the indictment.

            Document classification status should not change Trump’s criminal liability. Nonr of the three indictment categories demand classified markings. The big one, the Espionage Act, makes it illegal to screw around with information “relating to the national defense.” Screw around means taking a shower with it, having it appear on stage or showing it to random guests passing through the pool area. Subsequent declassification can not change the origin for the document, nor change its content. Content is the relevant fact for criminal acts of espionage. Classification sure helps judges and juries understand the strength of the evidence of harm to our national defense, but it is not legally required by the statute. That’s black letter law. I would be pretty sure Jack Smith has that one covered, in spades. And even if Trump used his “immaculate declassification” super powers, the information still remains as relevant as it ever was. For example, something tells me one titled “here’s where we keep the nukies,” wouldn’t need a classified stamp to be relevant. And if the declassification process looks hinky, like “I tap my ruby red heels three times and say, take it all home, take it all home,” chances are Trump’s day in court will be short. And if declassification happened outside any normal process, it will be even worse if there was not consultation with the relevant agencies about the national security implications of removing said protections, not to mention keeping it in the shower. I am pretty sure Trump told no one about the “immaculate declassification.”

            The only point to be tested here is the fact that ALL precedents appear to only be for classified documents. So, even though it’s black letter law that classified is not a requirement, there is no precedent where non-classified documents have been judged in that statute. Trump can try this, but chances are that the black letter law will trump the lack of precedent.

            So, good luck Joe, I think you do not have this one quite nailed yet. And Larry, yes there is a defense, but its really not legitimate, just does not have precedent, yet. Most, even Democrats, agree with your man Barr — Trump’s toast. I don’t know, but think it’s serious and will be decided in court. A jury of his peers indicted him, and soon a jury of his peers will decide if there’s something wrong will all those boxes of the nation’s papers that Trump does not own. So, in a galaxy far away from here, when this is all over: Tom, Joseph, Mike, and I, Frank Stetson, will toast you and Larry. And laugh our freaking heads off how naïve you have been about this grifter of the nth degree.

            He IS A CROOK. NY, NY again, FL, GA, DC —- the day of reckoning is coming, time to answer for your deeds. My wish is that DOJ somehow brokers a deal across all these jurisdictions, including Trump never running for Federal Office again. Just let him slink off and out of our lives.

            Now, how about that Hunter……has he shown any nukie plans to the pool boys, or just were those just nookie pics and plans….And about Joe, the Biden crime family Don, looks like that one is about to go up in smoke. No doubt followed by all those FBI whistleblowers that appear to be blowing in the wind….

  7. frank stetson

    I agree with Larry that Trump may wage a defense, I just question the legitimacy of what we’ve seen, and as Larry says: Trump does not fare well in court. (well, he says fair, but he’s got editors :>) I would add that Trump has many a defense tossed on it’s merits, or lack thereof, especially ones he shops on social platforms and at rallies. Need I remind of the over 60 cases of the 2020 vote fraud, each and every one tossed out for cause. He had plenty of defenses for The Big Lie and everyone was tossed on it’s ear.

    For either Joe or Larry to be clinging to the “immaculate declassification” defense as legitimate misses the point. Trump cannot steal US government documents and call them his own. He cannot store them improperly in bathrooms, ballrooms, or even his shower. When asked by the Archive to return documents he does not own and cannot take home, documents that are property of the US Archives, he must return them. He cannot lie about it; he cannot have his workers hide them.

    I again suggest you fine fellows, Joe and Larry, and anyone else, read the indictment. Look at the pictures. Is this the Biden situation? The Pence situation? The Hillary situation? They had a few paper documents; she had an email server. He has rooms of boxes, see the pictures, they are stacked 7 feet or more high and 20 feet or more long. Hundreds and hundreds of documents. This is not a man leaving a few in his basement or next to his Corvette, this is a moving van. A big one.

    There are 37 counts in the indictment:

    – 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information (I don’t see no stinkin care about classification)
    – 3 counts of Withholding or concealing documents in a federal investigation (again, no classification needed)
    – 2 counts of false statements (girls gotta do what she gotta do)
    – 1 count to obstruct (remember, no one cares and he always obstructs)

    Trump is charged 31 times for violation of the Espionage Act. It doesn’t matter about the document classification; that just makes it even easier. The Espionage Act makes illegal any intentional retention of national defense information by those not authorized. If it’s national defense and he is not authorized, he’s toast. It can be anything relating to the nation’s defense or the national defense that the holder has a reasonable belief could be either injure the United States or advantage any foreign nation. Here, Larry may have a fine point: according to the law, technically, classification is not needed. However, thus far, that has been the precedent because most people only steal the good stuff. Not Trump, he was stealing anything not nailed down. In Trump’s case, 30 of the 31 documents were marked as classified at the “secret” or “top secret” level. The only unmarked document covers “military contingency planning” which certainly has a national defense ring to it.

    The law is clear, classification is not the litmus test. Joe is wrong and Trump’s “immaculate declassification” should not come in play, for long. Larry is right though, the precedent is for classified, but that’s only because all the cases have clearly been classified documents. The law is clear; it does not have to be classified, but it has not been tested. This will be that test, but Trump’s “immaculate declassification” should not come into play.

    For these cases, charges are usually not proffered without being able to make clear that retention was not accidental — such as evidence of intent to share the information (show it to others), signs of disloyalty to the U.S. government (like not returning documents), or simply the volume of documents taken (uh oh).

    The indictment alleges that Trump shared a ongoing military operation classified map from an improperly stored box containing classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, including other boxes found in a ballroom, bathroom and shower.

    Federal prosecutors also accuse Trump of repeatedly defying the Justice Department to return classified documents.

    Federal prosecutors accuse Trump of making false statements to the FBI, that’s a no brainer.

    Federal prosecutors accuse Trump of forcing his aides to help hide boxes of records.

    Nope, don’t expect the “immaculate declassification” to really come into play. I hope it does, I can’t wait to hear that one, under oath.