Trumpster in the Dumpster

As the old saying goes, “you can run but you cannot hide.” And sure enough, Donald Trump figured if he was running for president he could hide from the many investigations, grand juries, special prosecutors, and defamed citizens currently bringing charges against him. But apparently, like so many things associated with the infamous ex-president, once again he’s just flat-out wrong.

Trump has always had an outsize self-image of his historic importance, and sure enough he’s making history again. After being twice impeached, found guilty and fined $5 million by a grand jury for sexual assault and defamation, and being kicked out of office after one term, Trump is now the first former president of the United States indicted for a host of very serious crimes. That it’s his second indictment (the other for lying about his $130,000 hush money payment to a porn star) and certainly secures his place in history!

As just announced, the Department of Justice has levied charges of willful retention of national defense information — a crime under the Espionage Act — obstruction, false statements and conspiracy. All the charges are based on Trump’s decision to illegally take classified national security documents with him when he left office, but then lying to the Justice Department about whether he had them, how many he had, and whether he had turned them over when requested to do so.

His response? Posting “I AM AN INNOCENT MAN” on his own feeble blog. Not exactly an original phrase for those charged with serious crimes, but certainly in line with his character.

Thanks to his Mouth That Roared, he’s on tape admitting he took classified documents. One might wonder why would anyone allow themselves to be taped admitting a crime? But considering Trump has skated the consequences of the law for his entire life, he obviously expected to do so again.

It’s not working, and the walls are closing in on The Donald. Other than proclaiming his innocence, he leaped into his single greatest skill — grifting his “supporters” out of their money with a tidal wave of lies. Then, as usual, he attacked the judicial system and turned on those hired to defend him, and is now “shaking up his legal team” on the documents case.

It can get confusing, considering how many “legal teams” he has right now, including the on-going investigation for asking Georgia’s election officials to “find” enough votes for him to win the state. To their credit, they didn’t do his bidding, but he’s on the hook for election interference — ironically, exactly what he accused others of doing in his disproved “Stop the Steal” post-election rant.

He still doesn’t get it that the American people are done with his chaotic, violent, and illegal attempts at governance which left nothing but destruction in his wake — not only for the nation, but for the Republican Party. The January 6 insurgents are now wearing his favorite color, orange, in the Iron Bar Hotel. Given those consequences, it’s unlikely others will repeat the folly of rioting for Trump.

In the meantime, the House of Representatives has ground to a halt thanks to his MAGA radicals shutting down their own Republican speaker because he didn’t allow the nation to default on its financial obligations to its citizens.

In short, although Trump’s attempts at chaos continue, the end of the road is coming up quickly as his criminal woes pile sky high. He’s still running, but he cannot hide from the legal hounds on his trail.

Fortunately for the nation, these actions prove a foundational truth of our democracy: No one is above the law — not even a lying, grifting, violent ex-president.

George Ochenski is a columnist for the Daily Montanan, where this essay originally appeared.