The walls are closing in on Donald Trump. On August 14, the long-anticipated Georgia indictment of Donald Trump was filed. It is a doozy. Trump is charged with racketeering that involves attempting to interfere with the 2020 election in Georgia. Unlike his other indictments, Trump has company in Georgia. “America’s Mayor” Rudy Guiliani, former Chief-of-Staff Mark Meadows, “Constitutional lawyer” John Eastman, nutcase-lawyer Sydney Powell and 14 others join him on the indictment.
Already dozens of excellent summaries of the charges brought by Fulton County DA Fani Willis have been written, but anyone who is interested in understanding exactly what is going on should read the actual indictment. Why did yet another court indict Trump? Is it possible that the corrupt judicial system, described by Trump and luminaries like Vivek Ramaswamy as driven by a myopic focus on “getting Trump,” actually exists? How likely is it that lightning struck in the same place four times?
Georgia may prove to be Trump’s downfall. DA Willis is said to have emails and text messages proving the direct involvement of those indicted in not only lying to Georgia election officials, attempting to get them to breach their oaths of office, but also in attempting to manipulate voting machines. Yes, there were attempts to falsify election results in Georgia in 2020, but it was the Trump team that was behind them.
Even before the indictment was filed, Trump, his campaign, and others began their efforts to discredit DA Willis. An unnamed Trump campaign official called her a “rabid partisan who is campaigning and fundraising on a platform of prosecuting President Trump through these bogus indictments.” The day before the indictments were issued, Trump directly attacked Willis, writing, “Why is ‘Phoney’ (like in perfect ‘phone’ call, get it) Fani Willis, the severely underperforming D.A. of Fulton County who is being accused of having an ‘affair’; with a gang member of a group that she is prosecuting, leaking my name in regard to a grand jury pertaining to election fraud and irregularities that I say took place in Georgia? I made a perfect phone call of protest. What does Phoney Fani have to do with me? She should instead focus on the record number of murders in Atlanta.”
I am among those sick of Trump’s name-calling. I look forward to a judge disciplining him for it. That could happen in Washington. Special Counsel “Deranged” Jack Smith must be getting tired of the abuse. Or, with any luck, Judge Tanya Chutkan will get fed up and take action.
Trumping the name calling is the pathetic efforts of Trump allies like House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Senator Lindsey Graham, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, and dozens of right-wing House Republicans to equate the “crimes” of Hunter Biden with the effort of Trump to overthrow the government (attempting to seize power through unlawful means). It is time to roundly condemn these efforts. Attorney General Garland has now appointed a Special Counsel to investigate the Hunter Biden case. Let’s see what happens.
It is also worth mentioning the cowardice of most Republicans running against Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination. Why does Mike Pence say he plans to “clean out the entire top floor of the Department of Justice” if he gets elected president? Has he forgotten the January 6 mob called for him to be hanged?
Two Republican candidates, former Congressman Hurd (TX) and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have the courage to call out Trump. What is wrong with the rest of them?
For the next several months, a day will not go by that does not include Trump worrying about his Georgia indictment. If he is elected president, he cannot pardon himself from a state conviction. And the Georgia racketeering statute includes a mandatory minimum jail term.
Trump’s team will focus on delaying the trial. In all likelihood, the Georgia trial will not take place until after November 2024. That is unfortunate, but racketeering cases are complicated.
This situation raises the question of what happens if Georgia convicts a newly elected Trump after the election? Let’s say Trump is convicted on various Federal charges, wins the election, and then pardons himself from Federal convictions. Would Trump take up arms against Georgia if it tried to jail him?
Who knows. The 2024 election is shaping up to be a nightmare, thanks to Trump and the moral bankruptcy of a party that continues to defend him. Trump does not care. He does not believe the law applies to him. But if Georgia was not on his radar screen before August 14, it is now. Georgia is on Trump’s mind. The post-Trump era is on mine.
J.E. Dean is a retired attorney and public affairs consultant writing on politics, government, and other subjects.