Donald Trump’s affair with rants and rodomontades is laudable for its endurance.As the US House Select Committee on the Capitol Hill attack dug up more evidence against Trump, fodder for the Justice Department was piling up. This pile is growing large enough to consider a criminal indictment against Trump, who is accused of attempting to overturn the 2020 US Presidential election through falsehoods. The past is definitely catching up with Trump.
When the Committee finally winds up its hearings, it is sure to leave behind a rich record of Trump’s Capitol Hill capers. This ignominious record will live long as a testimony of Trump’s presidential perversions. Trump’s democrat opponents will jump at the thought of using these records as springboards for their political careers, well before the November 2022 mid-terms. This will be a minor diversion though. The real show stealer is the Trumpian rattle before and after the Select Committee hearing.
Paradoxically, the Trumpian rattle was too loud to be sensible. Such was the severity of Trump-encouraged insurrection, a majority of members, including key Republican representatives Elizabeth Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, were hell-bent on stopping Trump from regaining American presidency. Precisely to pre-empt,Cheney-Kinzinger’s inclusions were contested earlier in vain. Expectedly, both of them voted for the impeachment of Trump.
More Elaborate Arguments
The Select Committee hearing had one major spin-off. The proceedings opened up a new opportunity for the likes of Cheney to refer the Capitol Hill issue to the Department of Justice. Refer for what? To ensure Trump is indicted and does not enter the White House again. The committee went on to argue Trump knew he did not win the election and was thus committing a fraud by hatching a “criminal conspiracy” leading to the disgraceful attack on Capitol Hill.
Cheney’s arguments were more elaborate. She accused Trump of devising a sevenpart plan to annul the presidential election and block the transfer of power. According to her, the plan included spreading misinformation, suborning the Justice Department, trying to influence the vice president to refuse electoral vote certification, trying to get vote-counts changed, creating false electoral slates and,to top these, inciting his rogue Trumpists to attack Capitol Hill. Cheney did assure each of these parts will be investigated.
Bellicosity as Strategy
The focus of Cheney’s seven-part argument was clear: the Capitol Hill attack was a pre-meditated criminal conspiracy. She pointed at the quality of marshalled evidence as incontrovertible proof. Besides, the judge believed Trump leveraged his attorney’s advice to do what he exactly did. Clearly, the judge could see through this unique case. By leaning on Pence, Trump did violate the federal laws against conspiring to ‘defraud’ the United States and ‘obstruct’ government business.
Ostrichlike Trumpists may argue this is not a criminal verdict, but a watershed moment in American presidential history. Sadly, they are blind to the danger ahead. If the current verdict is followed by a criminal verdict, backed by solid evidences and proof of criminal intent, Trump will have to go behind bars. Trumpians are sure to say it is difficult to prove Trump fibbed, misled and mauled the American electoral institution. Trump antagonists are not going to give up hope so easily. Considering Trump uses rhetoric for logic and bellicosity for strategy, legal experts are not sure he can avoid criminal intent sticking on him.
Tell-Tale Trumpian Words
Consider this instance. Post-hearing, Trump dubbed the proceedings as ‘one-sided witch-hunt’ and ‘disgraceful performance of the unselect committee’. Stooping low, he ran them down as a “rigged deal” by ‘con artists’ and ‘unselect committees’. He claimed the videos used in the hearing were doctored.
Considering none of these charges are backed by evidence, Trump’s luck is sure to run out soon. More likely, as the Select Committee is meticulously building the case against Trump. The Committee is expected to establish the Capitol Hill attack was pre-meditated, with Trump as the brain behind it.
Towards achieving it, the Committee could cite Trump saying he would pardon Capitol Hill rioters if he got re-elected. The Committee could argue these words clearly indicate Trump’s hand in the riot, which had his tacit approval. The Committee could also prove Trump’s attempts to dub the riot as ‘theatrical’ and ‘partisan political fiction’ showed his desperation over losing his presidential perch.
Rift within GOP
Misfortunes refuse to stop there for a tormented Trump. The Select Committee hearings have convinced and converted a few inside-Trumpers into outsiders. Of all the people, Trump’s own attorney general William Barr deposed saying he had told Trump the charge of election fraud is “bullshit”. Such instances expose the rift within Trump’s grand old Republican Party and Trump asked for it when he wantonly insulted the Republican Congressmen on the committee.
Yet, chances of blocking Trump electorally are slim. Despite his eccentricities and excesses, he remains a popular Republican. The fear wave, largely unleashed by him, could make Trump the most favoured Republican nominee for 2024. If it were so, Republicans are sure to get a leader they deserve.
Trump’s attire for the Select Committee hearings was symbolic and telling. Trump wore a dark suit and a red tie for the day, indicative of his dark motives and his readiness to wave the red before his Republican bulls. Earlier in the day, he likened his rants to Martin Luther King Jr’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. If the Select Committee hearings are any indication, Trump’s hopes of becoming president again would remain just that, a dream.