Finally, Donald Trump’s misdeeds are catching up with him

Richard Wolffe* – The Guardian

The FBI Mar-a-Lago search suggests that the former president is no longer living in a protective bubble

For a party that loves to stand on the thin blue line, Donald Trump is a curiously crooked leader. Here is a party, a grand old one, that is merrily revving up the old scare machine about crime in time for November’s congressional elections. Yet its likely presidential nominee finds the whole notion of laws and law enforcement an entirely alien concept – intended literally for aliens.

Never mind that he may have broken multiple laws in taking classified materials to his private residence after leaving office. Never mind that he apparently flushed papers down the presidential toilet in breach of record retention laws, if not the plumbing protocol of half of the country.

Trump is most outraged by the obviously criminal gang of people pretending to catch criminals, otherwise known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Such an assault could only take place in broken, third world countries,” he said, elevating such countries from the shithole status he previously conferred on them.

“They even broke into my safe! What is the difference between this and Watergate, where operatives broke into the Democrat National Committee? Here, in reverse, Democrats broke into the home of the 45th President of the United States.”

Well, Mr President, that’s quite an interesting question.

Watergate was a criminal act ordered by an almost-impeached president, whereas Mar-a-Lago is the home of a twice-impeached president. Easy to confuse the two, obviously. Watergate is the tasteless home of ageing has-beens who hanker after the 1970s and 1980s. Mar-a-Lago is a spiritual twin.

Sources close to the FBI (normally the secret code for the FBI press office) say that Monday’s raid was concerned with finding any more of those rogue records that mysteriously accompanied Trump to Florida. Trump somehow purloined 15 boxes of materials requested by the National Archives.

In the hands of any other president, these records might have helped with the writing of those all-important presidential memoirs. But in the tiny hands of Donald Trump, they are unlikely to be intended for book-writing purposes. After all, his ghostwriter Tony Schwartz famously doubted that Trump had ever read an entire book in his adult life – not even the ones published under his name.

That leads us to speculate what kind of probable cause the FBI has to seek a warrant to bust open Trump’s safe. The pressing needs of the National Archives are almost certainly not the foundation for this particular exercise of law enforcement powers.

We obviously could speculate about the kind of papers the FBI might be looking for. There has been a singular tear in the time-space continuum around the person of Donald Trump on January 6 last year. Secret service texts have disappeared down digital wormholes, along with Pentagon records. Presidential call logs appear mysteriously blank.

Perhaps the entire contents of the phone of Alex Jones might have prompted some new lines of inquiry. Or perhaps it was the sight of Trump’s fine profile at the Saudi-funded golfing boondoggle at his very own country club turned cemetery.

Ours is not to question the motive or the conduct of the fine boys and girls who stand between us and the criminal elements destroying our civilization.

Just listen to Trump’s own home-state senator, “Little” Marco Rubio, who just entertained the Senate with a rousing speech against the climate change bill that might stop Florida from disappearing into the ocean. In between talking about his cancelled flight and a Cuban bakery he loved, Rubio said he overheard a few regular people complaining about inflation, immigration and – worst of all – rampant crime.

“I’m telling you that what the people by the millions, registered to vote, people that voted for Biden, people that voted for Trump, I’m telling you what they are worried about is the fact that the streets and many cities in this country have been turned over to criminals,” he claimed. “There are prosecutors funded by Soros who refuse to put people in jail. They won’t do it. Entire categories of crime they won’t even prosecute.”

Well thank goodness the United States Department of Justice is not funded by the great boogeyman of antisemites the world over. Thank goodness it has finally recognized the entire category of crime known as the corrupt and seditious acts of a former president called Trump.

Because, seriously, we were getting worried that there was some kind of protective bubble that allowed all sorts of stuff to happen in Mar-a-Lago. A bit like international sports organizations in Switzerland.

This latest turn of the screw leaves Trump’s cultish lackeys – sorry, Republican leaders – in a bit of a pickle. Given a choice between following the rule of law or the whims of a sociopathic narcissist with no scruples, the choice is obvious for the party of law and order.

Almost the entire body of elected Republican officials in the nation’s capital, with a tiny handful of notable exceptions, find it impossible to muster a single word to condemn the ringleader of the brutal attack on the police who protected their lives and limbs on January 6.

“These are dark times for our nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” Trump said, helpfully distinguishing his own residence from an identically named bungalow in Boise, Idaho.

“Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before,” he added, before bleating on about Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Who wants to tell him that his presidency vanished almost 18 months ago, along with a justice department that could not prosecute him, a white nationalist mob intent on murdering his vice-president, and a bunch of fake electors ready to commit treason?

Trump is a unique figure in our lifetime of American presidents. The clear and present danger is that he might not be the last.


*Richard Wolffe is a Guardian US columnist. He is the author of Renegade: The Making of a President