In my administration, I’m going to enforce all the laws concerning the protection of classified information. No one will be above the law. – Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump, August 1, 2016
Four and a half years later, President Trump oversaw the packing and shipping of dozens of cartons containing thousands of pages of confidential, secret and top secret documents to Mar-a-Lago, a Florida resort he owned and resided in after leaving the White House.
While extremely strict security protocols were enforced in Washington, at Mar-a-Lago these documents were left in storage closets and even in Trump’s office desk drawers, where they were easily accessible to practically anyone who had gained admittance to the resort.
Most alarming, since the foreign intelligence agencies of Russia, China, and other hostile foreign powers have been well aware that these documents are stored in Trump’s resort.
It would be quite easy for a cleaning woman or a handy man secretly working for a hostile power to access and copy these highly classified materials, thereby putting the security of our nation at great risk.
What induced Donald Trump to ship all these documents to Florida in the first place? After all, he was apparently bored to death during most of his daily national security briefings during his presidency.
Let’s consider three theories. First, he may have wanted them as souvenirs to show off to his friends and to visiting foreign dignitaries.
Second, he may have considered them his “stay out of jail free card,” with which he could threaten to give them to America’s foreign enemies if he were in danger of prosecution.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer, is convinced that Trump intended to sell them to the highest foreign bidder. While that might put our nation in great jeopardy, it would be secondary to Trump’s never-ending quest to enrich himself by any possible means.
But wait! Trump has just disclosed his real reason for illegally taking these documents to Mar-a-Lago. Are you sitting down?
He wanted to put them in his presidential library. OK, put aside that he has no presidential library – nor are there any plans to create one. Also, please consider that this is a man who has never read a single book in his adult life – not even the books he purportedly wrote.
Now ask yourself this question: How can highly classified national security documents be put on display in a presidential library? Maybe Trump planned to have them very heavily redacted.
Nearly all of Trump’s base — perhaps one-third of all American voters – will continue to support him, even though he has clearly placed our nation’s security at great risk. Why?
Because they want to continue believing almost anything that he says. They have a huge personal, psychological, and political investment in him, even if they can’t always approve of everything he says or does. After all – nobody’s perfect!
But for some, Trump’s putting our national security in peril may be a bridge too far. And that he has done so with such careless impunity has got to be unsettling to even some of the most ardent MAGA enthusiasts.
Donald Trump’s Life
The life of Donald Trump has mirrored that of the fabled mobster, Al Capone, in two ways. Both had hugely successful criminal careers, while managing to stay out of prison.
But eventually, Al Capone would be found guilty of income tax evasion and spend the rest of his life in prison. Trump, who has evaded hundreds of millions in taxes, will almost certainly continue to avoid incarceration for that crime, although he may soon be forced to pay at least a significant fraction of what he owes.
But I am confident that Trump will soon be soon be facing a very long prison sentence, and likely spend the rest of his life behind bars. It will be for a crime much more serious than tax evasion.
Trump’s best hope to avoid going to prison is to be reelected president in 2024. But within a few months that possibility will vanish.
While he is in very great peril of being indicted by an Atlanta grand jury for his “perfect phone call” with Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, in January 2021, that probably won’t lead to a prison sentence.
What will not only destroy Trump’s political career and put him behind bars is the gathering scandal set off by his illegal removal of scores of classified documents from the White House to his Florida country club residence. Perhaps even more concerning is how these documents were stored.
The Department of Justice will soon bring suit against Trump for not just placing the lives of our nation’s secret operatives in the United States and abroad at great risk, but even making our nuclear secrets potentially available to spies from hostile nations.
For virtually all of his adult life, Donald Trump has lived close to the edge, without ever being punished for his many crimes. But now, because of his arrogance and amazing carelessness, he will soon be tried, convicted, sentenced, and incarcerated for betraying his country.