Alan Zendell, October 15, 2021
Give the former president credit for one thing – he can still make people wring their hands worrying about the future. It’s his principal stock in trade, and he uses it indiscriminately. Upsetting and frightening Americans is his knee jerk response to his own anger and anxiety. Isn’t it incredible, after five-and-a-half years during which he raised the stress level of the nation to unprecedented levels on a daily basis, that seven months into the Biden administration, the most serious concern of most Americans is the possibility that Trump may find a path back to power?
Stop worrying, he won’t. America is a massive, complex organism with enormous startup inertia. When it comes to Trump’s potential legal problems, honest people who recognize the threat he poses are working deliberately, every day, to bring him to justice. Be patient. These things take time. Every “i” must be dotted and “t” crossed to be certain the courts have the evidence they need. If this were Russia, Vladimir Putin would have his goons arrest Trump and throw away the key, but that’s not how we do things in America. Neutralizing Trump’s influence on our politics is the surest way to guarantee it will stay that way.
Most of us saw what happened on January 6th, which was merely the conclusion of the sixty-four-day nightmare Trump put the country through after Joe Biden defeated Trump on November 3rd. If you believe the evidence of your own eyes and ears, you know Trump was both the driver and the catalyst for all of it. Countless millions of dollars were wasted in legal battles that resulted in Trump’s lies and alternate facts being thrown out of every court he appealed to at both state and federal levels. The barrage of lies and venom spewing from the former president since then make the physical threat represented by the attack on the Capitol a metaphor for the nonstop state of siege Trump has kept us under.
Trump continues to make noise because he knows it’s effective when people are too lazy to think for themselves. On the other hand, the January Sixth Select House Committee is populated by serious lawmakers, prosecutors, and investigators, who do not share Trump’s desperate need for attention. Don’t be fooled by their silence. It means they’re working hard and effectively. Despite the whining of Trump and his sycophants that the Committee is biased, its members have all demonstrated their commitment to principle and defending the Constitution. The presence on the Committee of former Assistant Attorney General Adam Schiff (D-CA), constitutional scholar Jamie Raskin (D-MD), and principled conservatives Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) give me great confidence that they will succeed.
The Committee is in high gear as the deadline for responding to subpoenas has passed. Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) set the proper tone responding to Steve Bannon’s refusal to appear before the committee. Bannon claimed he couldn’t testify because Trump exercised Executive Privilege despite a few obstacles to his argument: Trump did not exercise Executive Privilege; Trump cannot exercise it, since only a sitting president can; President Biden has waived it for all subpoenaed witnesses; Bannon did not work for Trump when the events being investigated occurred. Chairman Thompson referred Bannon for criminal contempt, signaling that the Committee intends to play hardball with anyone who obstructs it.
So far, most of Trump’s aides are playing a delaying game, which is probably a good thing, because they’re forcing the Committee’s hand. Thompson means business, and his determination to see it through means the issue will be resolved (relatively) quickly by the courts. That will pop Trump’s fantasy balloon that he still controls things and expose his vulnerability. Representative Schiff told the New York Times that Trump will definitely try to run for president again, because “it’s a pathology” with him, and he thinks it will keep him from being prosecuted.
I’m sure it won’t, because of people like Jeffrey Rosen, who Trump appointed Acting AG following William Barr’s resignation. It’s well documented, thanks to Bob Woodward, that Trump tried to strongarm Rosen to use the Justice Department to overturn the 2020 election and undermine the Constitution. We know from Trump’s own words that Rosen refused and would have been replaced by a more accommodating DOJ attorney, Jeffrey Clark, if not for the rebellion of the Department’s senior staff. Rosen had the courage and integrity to stand up to Trump in January. I wasn’t in the room when he testified before the Committee behind closed doors, but I expect he gave them everything they for a criminal indictment of Trump.
There are also criminal investigations of Trump’s actions underway in Georgia, New York City, and in Albany by the New York Attorney General. Long before he can influence the next elections, Trump will be facing felony charges in multiple jurisdictions. When that happens, most of his supporters in Congress will see that supporting him is toxic.
You can stop worrying.