National Commentary

Editor’s Column: Trump’s Ongoing Crimes: On Behalf of Whom?

By Nick Benton

As the indisputable evidence mounts that Donald Trump, America’s regrettable former occupant of the White House, stole a multitude of classified documents to share with whomever, it is appearing certain that DOJ Special Prosecutor Jack Smith is going to bring espionage and a multitude of other charges.

It looks now like Smith is determined to round up not only Trump, but concentric circles of co-conspirators in a classic organized crime-style  “racketeering” RICO  prosecution that will be air tight and unforgiving against all the Trump underlings, as well as himself as the “kingpin.”

It is completely and totally apropos that this form of prosecution of this crime syndicate operation be tried in this manner. It is what the early 1970s RICO statutes were designed to address, and the only difference between its other applications and this one is that the “kingpin” just happened to be the president of the U.S.

Ironically, Trump could have avoided all this as a small-time criminal conspirator had he not run for president. But given that his ego, predictably, he was unable to resist that opportunity, notwithstanding what considerable damage he’s done to the U.S. and millions of its citizens (the estimate is that anti-vax theories cost about 250,000 U.S. lives), he’s now looking at a shame-ridden legacy if not a few years in the slammer.

That’s because Smith is driven by a passion for justice himself, in defense of countless associates in the U.S. justice and intelligence communities on whose behalf he’s felt obligated to act. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am willing to wager that our once lamentable president may actually wind up facing years behind bars.

Others argue that will never happen, and they may be right. But it goes to how resolute those who are seeking justice will be. I for one think he should be fully prosecuted and made to do time.

Never have I encountered someone so personally deserving of such a fate, at all levels not excluding his totally reprehensible personal lack of any civility in dealing with women generally, that should subject him to the full force of the law, which in addition may be the only way to bring thousands of his hapless supporters to their wits. 

If anything, the whole last near decade of coping with Trump at the highest levels of our nation should result in a lasting object lesson that will serve decades to come. The upcoming so-called Gen Z is already finding troubling evidence of what permitted the rise of Trump, and it is not a pretty picture of those who succeeded the Baby Boomers.

Let us step back and take stock of how the entire nation, the world’s greatest hope for democracy and fair play, was hijacked by a charlatan and, actually, a quite common breed of con man thug who was handed way too much power by NBC in its “Apprentice” TV show. Even after he came back from a trip to Moscow in the late 1960s, he was openly identified by this nation’s strategic enemy No. 1, the residual Stalinist faction in the USSR, as its best hope for undermining and overthrowing our most valued democratic principles.

While the nation coped with the real challenges in the late 1960s of addressing social justice issues, it would end up, under Nixon, unleashing an operation in the guise of this era’s social justice concerns, to upend earlier pro-peace and justice activism with a new toxic brand that was advanced with the help of an influx of the Russian mafia.

It was a “Stalinist” brew of right wing counterculturalism that noodled its way into the corridors of power beginning with the right wing workers strike in 1972. By the late 1970s, it became the new movement of the so-called  “silent majority” and the first ever politicization of the rightwing church.

It magnified the concerns of citizens opposed to the advancement of civil, womens and gay rights, catalyzing their growing causes in the 1970s, including by the obliteration of progressive countercultural alternatives that included the massacre at Jonestown and assassination of gay rights leader Harvey Milk within two weeks of each other in November 1978.