To say that recent news has been compelling, fast-paced, and exciting would be an understatement. Whether it was Kevin McCarthy organizing a censure action against Adam Schiff for his participation in the Trump impeachment trial, the search for and ultimate loss of life in the Titan/Titanic Tour submersible tragedy, or the House floor verbal argument between two crazies, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, the news has been “hot and heavy.” The far-reaching consequences of these events will have to take a back seat to another.
Without argument, the most consequential news story of recent weeks has been the indictment of Trump for his mishandling of government documents at Mar-a-Lago. I usually give sufficient time for “the dust to settle” before I comment on events, but this indictment for Trump’s mishandling of classified documents is too important to leave to “settle.”
Although too many Americans have become desensitized to Trump’s antics and their seriousness, I find the potential for damage to national security related to this event to be a compelling reason for near-immediate comment.
I have read the indictment and found it to be sobering and frightening. My political orientation may be progressive, but I am reasonable enough to understand the numerous international AND internal threats which exist to the security and sovereignty of the nation. I am sensible enough to realize that my aims and aspirations for the futures of myself, my race, and my nation cannot be achieved in the dystopian, anti-democratic autocracy that is philosophically embraced by one political party (Hint: Republican).
I encourage my readers to take the time and opportunity to read the full text of the indictment. At first, you may consider it a word salad of acronyms, but further reading will show the lengths to which Trump went to violate and obstruct the requirements of the law. A full reading will illuminate the expectations of an individual formerly entrusted with the nation’s most critical secrets and his alleged disregard of his obligations under the law.
The indictment reads in stark contrast to the myriad of excuses offered by Trump before and since his Miami indictment. Paragraph #17 of the indictment reads: Pursuant to Executive Order 13526, information classified at any level could be lawfully accessed only by persons determined by an appropriate United States government official to be eligible for access to classified information and who had signed an approved non-disclosure agreement, who received a security clearance, and who had a “need-to-know” the classified information. After his presidency, TRUMP was not authorized to possess or retain classified documents.
Few will ever know or be able to accurately speculate whether Trump was motivated by arrogance, avarice, or the potential to use the classified information to leverage an unknown outcome (all three have been suggested by media sources). Whatever his motivation, his possession and refusal to return classified documents as requested by the National Archives and Records Administration, his futile and misguided attempts to hide classified documents, and his attempts to involve his employees and attorneys in this effort were criminal.
If this document case does go to trial, the fate of the nation will rest in the character and judgment of twelve, as yet unknown Americans. The trial will test Trump’s 2016 claim that he could shoot someone in Times Square and not lose any voters. It will test the premise that no one is above the law. And it will, invariably, define the path that this nation will take to the future. It will test whether twelve citizens, regardless of political affiliation or personal ideals, will have enough concern for the nation to objectively evaluate the evidence to reach a fair and appropriate verdict. I anxiously wait for their decision.
(H.E. Ambassador Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq. (Ret) is President of thedickgregorysociety.org and author of “Wake Up and Stay Woke”--a tribute to Dick Gregory)