Column: Deluded devotion to Trump’s depravity

Former President Donald Trump walks over to speak with reporters before he boards his plane at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023, in Arlington, Va., after facing a judge on federal conspiracy charges that allege he conspired to subvert the 2020 election. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Former President Donald Trump walks over to speak with reporters before he boards his plane at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023, in Arlington, Va., after facing a judge on federal conspiracy charges that allege he conspired to subvert the 2020 election. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) ap —Alex Brandon

The indictment against former President Donald Trump charging him by the Justice Department for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election is photographed Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

The indictment against former President Donald Trump charging him by the Justice Department for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election is photographed Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick) Jon Elswick

Eric Lamar holds an anti-Trump sign as his surrounded by protestors and supporters of former President Donald Trump near the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Federal Courthouse, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023, in Washington. Trump is due in federal court in Washington today, to answer charges he sought to overturn his 2020 presidential election loss. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Eric Lamar holds an anti-Trump sign as his surrounded by protestors and supporters of former President Donald Trump near the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Federal Courthouse, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023, in Washington. Trump is due in federal court in Washington today, to answer charges he sought to overturn his 2020 presidential election loss. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) Jacquelyn Martin

Supporters of former President Donald Trump rally outside the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Federal Courthouse, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023, in Washington. Trump is due in federal court in Washington today, to answer charges he sought to overturn his 2020 presidential election loss. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Supporters of former President Donald Trump rally outside the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Federal Courthouse, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023, in Washington. Trump is due in federal court in Washington today, to answer charges he sought to overturn his 2020 presidential election loss. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) Jose Luis Magana

Steve Nelson

Steve Nelson

By STEVE NELSON

For the Valley News

Published: 08-07-2023 12:14 PM

Every person in America should read the entire 45-page indictment of Donald Trump that was unveiled this week. It is remarkably thorough and damning. Of course, unrepentant Trump loyalists will neither read nor believe the allegations and the supportive evidence.

For the rest of us, the content is somewhat unsurprising, given the former president’s well-documented sociopathy, dishonesty and arrogance. Unsurprising, but chilling nonetheless. The relentlessness of his effort to overturn the election should take one’s breath away. I frankly didn’t know he had the tenacity to doggedly pursue anything, other than women who strayed into his path.

But more chilling than the scope of his efforts was the breadth and depth of the co-conspiracy. It took more than one sloppy psychopath to bring the country to the brink of dissolution. Among the six unnamed and unindicted co-conspirators, at least five are assumed to be lawyers, each of whom took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States. They, in turn, were aided and abetted by scores, perhaps hundreds, of local and state elected officials who participated in the sprawling scheme. They too swore an oath of fidelity to the rule of law.

I needn’t reiterate the indictment’s full contents, but for those who decline to read it, I offer the most powerful narrative thread: Despite irrefutable evidence that Trump knew the election was lost, and that his scheme was illegal, he persisted in his multi-pronged efforts to retain power by any means until the bitter end.

The pitiful efforts to defend him — by his lawyers, Fox News sycophants, GOP cowards — are centered on the utterly specious claim that his various exhortations were protected speech, not criminal. The indictment crisply dispenses with this nonsense, acknowledging that his serial lies and fraudulent claims were indeed his right, but that he is indicted for his acts, not his speech.

Trump’s main “argument” is that this is a well-orchestrated effort by the Biden deep-state to interfere with his 2024 campaign. Well-orchestrated? Yes indeed! Biden? Absolutely not! Deep state? Mythical nonsense.

The most glaringly inconvenient aspect of all the “defenses” is that neither he nor his defenders have disputed any of the facts and allegations contained in the indictment. They are indisputable. And similarly inconvenient is that all, or nearly all, of the witnesses for the prosecution are Republicans. Hillary, AOC and Hunter Biden are not among the witnesses who testified to the grand jury that voted out the indictment. I speculate that Mike Pence and Mark Meadows will be key among them.

While this investigation and the resulting indictment were not a partisan effort to derail Trump’s candidacy, the rational world should hope and pray that derailment is a collateral effect. A serial killer should be investigated, charged, tried and convicted based on the evidence of crimes committed, not speculation about who might be the next victim. But it is also a valuable result to get the murderer off the street.

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Given Trump’s various threats if he is elected again — from suspending the Constitution to seeking retribution against all his political enemies — getting him off the street is a pretty good idea too.

If there is a bit of ironic humor to be found in the mess, it is the constant accusation that the Biden administration is “weaponizing” the Justice Department. As the indictment shows, Trump et al. tried to turn the Justice Department into a partisan attack dog, issuing knowingly false declarations, investigating investigators, slandering the FBI, installing one of the co-conspirators as attorney general — by contrast, Biden has been appropriately silent, Attorney General Merrick Garland has been methodical and even-handed, Jack Smith has been given full independence and there is not one shred of evidence of so-called “weaponization.” Trump is a very dark pot calling a stainless steel kettle black.

I am somewhat at a loss to explain the continuing support of this disgraced and disgraceful person. On the part of his fervent, ignorant, Fox-addled supporters, I suppose it is because they have been conditioned as a cult to distrust the media and accept without question dear leader’s every word.

Those who know better, including the other GOP candidates and most congressional Republicans, are caught in a trap. When it was politically or personally advantageous, they allowed Trump’s lies, crudeness and stupidity to slip by. They were, after all, getting a lot of what they wanted, even if nose-holding was part of the bargain. To suddenly turn and acknowledge the depth of Trump’s depravity would be to reveal their own opportunistic hypocrisy.

It is rather like frogs in a pot of water. Prosecutors Jack Smith, Fani Willis, Alvin Bragg and others have gradually ratcheted up the burner, and it’s approaching full boil. Republicans should have known what they were getting into.

Now it’s too late to get out.