The former president is also the subject of a tax investigation court case in New York.
During his victorious 2016 election campaign, then-Republican candidate Donald Trump claimed that his “people” were so loyal that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters.
While many are sure that’s true, the Trump who awaits the opportunity to run for reelection in 2024 may face a much tougher test: What was he doing with and how can he explain the unauthorized presence of classified documents in his Florida residence at Mar-a-Lago?
On Aug. 8, federal agents seized dozens of documents that had an assortment of classified documents, including 48 empty folders marked highly secret.
In principle, this should be very damaging for Trump or anyone else given that he created risk from disclosing secret records, in some cases compromising sensitive information about U.S. military resources. There are people who in the course of espionage or in leaking material to the media, have done the same thing, and they are either in prison or fighting charges that could send them there.
But Trump is an expert in distorting the issues, taking them to the court of public opinion and using them to excite his supporters.
Just look at the information surrounding the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, involving hundreds of Trump supporters who, after attending a rally led by the then president, tried to occupy the Capitol building to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the November 2020 presidential election.
Trump is also the subject of both a tax investigation court case in New York and another in Georgia for trying to pressure state officials there to change the voting results in the election. But of all the investigations, it’s the one into the stolen White House documents that has Trump and the Republicans on edge.
Republicans present themselves as a patriotic, law-abiding party, although now they are apparently demanding impunity for their leader despite the fact that no one knows who saw or could have seen the secret documents he took with him after he illegally ordering them to be declassified.*
It’s these documents and the controversy surrounding them that’s occupying Americans’ attention two months before the elections that Republicans had hoped to devote to criticizing the Biden administration. In contrast, the “patriots” are now accused of putting the country’s security in danger, and the supporters of law and order are accused of violating what they claim to defend.
And Trump is the villain of the piece.
*Editor’s note: It has not been legally proven that Trump stole documents, but he is being investigated for removing classified materials from the White House in possible violation of the law. Whether or not he ordered them to be declassified, or if it was within his authority to do so, remains in dispute.