Trump on Trial?

After deliberating for 18 months, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol announced that they have recommended that prosecutors bring charges against Donald Trump. The committee is investigating the attempted coup d’état that former President Trump stirred up in order to stay on as president despite having lost the 2020 election. The coup culminated in the bloody attack on the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6 of last year. The members of the committee — seven Democrats and two Republicans — said that they wished to prevent the occurrence of a disturbance like this ever again in the U.S. and to bring Trump’s attempted coup to an end through the legal system.

Among other things, what we learned from the committee’s report was that during a full-fledged invasion of the Capitol building, which left a total of five dead and more than 140 police officers wounded, the then-president sat in the White House dining room watching the events on television, which clearly shows his colossal irresponsibility.

It’s worth remembering that the investigation into what happened on Jan. 6 has been carried out at several levels. In one, a jury found armed members of one of the ultra-right mobs that broke into the Capitol guilty of sedition. At the same time, Trump came under judicial scrutiny over his maneuvers to turn his election defeat into a win and pass it off as a product of “fraud.” Similarly, there is an investigation underway into the illegal removal of classified documents from the White House by Trump between 2017 and 2021. Moreover, Trump’s real estate firm was found guilty of defrauding the Department of the Treasury over the space of three years.

The developments outlined in the previous paragraph no doubt constitute the minimum response to be expected of a country governed by the rule of law, faced with the attempt to disrupt the legitimacy of its democratic institutions and with related crimes committed by the previous president. But we mustn’t forget that Trump is the main focal point for a diverse bunch of racist, supremacist, arms-dealing, ultra-right and simply paranoid groups, which for decades have been emphasizing their radicalism. They have also been increasing their social presence and influence in the U.S. political arena to the point of monopolizing to a great extent the structure and leadership of the Republican Party.

Under these circumstances, the prospect of bringing a former president to justice — something that is unprecedented in U.S. history — puts huge pressure on the eventual prosecutors and judges and on the institutions in general. Regarding Trump, if he were capable of striking a blow like Jan. 6 with the aim of remaining in the White House, it is worth asking what he would do to avoid being in the dock in a courtroom or to avoid setting foot in prison.

In summary, the decision of the investigating committee should not be seen as the closure or the completion of the most serious political crisis our neighbor has lived through since its civil war in the century before last, but rather as the beginning of a new chapter in this crisis. Clearly, the destabilization of the U.S. would result in economic and financial turbulence there. But that turbulence would also spill over into the rest of the world, and particularly into Mexico, in view of the high degree of integration between the economies of the two countries. He could make a vow, then, so that reason and the rule of law could prevail in the end, so that for once in his life the temperamental billionaire might put the interests of the country before his own, so that he might face the consequences of his actions, and so that he might abstain from provoking a large-scale social confrontation.

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