Trump’s worst crimes are overlooked in latest arrest and arraignment

The former US president committed many crimes before and during his time in office. But he is being arraigned for crossing the US national security apparatus

June 14, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
There’s no question that Trump is, even in the barest technical sense, a criminal. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Former US president Donald Trump was arrested and arraigned yesterday, June 13, in Miami on 37 criminal counts which have the potential to land him decades in prison. 

There’s no question that Trump is, even in the barest technical sense, a criminal. Trump oversaw a historic transfer of wealth from working people to the ultra-rich through his 2017 tax cuts, which arguably constitutes a massive theft of public funds that negatively impacts all government social spending that could have benefited the poor. Trump incited a right-wing insurrection. Trump’s record with sexual harassment and assault of women is notorious, and has already landed him in trouble with the courts. Trump illegally assassinated an Iranian general in a reckless provocation of war. Trump is an unabashed, unashamed imperialist, recently bragging that when he left office, “Venezuela was ready to collapse, we would have taken it over, we would have gotten all that oil. It would have been right next door.” Trump’s administration aided and promoted a destabilization campaign against Venezuela which included Juan Guaidó’s self-proclamation as president, massive state asset seizure, and even a failed invasion.

But the reason Trump is the first former president to be federally charged is not due to any of his many most outrageous crimes. Instead, Trump stands accused of insufficiently stewarding the top secrets of the US empire.

In an indictment filed June 8, Trump is accused of hiding and lying about classified documents, thus putting “national security” at risk. There are in fact many stunning elements to the case, as is typical with former president Trump. Trump had stashed away top-secret files in a tackily-bejeweled bathroom in his Mar-a-Lago estate. One box of documents had spilled, exposing national secrets to the eyes of unsuspecting employees at the estate. Trump openly boasted about classified battle plans to a writer, bragging that the information was “highly confidential.”

But Trump’s most egregious crimes remain untouched. And the case against him further exposes US empire, including that the country has made plans to potentially attack Iran, an outrage almost entirely overlooked by corporate media. Some of the classified documents contained the Pentagon’s secret plans for an attack on Iran, which Trump referenced during a recorded interview with a writer. And for 31 of the 37 counts, Trump is being charged under the Espionage Act, the same tactic that the US government is using to persecute Julian Assange.

As expected, Trump is defiant. He has pled not guilty, and he has taken to social media to denounce the “witch hunt” against him. A line from his post-indictment speech, when he hoarsely announces that he “did everything right and they indicted me,” has gone viral for its amusing delivery.

Trump’s supporters have organized protests against the trial proceedings throughout the country.

Nevertheless, the rich and powerful Trump is receiving special treatment in the courts. He will go before a judge who he nominated while in office, and who ruled in favor of Trump when he sued the FBI for raiding Mar-a-Lago. This ruling was later overturned by an appeals court. He was not required to have his mugshot taken. He was not given travel restrictions typical of those accused of serious crimes, and prosecutors did not even demand cash bail.

The US has never jailed a former president. It is unclear if Trump will make history in this regard. But even if he is imprisoned, will it be for the right reasons?