A Conspiracy to Defraud America


How fitting that the first of four charges included in the January 6 indictment against Donald Trump be “Conspiracy to Defraud the United States Government.” The man has been defrauding the entire world for most of his life—business associates, contractors, lawyers, you name it.  He’s the ultimate con-artist and grifter; his entire presidency and political career has been one big grift.  Indeed, the indictment repeatedly mentions “The Defendant’s Use of Dishonesty, Fraud, and Deceit,” as if words like that described anything more than a normal day in the life of Donald Trump.  And when Mike Pence told the president he had no constitutional authority to reject or return votes to the states at the January 6 certification proceeding, Trump said, “You’re too honest.” Well, come on, Donald, everyone is honest compared to the likes of you.

Jack Smith’s indictment is an extremely well-crafted document that portrays Trump’s actions, as well as those of his six Co-Conspirators, as on par with perpetrators of a bad script conference.  Trump’s motley band of attorneys—Rudy Giuliani (once “America’s mayor” reduced to marketing cheap hair dye), John Eastman (in no way a leading Constitutional scholar, by the way), and Sidney Powell (voting machines courtesy of Hugo Chavez)—have been called the “clown car,” and this indictment proves the description is deserved.  

It’s hard to keep track of all the ridiculous failed “plans” this group hatched during those two months between the election and January 6.  Quotes like “Here’s the thing, the way this has morphed it’s a crazy play so I don’t know who wants to put their name on it,” pretty much say it all.  Riding along in the clown car bound for disaster we also have the ever-charming Jeffrey Clark, Trump’s (briefly) Acting Attorney General, who suggested using the Insurrection Act to call up the military and squelch potential riots should Trump succeed in overturning the election. This all despite Trump’s Deputy White House Counsel having told the president in December that “there is no world, there is no option in which you don’t leave the White House on January 20th.” 

When All Else Failed, Trump’s “Dishonesty, Fraud, and Deceit” Ended in “Operation PENCE CARD” 

Although I understand why this indictment didn’t include charging Trump with sedition, I’m grateful and relieved the fourth count is “Conspiracy Against Rights”: “The defendant also pursued unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting election results,” including “a conspiracy against the right to vote and have one’s vote counted.” Nothing has irked this humble spirit more than the MAGA presumption that the rights of Biden voters didn’t matter.  We know Trump is a demented, power-hungry narcissist, but didn’t those people who attacked the Capitol, as well as those who subsequently supported their actions, realize that attempting to disenfranchise over 81 million of their fellow citizens was, at the very least, awfully rude, and likely to spark a good deal of anger in response?  As Count Four of the Indictment states, “Trump and his Co-Conspirators attempted to injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate one or more persons in the free exercise and enjoyment of a right and privilege secured to them by the Constitution and laws of the United States—that is, the right to vote and have one’s vote counted.”

Based on what’s contained in the indictment, I’ll go out on a limb and say that members of the clown car and Clark are as good as toast.  As for Trump himself, his behavior is once again beyond the pale—unbelievable, indefensible, just get out your thesaurus and have at it.  Yale history professor Timothy Snyder put it this way: “That Trump will be tried for his coup attempt is not a violation of his rights. It is a fulfillment of his rights. It is the grace of the American republic. In other systems, when your coup attempt fails, what follows is not a trial.” 

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