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Thomas Adcock: Dazed Man Walking

By Thomas Adcock
Copyright © 2022 – Thomas Adcock

NEW YORK CITY, near America

On the Friday afternoon of October 21, three bombs were dropped on Mar-a-Lago, the Florida golf resort where Donald J. Trump sleeps with a stash of highly classified government documents, if not his wife.

Loyalists of the élite criminal caste, were rattled, fearing an unprecedented loss of their untouchable status. Their king was himself dazed, though still walking, if not talking—for once.

Then things quickly went south in Trumpworld.

Eight days later, again on a Friday in October, a member of the Trump cult of violent true-believing conspiracists—David DePape by name, a man who professes admiration for Adolf Hitler—used a hammer to force his way into the San Francisco home of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives. Mr. DePape’s intention, according to police, was to assassinate the woman who stands second in the line of succession to the American presidency.

Inconveniently for her would-be slayer, Ms. Pelosi was in Washington at the wee hours’ time of break-in. The speaker’s husband of fifty-nine years, the prominent California businessman Paul Pelosi, was awakened by smashing noises at the back of his house. He rose from his bed, walked downstairs and confronted Mr. DePape, who demanded to know, “Where’s Nancy? Where’s Nancy?”

It was an echo of the very demands by Mr. DePape’s comrades in January of last year when Donald Trump incited an insurrectionist mob of Republican Party fascists to storm the United States Capitol building—an armed terrorist-style attack that resulted in $30 million in damages and five deaths, including those of four police officers. Among the numerous acts of vandalism, Trumpist squadristi attacked Ms. Pelosi’s  office, ransacking her desk and files and defecating on the furniture.

Mr. DePape neither ransacked the Pelosi home in San Francisco nor emptied his bowels on the premises. He was prevented from such by the quick thinking Paul Pelosi, who made a surreptitious cellphone call to authorities on his way downstairs to calmly engage in conversation with his intruder until police could arrive. Within minutes, officers burst into the Pelosi house and wrestled a hammer away from Mr. DePape, reportedly caught in the act of using it to club the 82-year-old businessman over the head.

Mr. Pelosi was taken to a hospital where he underwent successful surgery for skull fractures and serious injury to an arm and hand. His assailant was charged with multiple crimes, including attempted murder, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, and elder abuse.  

Earlier, a more furtive squadristi, likewise operating under the cover of darkness, sprayed the Pelosis’ three-storey brick home with obscene graffiti and dumped a bloody pig’s head on the front porch.      

But why target Nancy Pelosi, whom Mr. Trump refers to as “Crazy Nancy?” Because as House speaker she appointed a special government investigative committee to probe the near overthrow of America’s democratic order by means of last year’s insurrection in Washington, where Congress had begun the formalities of transferring  presidential authority from Donald Trump, who lost his bid for a second term in the November 2020 election, to the clear victor of the contest, Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Within the first half of this month, the investigative committee is expected to recommend that federal prosecutors indict Donald Trump on charges of obstructing justice, punishable by a prison term of up to twenty years.

 Meanwhile, at the moment I write these words the dazed man walking has yet to say anything about the near homicide of Paul Pelosi, let alone the alleged attempted assassination of his wife.

As I write these words, Donald Trump still calls the congressional probe into his incitement of last year’s insurrection a “political witch hunt”—and resists coöperating with the investigative committee.

As I write these words comes a report that a prominent Trump-aligned Republican governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin, believes it hilarious that he joked about violence at the Pelosi home in the context of Nancy Pelosi’s prospects for winning another two-year term in Congress as a Democrat. “Speaker Pelosi’s husband, he was assaulted…[We Republicans] are going to be sending her back to be with him in California. That’s what we’re going to do.”  

As I write these words, my country is on tenterhooks over the question of our national future, to be decided by state and federal elections on Tuesday, November 8.

Will the Democratic Party of President Biden and Speaker Pelosi manage to retain congressional leadership? Or will this season’s line-up of outré right-wing or appallingly unqualified Republican candidates prevail?

In opinion poll after opinion poll, about seventy percent of Republican voters believe that Joe Biden is not America’s legitimate president, when in fact some sixty Republican court challenges to the election of 2020 found zero evidence of what their roster of candidates this year insist on calling a “stolen” contest.

Never mind, Republican machers firmly believe in or bow to or, in the case of Mr. Youngkin, laugh along with the wicked power of Donald Trump’s Big Lie, the basis of political violence unseen here since the Civil War of 1861-65. Violence that includes the erection of a functioning gallows outside the Capitol building on January 6, ostensibly to meet the murderous demands of insurrectionists who swarmed through the corridors that day bent on finding the vice president as they chanted, “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!”

Violence that includes the attempt by a Trump-associated militia group in Michigan to kidnap that state’s Democratic governor. Violence that includes repeated acts of vandalism at the New England home of an anti-Trump Republican senator. Violence that includes murder threats made via telephone to Election Day workers throughout the country. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

The Washington Post recently presented its readers with what seems to me a potential Election Day conundrum that should scare the bejeezus out of any reasonably informed American.

“A majority of Republican nominees on the ballot this November for [congressional] and key statewide offices—291 in all—have denied or questioned the outcome of the last presidential election, according to a Post analysis,” the article read. “Candidates who have challenged or refused to accept Joe Biden’s victory—51 percent of the 569 analyzed—are running in every region of the country and in nearly every state. Republicans in two states nominated election deniers in all federal and statewide races the Post examined.

“ [M]ost of the election deniers nominated are likely to win.”

About those three bombs: During most of the seventy-six years of his criminal life, Donald Trump seemingly lived in an alternate universe that allowed him to skip through messy puddles the size of lakes without ever drowning. I hope that universe collapsed on October 21 when—

§ Donald Trump was made an offer he can’t refuse. The congressional investigative committee he loathes subpoenaed him for testimony, under oath, as to his rôle in the January 2020 insurrection. The committee made clear that should he refuse the subpoena authority, he will be cited for contempt of Congress and promptly arrested—just as his one-time deputy was, the rightwing podcaster Steve Bannon.

§ By way of emphasizing the committee’s point, a federal court in Washington that tried Mr. Bannon for contempt sentenced him to four months in prison.

§ Through confidential sources, the Washington Post revealed that “highly sensitive” documents taken from the White House by Mr. Trump and kept unsecured at his Mar-a-Lago residence—but recovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in its September raid on the Florida compound—contain details about Iran’s missile program and American intelligence work in China.

Of that last bomb, the Post article added this in the context of Mar-a-Lago being a notoriously spy-friendly international watering hole: “Had the intelligence been shared with or acquired by other people it could have laid bare U.S. intelligence-gathering methods. The identities of American spies could have been exposed and their lives endangered, and U.S. intelligence-gathering systems compromised.”

Further, according to the Post—

“…Yet the sensitive information was stored in a resort that drew hundreds of unscreened members and guest to parties, fundraisers and wedding receptions at a facility maintained by unscreened grounds keepers and cleaners.

“…’The exceptional sensitivity of these documents, and the reckless exposure of invaluable sources and methods of U.S. intelligence capabilities concerning foreign adversaries will certainly influence the Justice Department’s determination of whether to charge Mr. Trump or others with will retention of national defense information under the Espionage Act,’ David Laufman, a former senior official of the Justice Department told the Post.

“Mar-a-Lago has been considered a ‘spy magnet’ by [U.S.] intelligence experts both during and after Trump’s term as president.  

“’Any competent foreign intelligence service, whether those belonging to China, those belonging to Iran, to Cuba, certainly including Russia are…and were interested in gaining access to Mar-a-Lago,’ Peter Strzok, former deputy assistant director of counter-intelligence at the F.B.I., said in a recent MSNBC interview.

“But the situation is ‘especially concerning’ because of information in the wake of the F.B.I. confiscation of boxes of documents—including classified and top-secret information—at Trump’s [residence] about the ‘absolute lack of any control or memorialization of who gets access to Mar-a-Lago at any given time,’ Strzok pointed out.

“A sworn affidavit supporting the F.B.I. search indicated that ‘classified documents were strewn all over the facility,’ said Strzok.”

By no means are treason and obstruction of justice the only major prosecutions looming in Donald Trump’s darkening future. There are also state and local actions underway against him in New York and Georgia, matters that could result in criminal and civil trials commencing early next year—theoretically.

In Georgia, the ambitious Atlanta District Attorney Fani T. Willis has what might fairly be called a slam-dunk case against Mr. Trump by way of his telephone conversations with state officials, quietly recorded at the state end. In those calls, the ex-president tried to bully officials into “finding” some eleven thousand extra votes that would reverse his loss in the state. Criminal solicitation to commit fraud under the Georgia’s racketeering statute would be the charge, punishable by up to ten years’ incarceration.

The equally ambitious Letitia “Tish” James, attorney general of New York State, seeks to convict Mr. Trump on civil charges of banking, insurance, and tax fraud due to alleged false valuations of assets and income. She need only a preponderance of evidence— rather than evidence beyond reasonable doubt, as in a criminal lawsuit—to impose a five-year ban on the ex-president’s corporate entity, the Trump Organization, from buying commercial real estate in New York or applying for loans, and a lifetime ban on Mr. Trump and his three adult offspring from the operation of a business anywhere in the state. That plus surrendering $250 million allegedly obtained through a decade of deceit. In the deposition phase of Ms. James’ case, she personally quizzed Mr. Trump under oath. He declined to answer more than four hundred questions on the grounds of his constitutional right against self-incrimination, which under the rules of civil procedure may be taken by jurors as implied guilt.

Also in New York, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg pursues a fifteen-count criminal indictment against the Trump Organization as a parallel to Ms. James’ civil case. Mr. Bragg alleges tax evasion, grand larceny, and falsification of business records over nearly two decades. As his main witness for the prosecution, Mr. Bragg will call Allen H. Weisselberg to the stand. Earlier this year, Mr. Bragg sent Mr. Weisselberg to jail for a reduced term in exchange for his coöperative testimony against Donald Trump. Though not personally charged by the Manhattan D.A., Mr. Trump’s business would face ruinous financial penalties upon conviction.

Rumors abound that the unusually bright-complexioned Donald Trump is particularly irked by the political brand and darker skin color of prosecutors in the foregoing three state and municipal cases. All three prosecutors are elected Democrats and, even worse, African American.

Of Fani Willis in Atlanta, Mr. Trump barked incoherently during a press conference, “Yet, yet the district attorney there is spending almost all of her waking hours, which aren’t many, on attempting to prosecute a very popular president…who got more votes in 2020 than any sitting president in the history of the United States.”

In an especially unhinged rant via his “Truth Social” internet platform, Mr. Trump excoriated Tish James, who he insists on calling “Peekaboo” James. He named her as part of a “communist takeover of the great and prosperous American company that I have built over a long period of years.”

When it came to commenting on D.A. Alvin Bragg, Mr. Trump was apparently well-advised by legal counsel to keep his mouth shut.

The fact that Donald Trump has not yet “done the brain dive,” as suicide is known in the skyscraper precincts of New York City, is testament to the virility of his arrogance. Perhaps arrogance keeps this man alive; perhaps, too, knowing that the odds are strong against all prosecutorial effort to reach trial stage in the case of Donald Trump.

He appears increasingly bewildered by the array of litigation before him, yet he’s sufficiently mobile and loud to perform on the grifter circuit established to underwrite his tacky lifestyle. Perhaps the harangues he lovingly delivers up to zombie admirers who cling to his every word keeps him distracted to the ickier matters of pending court claims. Such as a lady journalist’s defamation lawsuit accusing Mr. Trump of lying about his having raped her in a department store fitting room; such as the lawsuit filed by his psychologist niece Mary Trump that seeks tens of millions of dollars in family inheritance money that Uncle Don allegedly siphoned away from her share of capital investment revenues.

Donald Trump has learned from his German forerunner Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister during the Third Reich, that the Big Lie works. As I write these words, Herr Trump still fleeces his MAGA cult (Make America Great Again) in incessantly proclaiming the falsehood of an election “rigged” against him, a monumental crime that requires even as wealthy a man as he to ask monetary support for a legal fund dedicated to fighting for truth, justice, and the American way—just as the comic book hero Superman did while clad in caped active gear with underpants on the outside, an ensemble as weird as the  bulging boxy blue suits and knee-length scarlet neckties worn by Donald Trump. (At least Mr. Trump wear his underpants on the inside.)   

As recently as October 22, Mr. Trump repeated his Big Lie during a highly profitable “ReAwaken America” event at a Pennsylvania sports venue called Spooky Nook. The MAGA zombies ate it up. Should he ever feel cornered, he might ask them once again to “stand back and stand by” as they grab clubs and brass knuckles to “fight like hell” against those who dared oust him from the White House.

The event ended with an old time religion call-and-response jive, in which the “pastor” hoarsely beseeched the Lord in Heaven:

“Father God, we come to you in the name of Jesus. We ask that you open the eyes of President Trump’s understanding, that he will know the time of divine intervention,” sayeth the pastor.

“Amen!” sayeth the zombies.

 “That he will know how to implement divine intervention,” sayeth the pastor.

“Amen!”

“And you will surround him, Father. You’ll surround him with people you’ll pick with your own mighty hand!”

“Amen!”

“In the name of Jesus!”

“Amen!”

Glenn Kirschner, a distinguished U.S. Army veteran and former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., is disappointed in his country, as am I—a country where the likes of MAGA rally preaching by a puff-chest pastor has the political weight it takes to obscure genuine sin.

In a recent television interview, Mr. Kirschner spoke of that sin as “the phenomenon of the ruling-class criminal.” America, he complained, “has never been willing to hold the ruling-class criminals accountable, whether they are in politics, business, entertainment, the tech business, or what have you.”

But maybe…maybe this time?

“If we can ever get a prosecutor to plant his or her feet in the well of a court and present [the case against Donald Trump] to twelve jurors,” said Mr. Kirschner, wistfully, “they are going to convict him very quickly.”   

“This is a stronger case than the vast majority of cases I tried over thirty years as a prosecutor.”

Mr. Kirschner’s wistfulness is testament to ancient wisdom in pre-Christian times, as written in the Talmud by Rabbi Tarfon of B’nai Brak:

Do not be daunted by the enormity

of the world’s grief. Do justly, now.

Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now.

You are not obliged to complete the work,

but neither are you free to abandon it.

—Thomas Adcock is America correspondent for CulturMag  

tadcocknyc@gmail.com

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