If you’re a political figure and you’re engrossed in a scandal that’s purely a political scandal, dealing with is straightforward. You try any combination you can think of for distracting from it, or explaining it away, or confessing to a small part of it in the hope the court will be satisfied. That’s because the “court” is that instance is merely the court of public opinion.
But there can be a point in a political scandal where it stops merely being a political scandal, and it starts becoming a criminal scandal. That’s the point where the politician involved can no longer rely on BS-ing his way out of it, because there is going to be the possibility of actual criminal charges. And the only way to beat criminal charges is to come up with the kind of cohesive defense strategy that will convince a jury to acquit you.
For years Donald Trump has been treating his Stormy Daniels – Michael Cohen – hush money – campaign finance coverup scandal as purely a political scandal. And that worked for him back when he had his corrupt handpicked Attorney General in place to keep him from being criminally charged.
But what Trump hasn’t grasped since leaving office, and still doesn’t seem to get, is that he no longer has that protection. The things that used to be mere political scandals for him back when he was in that presidential cocoon are now criminal scandals. Yet he’s still treating them like political scandals.
Trump and his lawyers keep pulling silly stunts like sending a rambling witness to push conspiracy theories on the Manhattan grand jury, and changing their story in every new TV interview. And of course Trump keeps making social media posts vaguely aimed at inciting violence. When you’re a criminal defendant, that’s not how you succeed. Dumb antics can only make it harder for you to mount a trial defense, get acquitted, avoid additional charges along the way, or even remain out on bail while awaiting trial.
Donald Trump is in over his head. There’s no other way to put it. He’s being criminally indicted for the first time in his life. Soon enough he’ll be indicted for the second time in his life, and then the third time in his life. And he’s still approaching these criminal scandals as if they were something that he can swat away with the criminal justice system of a mean tweet. Good luck!
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