Trump federal indictment brings more questions than answers

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


The hardest thing to find in the American political sphere at present is a throughline that leads to a logical end to the various legal battles currently facing former President Donald Trump. 

As of this week, Trump has been indicted at the state and federal levels, and local charges in the Atlanta area are all but a given, but it remains anyone’s guess if any of the charges will stick or in any way deprive Trump of a third consecutive Republican nomination. 

It’s equally unclear what effect the nonstop legal battle is having on the former president. 

Trump has remained defiant throughout, insisting upon his innocence at every turn. 

Thursday, he treated the end of an investigation into his tax dealings in Westchester County, New York – where the local district attorney had investigated if Trump had dodged paying taxes on an estate – as proof that all of the charges he faces are void of credibility. 

“After going through a criminal investigation for two years by the district [attorney’s] office in Westchester County, New York, it was just announced that the case has been dropped, and no charges will be filed,” Trump wrote on Truth Social in his customary all-caps. “This was the honorable thing to do in that I did nothing wrong, but where and when do I get my reputation back? When will the other fake cases against me be dropped? Election interference!!!”

It’s hardly breaking news that Trump and the bulk of elected Republicans, including many of Trump’s rivals in 2024, believe all of Trump’s indictments are an effort by Democrats, in particular President Joe Biden, to prevent Trump from returning to the White House. 

What is newsworthy is that now whispers are emerging that, perhaps, Trump is growing weary of the fight and might drop out of the race. 

Anthony Scaramucci, a former White House communications director for Trump, said as much on NewsNation this week. 

“I know President Trump’s personality reasonably well,” Scaramucci said. “Remember it wasn’t just 11 days for me, it was 71 campaign stops and a full year’s worth of work. He does not like this. He is stressed about it.”

Scaramucci added, “I think he ends up eventually dropping out of the race. I don’t think he makes it to the Iowa caucus.”

One must take Scarmucci’s prediction as just that, a prediction. Evidence to the contrary also exists. 

Beyond the former president’s insistence that he isn’t going anywhere, Trump has all of the momentum in terms of securing the Republican nomination. 

Most polls show him as the prohibitive favorite to emerge from the right and his campaign reports reaping a $6.6 million windfall in donations – $4.5 million in online donations and $2.1 million from more affluent donors who attended a fundraiser at a Trump golf course in New Jersey – since the federal indictment was announced. 

In all likelihood, the foreseeable future will be a continuation of a familiar theme – Trump facing any number of legal issues while questioning why he is the only political figure currently being haled into court and insisting he is the victim of election interference.


The now-unsealed document contains 37 counts, most of which are allegations that Trump violated the Espionage Act by keeping and discussing national defense documents after his presidency ended. He also faces one count of false statements and representations.

Among the more notable claims in the indictment are allegations that Trump instructed one of his staff to conceal boxes of documents from Trump’s attorneys as well as FBI investigators, that he twice showed sensitive information to people who lacked clearance, and that some of the documents Trump took with him to Florida contained “information regarding defense and weapons capabilities of both the United States and foreign countries.” 

Trump is also accused of having kept information about America’s nuclear program as well as potential vulnerabilities of the U.S. military.

The degree to which public figures agree or disagree with the federal government’s assertions hinges almost exclusively on the observer’s political leanings. 

On the left, people have lined up in support of the Justice Department while Trump’s sympathizers are accusing federal attorneys of a grievous lack of ethics. 

“This is a case where you have prosecutors who have consistently demonstrated lack of ethics and willingness to lie to federal judges in sealed proceedings,” former Trump attorney Tim Parlatore said during an appearance on MSNBC. “Willingness to, in the grand jury, openly suggest to the jurors that they may take the invocation of constitutional rights as evidence of guilt. Willingness to meet with an attorney for one of the witnesses and suggest that his application for a judgeship is something that should be considered and is a reason to convince his client to change his mind.”

Longtime Trump foe Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) stands as an exemplar of the competing opinion, which holds that Trump is a uniquely crooked politician who is now getting his comeuppance.  

“Trump’s apparent indictment on multiple charges arising from his retention of classified materials is another affirmation of the rule of law,” Schiff tweeted on the date news of the indictment first emerged. “For four years, he acted like he was above the law. But he should be treated like any other lawbreaker. And today, he has been.”


While it would be inaccurate to say the Republican Party is fracturing over Trump – unless one assumes Republicans are willing to vote Democrat rather than Trump or one of his conservative competitors, the party remains more or less intact – there are profound differences of opinion beginning to take shape as to what comes next. 

A growing number of Republicans, inclusive of rank-and-file voters as well as elected officials, indicate they are ready for a post-Trump party, and the federal indictment has proven the bridge over which some on the right are unwilling to travel. 

“We have someone that has hundreds and hundreds of top secrets in his house, showing it to uncleared people and then lied about it,” Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) said on CNN. “I am not in the mood for defending that. I don’t think my colleagues should either.”

But, Trump still has far more defenders than detractors on the right. 

Vivek Ramaswamy, the CEO-turned-presidential-candidate who has made some waves with strong performances on unfriendly media outlets – has asked that all Republican presidential hopefuls pledge to pardon Trump if elected. 

Ramaswamy has additionally said that he will end what he views as a pattern of the executive branch persecuting its political foes by not seeking to have Biden prosecuted. 

“I think that as part of a broader vision of laying down arms, 360 degrees, that we’re agreeing to put the past in the past and we’re ready to move forward,” Ramaswamy said on ABC News. “That would be my way of governing.”

The Ramaswamy approach is not universally endorsed. Trump has vowed to take an approach of turnabout is fair play and, if elected, has promised to “appoint a real special prosecutor to go after the most corrupt president and the history of the United States of America, Joe Biden.”


It might well be post-2024 if and when Biden is charged with any crimes related to his own storing of classified documents in various locations. 

As of this week, the president has not yet been interviewed by special investigators from the Justice Department, even though Biden long ago agreed to grant such an interview. 

The speed at which the Biden investigation is moving has done nothing to soothe the nerves of conservatives, who are crying double-standard. 

Further exacerbating Republican gripes is the fact that Trump’s investigation has moved into the prosecution phase and the next public figure whose investigation will wrap is former Vice President Mike Pence. 

With the Biden investigation slowed to a crawl and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton having avoided charges following a 2016 investigation, conservatives are pouncing on the appearance of impropriety. 

Experts, though, say it’s not that simple and that Pence, like Clinton and Biden, is unlikely to face charges. 


As with most things political, there is no widely accepted read on why Trump is facing charges while others have not.

On one side are those who say Trump has brought all of this on himself, first by keeping classified documents and then by being uncooperative with federal investigators.

“I think if Donald Trump and his team had responded to the subpoena and turned over everything they had, we wouldn’t be here today,” Jon Sale, a Miami attorney who Trump courted for his legal team, told CNBC. “That’s why we’re here. That’s why this case was indicted.”

The Washington Post, which cited numerous well-placed members of the Trump team, reports Trump refused one of his attorney’s recommendations that he meet with the Justice Department and negotiate a settlement. 

Trump, ultimately, went with the advice of Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton, who told Trump to resist. 

Earlier this week, Fitton told the Post that the federal government, specifically the FBI and National Archives, “had no business asking for the records … and they’ve manufactured an obstruction charge out of that.”

Ben Shapiro, an attorney in addition to being a leading conservative commentator, offered a different reading of the Trump case. 

In a piece written for the Daily Signal, Shapiro argued that the lack of a 2016 indictment of Hillary Clinton should have led to more deference to Trump, even if Shapiro slammed Trump as having succumbed to his own “epic narcissism and foolishness” in refusing to surrender the documents. 

“Had Clinton been indicted in 2016, there would be little doubt about Trump’s indictment,” Shapiro wrote. “But she wasn’t. Which means that our justice system seems to be following the famous Latin American saying: ‘For my friends, everything; for my enemies, the law.’” And that double standard will not hold.”

Shapiro, never the biggest fan of Trump, worries that by going after Trump, prosecutors are setting in motion a “cycle of tit-for-tat” that will come to dominate the judiciary and lead to a two-tier justice system that swings wildly left and right based on who holds the power.