Debunking Trump’s Defenders

David Thornton

David Thornton is a freelance writer and professional pilot who has also lived in Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia and Emmanuel College. He is Christian conservative/libertarian who was fortunate enough to have seen Ronald Reagan in person during his formative years. A former contributor to The Resurgent, David now writes for the Racket News with fellow Resurgent alum, Steve Berman, and his personal blog, CaptainKudzu. He currently lives with his wife and daughter near Columbus, Georgia. His son is serving in the US Air Force. You can find him on Twitter @CaptainKudzu and Facebook.

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6 Responses

  1. Burt Likko

    I appreciate (and mostly share) your perspective on the numerous other classified information offenders discussed here. It’s useful perspective and a good summary of all the “But whatabouts” that we see in the discourse too much.

    Remember, yes there are two tiers of justice at play. Trump is on the better of the two, the one reserved for the wealthy, privileged, and powerful. That’s why he was given multiple chances to cooperate and turn over documents and had he done so, he’d fit right in somewhere with the other examples set forth above. People who are on the lower tier, who lack the influence and notoriety of Donald Trump or any of these other powerful people, they get treated like Reality Winner (currently in prison, fighting for basic dignity as a transwoman) or Edward Snowden (effectively in self-imposed exile).

    I haven’t discussed the Mar-a-Lago bathroom security breach with my father, as he and I rarely discuss politics anymore for the sake of remaining emotionally close and warm with one another as family ought be. I do recall him arguing to me way back in 2016, “I can’t in good conscience vote for Hillary, If I had done what she did when I held a clearance, I’d be in prison right now and probably wind up dying there.” I wonder if he remembers saying that, I wonder what he thinks of Trump. I don’t intend to ask him.Report

  2. Philip H

    The GOP has backed itself into a corner in its unbriddled pursuit of power. The shrieking heads may well motivate the base, but they do little to actually project a desire to govern, much less to do so responsibly.

    I appreciate your cool level headed series of analyses – I suspect they will fall on deaf ears. Even here the ultra rightwingers have all gone amazingly silent on this.Report

  3. CJColucci

    As Yogi Berra once said, “some people, if they don’t already know, you can’t explain it to them.”Report

  4. Michael Cain

    I disagree with the “dying in jail” thought. If the situation arises, I believe the Secret Service will successfully argue that they cannot perform their statutory responsibilities for the physical security of an ex-president in a prison, even in the minimum security facilities. They can, of course, provide such protection at one of Trump’s properties, particularly if Trump’s mobility and communication are restricted to those typical of a federal minimum security camp. (The Bureau of Prisons web site says the minimum security facilities are called Federal Prison Camps.)Report

  5. Mike Schilling

    I wonder why Jared Kushner’s name doesn’t come up. When he was working in the White House, he communicated with foreign leaders and government officials over WhatsApp, which not only skirts FOIA, but is far more open to hacking than a well-managed private email server.Report

  6. DavidTC

    There’s a rather large difference between classified _information_, and classified _documents_ that makes the comparison to Trump with her almost completely irrelevant.

    To prove Hillary Clinton had broken the law, the DoJ would to prove she…well, here’s the law:

    18 U.S. Code § 798 – Disclosure of classified information
    (a)Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or publishes, or uses in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States or for the benefit of any foreign government to the detriment of the United States any classified information—

    …I.e, they have to prove she not only did furnished classified information to an unauthorized person (Which I’m not even sure is alleged to happen?), but that she _knowingly_ did that.

    Meanwhile, here’s the law about the actual physical documents:

    18 U.S. Code § 1924 – Unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material
    (a) Whoever, being an officer, employee, contractor, or consultant of the United States, and, by virtue of his office, employment, position, or contract, becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.

    Which…just requires you knowingly moved or retain the things. That’s it, that’s all. (1)

    It is completely impossible for someone who has actually read those two laws to ask ‘But why prosecute Trump when not prosecute Clinton?’, because the answer is ‘One of those laws requires deliberately giving classified information to someone, which no one can prove Hillary did, and the other law requires loading boxes onto a truck and driving off with them and putting them in an unauthorized location, which is the _basic facts_ of what Trump did. That’s the point we are starting from, and it turns out it’s the entire crime!’

    This also, of course, is why both Pence and Biden weren’t charged. They did have such classified documents, but they didn’t appear to keep them on purpose and did literally the opposite of ‘retaining’ them when they found them.

    1) This is, incidentally, why such a big deal was made of three of Clinton’s email supposedly having ‘classified markings’, which would, in some convoluted legal theory, make them classified documents. But sadly for her attackers, those classified markings were not on actual classified materials, but bad copies from a declassified-right-before-being-emailed-to-her daily ‘call sheet’. I.e, three times out of the thousands they did it, they copied-and-pasted from the sheet _before_ removing the classified marking from it instead of after. And also that’s a rather dubious legal theory to start with…having classified markings on an email doesn’t make it classified, and also it wasn’t _her_ making said documents available to an unauthorized person, but rather the person who emailed it. You have to jump through a lot of hoops here to get to some workable legal case against Clinton.Report

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