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Cuff Him
I had given up any hope that Donald Trump would ever face justice. To be more precise, I had decided that allowing myself to hope for that, in this context, would only come back to bite me in the long run.

I reasoned that the ex-President had evolved such a well-practiced system of avoiding accountability that he was effectively beyond the law. The technique of endlessly lying, while saying the quiet part out loud, had somehow combined to seal him off from any consequences for his actions. To hope for anything different would only lead me deeper into disillusionment.

Recent developments, however, have caused me to reconsider my position. The hearings of the January 6 Committee have opened me to a new possibility. What is different now is that I no longer burn for revenge — any more than I burn for revenge against COVID-19.

Seeing Trump suffer for his wrongdoing is no longer the point. Self defense (and along with it, the defense of our system of laws) is what I would like to focus on. I now say vaccinate the public with the truth — all of it — and try to weaken this repellent virus in any way we can.

And that means prosecuting him to the fullest extent of the law.

To do that, we will have to prove actual criminal intent. Did Trump know that what he was doing was wrong? That’s the hard part, because he will contend that he honestly believed there was election fraud and that what he wanted Mike Pence to do would have been legal.

Let’s start there. We know now that if he really did believe those things, he was wrong. And when his own trained investigators and legal experts told him he was wrong, he consistently refused to listen. Didn’t want to hear it; wasn’t curious about their exhaustive research; hadn’t a single question about their reasoning. An innocent man would have been all ears. His lack of interest in learning the truth about his claims, then, is evidence of his criminal intent.

Furthermore, rather than report the findings of his staff, he concealed them. In fact, he continued to claim the truth of his debunked claims — to the world and to his obedient followers. And he still does even now. So not only was he not curious about the truth, but the truth was irrelevant to him. This is also evidence of intent.

in other words, he was being willfully, aggressively ignorant. He purposely ignored the message that his experts and advisors delivered, and chose instead to look for for new messengers, no matter how dubious or corrupt they might be. This search for justification — as opposed to actual proof — of his “beliefs” demonstrates that his main concern was not, “Are my beliefs true?”, but rather, “Can I get away with it?” More evidence of bad faith — and of intent.

Willful ignorance is not the same as plain old clueless ignorance, of course. Like children, the truly clueless are not capable of forming the criminal intent required for these crimes. Those who consciously avoid the truth, however, should make us wonder, Why would he work so hard to cultivate the appearance of cluelessness? The only reasonable inference: he knew what he was doing and saying was wrong.

Still, it is quite possible that a prosecution of Donald Trump for the crimes he has committed would not result in a conviction. He has deluded enough citizens into believing the Big Lie that it might be impossible to find a jury of 12 people that would convict him — of anything, no matter what the evidence.

We should try, though. Not in order to punish him, not even to see justice done, but rather in self defense and in defense of our system of government. Let him claim ignorance or stupidity or temporary insanity or even honest belief. Those claims will not stand against the mountain of evidence to the contrary.

And if he gets off, so be it. If a single MAGA juror manages to thwart justice, the full truth will still be there for anyone who is open to it. Trump will be weakened, wounded. He will not be president again. He won’t be in jail, but the virus will be contained.
Yes, voting matters. Polls do not.
~ H, Santa Cruz