Friday, December 2, 2022
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Trump and Putin threaten to return the world to the age of extremes

Most Wednesday nights, when I run my hand over this column, it’s easy to focus on cutting-edge economic or political developments emerging on the West Coast. But today, I’m worried about other things. There are Trump’s cascading legal problems: the Epic takedown by New York Attorney General Letitia Jamesand the investigation into his bizarre hoarding of highly classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, as well as his open penchant for QAnon rhetoric and his not too subtle hints that if instructed will mobilize its armed base in response. then there is Putin’s Hitler speech about the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of people in an all-out national effort to “defend” the homeland, including illegally annexed Ukrainian lands in a blatant war of aggression. As I find my attention temporarily drawn away from the western US, consider this a column of the Left Coast, instead of one on the Left Coast.

Let’s start with Trump. For years, this king of charlatans has gotten away with one alleged crime and one sleazy activity and one dubious business practice after another, always managing to avoid the legal repercussions of his actions. Now, in Letitia James, he has an adversary who seems determined to keep her feet in the legal fire. Even though his investigation is civil, and the penalties he seeks for Trump’s serial lying are financial rather than jail time, he made it clear Wednesday that he believes the Trump family violated state and federal criminal laws, announcing that she had forwarded the relevant details to federal prosecutors.

James explained, vividly, why fraud to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars is not somehow a “victimless” white-collar crime. He reminded viewers that former presidents are just as legally responsible if they defraud banks and tax collectors as ordinary citizens are, mocking the author of the art of the deal for specializing instead in “the art of theft.” There was something magnificent about the steely tone of outrage that James managed to project during his televised statement announcing the lawsuit.

I don’t know if this is the one that will finally burst the Trumpian bubble, but I do know that with this added to Trump’s growing legal to-do list, and his inability to present coherent and consistent legal arguments as to why he should No facing legal consequences for his heinous actions, the net has tightened dramatically around the former president. for more than margin of two to one, Americans surveyed about Trump’s handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago think it’s serious business. By a wide margin, Americans also believe that the various investigations into Trump’s alleged wrongdoing should continue.

All this drip-drip-drip is hurting the Trump brand. Earlier this week, in NBC poll found that Trump’s approval rating had dropped to a mere 34 percent. For a man of Donald’s insatiable ego, knowing that two-thirds of Americans disapprove of him, many of them passionately, must feel like an almost unbearable burden.

And yet, the more Trump falls, the more dangerous he becomes, the more willing he is to burn down the American house and mobilize the millions who still adhere to his vicious cult to seek revenge.



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