Donald Trump and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad 48 hours
Warrants and taxes and depositions, oh my!
For one of the wealthiest, most powerful, most influential figures on the planet right now, former President Donald Trump is having a pretty lousy week.
Actually, no, let me rephrase that: For one of the most wildly dangerous politicians in recent memory, former President Donald Trump is finally having the sort of week that feels long overdue given, y’know, his whole thing.
Here’s a rundown of his past 48ish hours, to give you a sense of what I’m talking about:
Kicking things off Monday morning was a surprise FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago compound in Palm Beach, Florida. Acting on a signed warrant, federal agents searched the property — including former first lady Melania Trump’s wardrobe, per the New York Post, and the former president’s safe, which we know because Trump himself whined “they even broke into my safe” — as part of an investigation into alleged mishandling of classified materials belonging to the National Archives. (Trump was out of town when the FBI executed the warrant.) And while the incident has proven a galvanizing moment for conservatives eager a) for violence and b) to dump money into the former president’s nebulous coffers, the bottom line remains that if the Justice Department has enough evidence to convince a judge that you may have committed a crime, things are not exactly going your way.
And speaking of the way things are going, the very next day a panel of federal judges unanimously ruled that Trump’s long-sought-after tax returns would be going straight to the Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee — the latest chapter in a 2019 lawsuit filed by committee chairman Rep. Richard Neal that has ended up outlasting Trump’s actual time in office. It’s a significant but not conclusive victory for Neal, with Trump well within his rights to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. Again though, when three federal judges agree that a House committee has ample reason to obtain your tax records, things are not exactly going your way.
Which brings us to Wednesday, and the former president’s defiant announcement that morning that he’d be availing himself of his constitutional Fifth Amendment right to abstain from self-incrimination during his deposition with New York Attorney General Letitia James regarding his business’s finances. In doing so, Trump was forced to awkwardly grapple with his previous declaration that “the mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”
“I once asked, ‘If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’ Now I know the answer to that question,” Trump insisted in a statement on Wednesday. “When your family, your company, and all the people in your orbit have become the targets of an unfounded, politically motivated witch hunt supported by lawyers, prosecutors, and the fake news media, you have no choice.” According to the transitive theorem, then, all those mobsters who pleaded the Fifth were simply the victims of a politically motivated witch hunt, right? Right?
Anyway, it should also be noted that none of these instances of ongoing turmoil for Trump have anything to do with the congressional investigation into his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection attempt, which is still progressing. That whole deal is happening outside of these three episodes. Oof.
So there you have it. It’s been quite the week for Trump already, and we’re only halfway through.