I ran into Frank at our local café, whom I hadn’t seen since pre-Covid. At the time, I knew he was a Republican and had voted for Donald Trump. However, after Trump denied the election results, the disaster of rioters on Capital Hill, and the latest federal indictment, I wonder if he had a change of heart. Over several cups of coffee, we mainly discussed the latest indictment by the federal independent counsel. I’ve included our conversation below.
Kevin: Donald Trump was recently arrested on federal criminal charges in June 2023. In addition, the Manhattan District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, had earlier brought up charges related to the hush money payment probe. For these arraignments, neither Melania nor any of Trump's children were seen; what does that say about Trump and his family?
Frank: Maybe Melania is not well, or maybe she's still hurt by the Stormy Daniels fiasco. I suspect Melania and Donald's marriage is simply transactional. Or perhaps she wants to avoid the menagerie and return to Slovenia to live a quiet life. Regarding the children and spouses, I don't know what to think. I don't know if it was Trump's decision. He has tons of support among God-fearing Americans, and I wish he had more support from his family. I wonder if some of his supporters love him more than his immediate family.
Kevin: You must admit the charges are damning, especially the latest charges from Jack Smith of the Federal Independent Counsel. Did you read any or all of the indictments brought by the independent counsel?
Frank: No, as Trump says, "It's a partisan witch hunt." Why are they going after Trump and not Hillary or Sleepy Joe? Anyway, I don't need to read it; it's completely biased and just nonsense done to smear and ultimately destroy Trump.
Kevin: Do you realize that some members of the GOP think the evidence provided by Jack Smith is quite remarkable? Mitt Romney, Chris Christie, Asa Hutchinson, and others say if the allegations are true, Trump could serve jail time.
To reiterate, If Trump was told he had documents he was not allowed to have, and then he concealed them and lied about not having them, it's not only a serious offense but a criminal one.
Frank: Their comments are self-serving. Two of those individuals are running for President, so if Trump is in serious trouble with the law, it dramatically increases their chances.
Kevin: What makes you think Trump is innocent?
Frank: I agree with Donald Trump; it’s a ‘partisan witch-hunt.’ What about donations recently made to the Trump campaign? He's raised over seven million dollars since the indictment. What does that say? People wouldn't give that much money to a guilty person. Besides, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll done recently, over 80% of Republicans believe these charges are politically motivated. All those Republicans can’t be wrong…
Kevin: Regardless of how much money his campaign raises, facts are facts. How can you say that about the facts of the case if you still haven’t read the indictment?
Frank: We know the demorats are demons. I think Trump shouldn't face any consequences even if he stored those classified docs away. Right?
Kevin: So you rename 'democrats' to 'demorats,' interesting. If due process exists, it will be followed. Trump has the same rights as every other American. He also has to face accountability, as does every other American.
Frank: Did you read what Senator Josh Hawley said, “If the people in power can jail their political opponents at will, we don’t have a republic?” Maybe we don’t have a republic?
Kevin: I’ll engage in some deep breathing exercises before I respond. I wonder if Mr. Hawley is indeed a patriot. Perhaps he loves the GOP more than this country. Mr. Hawley is the last person I'd listen to about our republic. First, Trump is not in jail, so let’s cut the hyperbole. Second, The Attorney General, Merrick Garland, appointed an independent group to investigate a possible conspiracy by Donald Trump. It appears Garland wants to remain independent (and President Biden, too) during this process. If indeed Trump lied about not having these documents and showed some visitors top-level secrets is unacceptable. He needs to be held accountable for his actions – isn’t that what many MAGA supporters want, that those who have served in Washington are held accountable for their behavior?
Frank: I disagree, I like what Senator Hawley stands for, and I bet his constituents do too. I’m also really proud of what Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis, had to say. “The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society. We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending on political affiliation. Why are you so zealous in pursuing Trump yet passive about Hillary or Hunter?”
Kevin: With due respect, why haven’t most Republicans who support Trump been committed to reading various viewpoints from the corporate media? How often must I hear that ‘trope’ from Republicans about Hillary, Hunter, and Joe Biden? I’ll get to those later.
Look, what about what Bill Barr said recently on Fox News? He’s Trump’s former Attorney General (quotes from FoxNews.com): Bill Barr was asked, what did Trump allegedly do? He engaged in outrageous acts of obstruction and deception while ignoring the subpoena. And that is wrong. That’s a law. I mean, that’s a violation of law. That’s a severe problem for him. What he did was, according to the indictment, he took a lot of the boxes away, hid them from his lawyer, told his lawyer to go and search what remained, and then caused that lawyer to file a statement to the court saying that there had been a complete search. And if anyone did that, that would be obstruction. So that is why I think the Justice Department pulled the trigger, and that’s the central part of this case, so talking about whether he had the right to have the documents. Well, it’s ridiculous. It’s a sideshow! You cannot defend what he did with that subpoena using.
Frank: According to Trump, Bill Barr was an ineffective Attorney General. I’ll move on; what about Evangelical leaders who have expressed outrage after the indictment of former President Trump? This includes Paula White-Cain, Franklin Graham, and Mark Burns; these leaders and others have taken to Twitter to express their disappointment with the indictment. That has to account for so many religious people supporting Donald Trump.
Kevin: Whether they are religious or not is beside the point. We need to examine the facts and let the justice system play out. Some religious scholars wonder why many Americans are turning away from religion. If you hear some evangelicals support Trump without objectivity and examine the facts, why would someone searching for the Christian faith be attracted to the religion they support? I don’t understand why many religious folks support one party over another. That makes no sense to me. If you’re a follower of Christ, then in my mind, you’d advocate to improve the lives of all Americans, especially the less fortunate.
Frank: I hope things work out for President Donald Trump and these charges are dismissed. If he’s not part of the GOP primary, I’m supporting Nikki Haley.
Kevin: I need to correct one thing before I move on; Donald Trump is the former President, not the current one.
Regarding Nikki Haley, who recently said, “Two things can be true simultaneously. The DOJ and FBI have lost all credibility with the American people. The second thing can also be true: If this indictment is true, if what it says is the case, President Trump was incredibly reckless with our national security.”
She says if the indictment is valid, Trump was incredibly reckless with our national security. At the same time, she’s criticizing the DOJ and FBI even though the special counsel appointed by the DOJ appears to be doing an excellent job with this investigation, so I wish she’d expand on why these two institutions have lost all credibility with the American people.
Kevin: What about the dominion lawsuit against Fox News?
Frank: What lawsuit? I’ve never heard of such a thing, and I didn't see any coverage of a lawsuit against Fox News on Fox News. You’re paying too much attention to the left-wing socialist media.
Kevin: In my humble opinion, those who watch Fox News consistently receive news that's typically pro-republican and anti-democrat. Based on your response, where do you get your news? Do you search for divergent opinions to help make sense of what’s occurring at the federal level?
Frank: Newsmax, Fox News, OAN and Breitbart. One more question, why is Trump being charged while Biden and Clinton were not? It seems that only Trump is being persecuted for having classified information.
Kevin: Let me take each one individually. Indeed, Secretary of State Clinton kept an email server with classified information within some emails on a personal computer at home. After the investigation, the FBI recommended to the Justice Department not to press charges and said Clinton was “extremely careless.” In addition, she cooperated with the investigation. I'm a little surprised that she didn't receive additional punishment.
Moving on to Joe Biden, in November of last year, lawyers for President Biden discovered ten classified documents at an office in Washington, D.C. His attorneys immediately called the National Archives, which took possession of the documents the next day. Biden’s home was also searched, which produced another six documents immediately given to the National Archives. The Attorney General, Merrick Garland, has appointed a special counsel to investigate how the documents got there; the investigation is ongoing.
You only mentioned that Biden and Clinton were not charged; did you forget to mention former Vice President Pence? About a dozen documents were discovered in his home, and later, the FBI found one more document, for a total of 13. All documents were immediately returned to the National Archives. Earlier this month, the Justice Department said the case is being closed, and no charges would be filed.
Experts say the crucial difference is intent; Trump appeared to engage in outrageous acts of obstruction and deception that obstructed that subpoena.
In addition, the FBI found about 300 classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. Compared with the 13 and 16 documents from Pence and Biden, this amount of records is another major factor that sets Trump’s situation apart.
Even though I had drunk several cups of coffee, I was completely exhausted from discussing this issue. I suggested that Frank searches for diverse opinions when reading online news or watching cable television. He just smiled as he walked away.