USSC Senior Fellow Stephen Loosley writes for Sky News that the extraordinary Congressional enquiry into the events of January 6 and the FBI seizure of documents at Mar-a-Lago seem a fitting end to a Trump Administration that has collapsed into recrimination and rancour.
Donald Trump registered one dubious political victory this week. He endorsed an opponent who went on to defeat feisty Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney in a Primary in her Wyoming constituency.
In so doing Trump trashed a Republican principle characterised by the 40th President, Ronald Reagan, dubbed the 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican”.
But Liz Cheney is not dead. On the contrary, in her defiant concession speech, she announced that she would be continuing her efforts to defend American democratic institutions.
Centrally, this involves keeping Trump out of the White House in the future. This brings us to the January 6 Committee of the US Congress, of which Liz Cheney is the Deputy Chair.
The Committee has focused relentlessly on the former President’s role in the insurrection which swept through the US Capitol last year and threatened to disrupt the peaceful transition of power from Trump to President-Elect Joe Biden.
The Vice President at the time, Mike Pence, played an honourable role and presided over the tally of Electoral College votes, which delivered a comfortable victory to Joe Biden.
For his pains, Pence was threatened by thugs with being hanged, and his President appears to have done nothing to intervene or safeguard the Vice-Presidential party.
The revelations have been extraordinary.
These include those of former White House staffers, who detailed Trump’s determination to be at the Capitol personally, and, failing this, to refuse the pleas of his staff and family to intercede and bring the violence to an end.
There is much more to emerge in the Congressional enquiry, and the US Secret Service is now under scrutiny over allegedly “disappearing” phone records.
It seems a fitting end to the Trump Administration, as it collapsed in a welter of recrimination and bitterness.
American history, however, requires a comprehensive settling of the facts and the consequent accountability.
US justice arrived much closer to home for Donald Trump in recent times. The FBI’s seizure of documents at Mar-a-Lago, hard on the heels of the search warrant’s approval by Attorney General, Merrick Garland, has opened yet another avenue of examination of the Trump Presidency.
Presidential documents are governed by law in terms of their final deposit, and this applies with acute sensitivity to those which are classified at a “Top Secret” level or beyond.
This is not game-playing; this is serious stuff. And this is why the Attorney General was so very careful in his approach. This is a continuing case of “watch this space”.
Every fan of American gangster films understands what “taking the Fifth” means.
It is of course a reference to the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution, guaranteeing the right American of citizens to avoid self-incrimination.
The fact that Donald Trump availed himself of this Constitutional guarantee nearly 450 times during his deposition in a New York courtroom probing his business dealings hardly raised an eyebrow.
Trump’s reputation as a businessman is established and is unlikely to improve.
Finally, and perhaps most dangerously for the 45th President, is the continuing investigation in Georgia into Trump’s apparent endeavour to influence the electoral outcome in that state in November 2020.
The claim of possible electoral interference involves the former President directly himself. The curious element in the Georgia electoral situation is that there was a Republican President disagreeing with a Republican state official over the ballot.
According to reports, Trump sought to have the Georgians search for additional votes.
The Washington Post reported then President Trump was recorded as telling Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have”.
This kindles memories of Richard Nixon’s recorded musings about silencing the Watergate burglars.
That ended badly for one Republican President. Fate beckons Donald Trump.