Updated: Sep 13
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By Petyo Rakov
The infamous 2021 attack at the American Capitol resulted in five casualties and four post-factum suicides. Many considered the (in)direct involvement of then-President Trump to be the funeral of his political career. Although the fiasco resulted in a record-second impeachment, two years later, the uncouth statesman is again politically-relevant. His renewed presidential ambitions have been inspiring distress and delight in polarized America that awaits the Doomsday or Second Coming of Trump.
The Capitol Attack
Exactly two years ago, to this day, more than 2.000 rioters forced their way into the Capitol, prompted by a sore presidential loser to “stop the steal”. The entrance disrupted a joint session of Congress, convened to certify the results of the presidential election of 2020, which the intruders deemed illegitimate. Trump’s current legal problems can be traced back to that fateful Wednesday 6 January 2021.
The insurrection was founded on a lie. Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election had been rigged have been debunked by state- and federal courts, intelligence- and law enforcement agencies, and members of Trump’s own administration. Even the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement, concluding that the 2020 presidential election was the most secure in history.
The everlasting importance of this event can be illustrated through a hindsight comparison with the Boston ‘Massacre’. This historical event resulted in exactly five casualties. Historians consider the instance as the boiling point of anti-authority sentiment in pre-independent America that triggered a chain of events, culminating with the American Revolution.
Illustration of the Boston Massacre © History.com
Do you find some similarities? For many hard-core Trump supporters, who already consider him a revolutionary Messiah and foresee a rhyming history, the attack on the Capitol may carry the same significance, though sprinkled with a touch of culty. The appealing character of the politically-alienated former president grants him enough ground for legitimate candidacy during the 2024 presidential election.
Trump’s Malicious Deeds
Even though post-presidency Trump has not been active on mainstream social media, he did not manage to avoid controversies and investigations. Following the attack on the Capitol, Trump faced his second impeachment trial, based on incitement of insurrection. Interestingly, Trump’s first one was based on allegations of election manipulation.
Moreover, the ‘January 6th Committee’ issued a report, stating that those who swore to defend the Constitution but partake in the insurrection can be disqualified from holding government office. Ultimately, Trump was not convicted during his presidency since less than two-thirds of the Senate found him guilty. Open critics of America could argue that this development showcases the consequences of a dysfunctional U.S. Senate.
Furthermore, according to the Presidential Records Act, “any records created or received by the President… will be managed by NARA [National Archives and Records Administration] at the end of the administration”. The goal of this legislation is to guarantee the perpetual confidentiality of sensitive documents.
To fulfil this requirement, former presidents should ‘hand over’ their records to the NARA once their term of office is over. Trump did not comply with this legal obligation, because upon leaving the White House, the former president retained classified documents. This violation prompted the FBI to conduct a thorough and warranted search of Trump’s “Winter White House” in Florida.
Unlike the illegal 2021 Capitol insurrection, the ‘raid’ of Mar-a-Lago resulted in no casualties. 11.000 government documents and photographs were seized, however. Some of these are beyond the authorization of even senior national security officials. More specifically, the seized classified material included eighteen documents marked top secret. The documents in Mar-a-Lago were improperly stored, and labelled, thus threatening America. Would this disobedience of federal law not undermine Trump’s political endeavours? Certainly.
© Wikipedia | Tyler Merbler
Lastly, yet most ironically, Trump is being investigated as an individual in Georgia for attempting to overturn what he called a ‘rigged’ election. The scrutinized practices resulted in charges for false election fraud claims, fake elector schemes, and efforts to access voting machines in one county.
The Unconstitutional 2024 Candidate-President
Former President Trump is tangled in many lawsuits and scandals such as his (in)direct involvement in the 2021 attack and allegations of election manipulation in Georgia. For that matter, it should be at the very least alarming that on 15 November, Trump announced his White House bid for 2024 at Mar-a-Lago. Is a 76-year-old man, who is so ridiculed by politicians, including Republicans, and investigated by countless prosecutors and government agencies, fit to be president?
The most credible answer to this provocative question is written in the Constitution of the United States. According to the fourteenth Amendment, a person, who had taken an oath to defend the Constitution but has afterwards engaged in insurrection and rebellion against the same, shall not hold any office in the United States.
Sources: Britannica, Reuters, History.com, Politico, The Guardian, CNN, Business Insider, US Senate, US CISA, US National Archives
Written by Petyo Rakov
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of MJPE or its Board. The designations employed in this publication and the presentation of material therein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the MJPE concerning the legal status of any country, area or territory or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers.