Trump Indicted (Again)

This time, it's the feds.

“#USAxAUS” by White House is in the Public Domain

To add to being the first president to be impeached twice, Trump is the first former president in U.S. history to face federal charges. And let’s not forget his indictment in New York.

Mr. Trump was charged with a total of seven counts, including willfully retaining national defense secrets in violation of the Espionage Act, making false statements and an obstruction of justice conspiracy, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Trump is expected to surrender himself to authorities in Miami on Tuesday, according to a person close to him and his own post on Truth Social.


Public filings in the documents case have painted a picture of Mr. Trump repeatedly stonewalling efforts by both the National Archives and Records Administration and the Justice Department to retrieve the trove of hundreds of sensitive government records that the former president took with him from the White House and kept mostly at his private club and residence in Florida, Mar-a-Lago.

This is Trump’s second indictment this calendar year and investigations continue in an additional federal probe regarding his involvement in the January 6th insurrection and it seems likely he will be indicted in Georgia over attempts to influence the vote count.

An ABC News story notes the following:

Experts say a current U.S. government criminally prosecuting its former leader and current leading opposition party candidate upends long-held norms and could test the nation’s democratic system in a manner that stretches far beyond the merits of the case itself.

Well, let me counter (and specifically as an expert in democratic governance) that not prosecuting a former president simply because they are a former president is to set aside the notion that we have a government of laws, not of men. That is the realm of corrupt autocracy, not democracy.

It is already the case that the Department of Justice has a standing policy not to indict a sitting president. If we also cannot indict a former president because of concerns that such actions would be too “political” or, heaven forfend, “upend long-held norms” then it means that presidents would be above the law. It would be a state of impunity for any person elected to that office.

Quite frankly, we should be holding those who hold the most power to the highest standards of conduct, not the other way around.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2024, Crime, Law and the Courts, US Politics, , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Andy says:

    I’m pretty sure this one is gonna hurt.

    It’s one thing to improperly and negligently remove classified info – which Biden, Clinton, Pence, and probably many others have done – it’s quite another to refuse to give it back, not cooperate once it’s discovered, and lie about it (or have your lawyer lie about it).

    So I think the case – from what we know – is pretty open and shut. (IANAL)

  2. Michael Reynolds says:

    Trump’s only hope now is jury nullification.

  3. Modulo Myself says:

    If Trump can get to the White House before the trial or during it, it’s going to be slightly funny, but also very bad.

    Also, this case has been open and shut since the beginning. I’m curious about the types who were like there’s some mystery here. There was not a mystery, ever, with this case. He might as well have had 5 frozen heads in the hotel freezer. It was a crime from the beginning to now. What were these people even trying to articulate?

  4. de stijl says:

    Don’t forget the Georgia case.

  5. DK says:


    Won’t He do it!

  6. de stijl says:

    One of things I stick to as to whether someone is valid to talk to is their ability to disavow heroes / teammates.

    You gotta cut loose somebody who did bad enough to get caught and charged by the DOJ. If you cannot, you are irredeemable and I don’t trust you. If perceived group affinity out-trumps (sorry!) integrity, then I put you in the category of I no longer will listen to what you have to say.

    You failed a pretty basic civics and morality test.

  7. Kathy says:

    Two impeachments.
    Two indictments.

    Time for two convictions.

    And two decades behind bars.

  8. Kylopod says:

    I’ve been hearing that bail is usually denied for violations of the Espionage Act. Does this mean Trump is going to be put in jail? Needless to say, that would be a game changer regardless of the outcome of the trial.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: Maybe house arrest, but not jail, for the moment.

  10. Liberal Capitalist says:

    I’m down here in Matt Gaetz’s district… L.A. (Lower Alabama).

    People are still flying their Trump flags down here. None of this matters to them, because it’s just another way to own the libs.

    I will be very owned when Trump goes to federal prison. Believe me. Bigly.

  11. Liberal Capitalist says:


    And two decades behind bars.

    Reality Winner received a 5 year sentence for sharing ONE document.
    Trump had over 100.

    May he live 500 years. And serve them all.

  12. reid says:

    Meanwhile, we have actual Senators writing absolutely insane things like this from Rick Scott on twitter:

    Biden is single-handedly destroying the justice system in America. After tonight, Biden will go down as the most corrupt and despotic President in our nation’s history.

    On the day his $5M bribe is exposed to the public, his DOJ indicts Trump for something he himself has done.

    He’s far from the only one. Will they never stop their hyperbolic defenses of this worthless person?

  13. @reid: The willingness of Scott and his fellow travelers to undermine American democracy and rule of law in exchange for ephemeral political gain is disgusting and disturbing.

  14. @OzarkHillbilly:

    Maybe house arrest,

    While I am not going to hold my breath, that would be some poetic justice given all the ridicule leveled at Biden for “campaigning from his basement.”

  15. reid says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Indeed. I can only hope that we’ve somehow hit bottom here and there will be some sort of reckoning finally, but I doubt it.

  16. just nutha says:

    @reid: WA! This Biden bribe thing could be really powerful stuff. It’s a good thing that everybody–including the GOP Congressional Caucuses apparently–is in on the cover-up.

  17. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    The DOJ should stop discriminating against imaginary crimes and treat them as real ones.

  18. reid says:

    @Kathy: Heh, there are so many ways to apply the “two justice systems” trope.