Lordy, There Are Tapes!
Welcome 2021. A New Year gives us reason to hope, to work harder to shed the stench of the Trump regime from this country and the world. After our congratulations to President-elect Biden and our first woman Vice President Kamala Harris, we need to take a moment to congratulate one another on the good work of our activism. While not all of our efforts were successful, we never gave up or sat on the sidelines waiting for someone else to fix the problems. After our toasts, however, it is time to get back to work.
Unlike Richard Nixon who was slicker and somewhat more competent than Trump in his criminality, Donald J. Trump’s traitorous actions against the government of the United States and its people during his regime have largely gone unpunished. A Republican-controlled Senate in the person of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made sure that Trump held office unscathed—at least until the time he leaves (forced to leave) office.
A forgiving nature is a powerful and commendable quality. Forgiving the crime of trying to dismantle our democracy, however, is not commendable for the reason that the act calls out to like-minded autocrats they may repeat the crimes committed during the Trump administration. Trump’s Federal crimes in office are many, but in the end, he may finally be investigated and charged for one on his way out the door: attempting to change the outcome of the 2021 American election through extortion. This time, there are tapes!
The Washington Post received a tape of Trump’s phone call to the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger, and the tape is not only revealing and damning but sickening: “Trump demanded that Georgia’s Republican secretary of state ‘find’ him enough votes to overturn the presidential election, and threatened him with ‘a criminal offense,’ during an hour-long telephone conversation with him on Saturday, according to audio excerpts,” wrote New York Times journalist Michael D. Shear on January 3, 2021.
Using his own words from the tape’s transcript, Trump incriminates himself: “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have…You know what they did and you’re not reporting it,” Trump said. “You know, that’s a criminal — that’s a criminal offense. And you know, you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer. That’s a big risk.”
Reading the entirety of the tape’s transcript induces nausea, both for its exposure of Trump’s crimes/mob boss dictates and for the utter incoherence/ignorance of the man who held our highest office for four years.
Trump never should have been allowed to complete his term in the Executive. His firing of FBI Director James Comey because Comey would not commit to “easing the pressure” on Trump regarding the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election was impeachable. A Republican-controlled Congress at the time chose to investigate Comey instead. During his testimony at the hearings, Comey said in response to a White House claim about tapes of their conversation, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” Comey kept notes about the meeting in which Trump asked him to end the FBI's investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who went on to plead guilty then tried to take back his plea, and finally was pardoned by co-conspirator Trump.
A new administration, a new Attorney General will finally have an opportunity to hold those accountable who tried out sedition as the latest Republican tactic to maintain power. “The G.O.P. is now a party that has no compunction about nullifying the voting rights of its opposition,” wrote Eric Levitz in New York Magazine.
Legendary journalist Carl Bernstein said of the Trump tape, “this is the ultimate smoking gun.” Obstruction of Justice, in retrospect, appears to be the lesser of Trump’s many crimes in office. This time, there really are tapes.
Nancy A. Dafoe