“We’re going to win so much, you’re going to get bored with winning”
-Donald J. Trump
For a guy who claims to be nothing but a winner in life, former president Trump has a legal losing streak that even the New York Jets can’t match. First there is his 1–64 record in his challenges to his election loss in 2020. Then there is his failure to stop the New York Attorney General’s investigation into his business affairs that has led her to bring a formal civil complaint for the “staggering fraud” that permeated his organization, in essence through inflating his properties to obtain loans and deflating them for tax purposes.
Not to mention the continuing debacle over his retention of presidential records that may contain some of the country’s most sensitive secrets, where a Trump-appointed federal judge’s order that appointed a special master to examine the documents for claims of executive and attorney-client privilege was partially overturned by an appeals panel that included two of his own appointees, allowing the DOJ to proceed in its investigation. Even the special master recommended by Trump’s lawyers has cast doubt on his claims of declassifying the documents and executive privilege and plans to proceed in his review post haste.
In what may be his most serious legal threat, Trump is facing a determined Atlanta DA who is considering criminal charges arising out of his efforts to get the Georgia Secretary of State to “find” 11,780 votes, just enough to overcome Joe Biden’s margin of victory in the state.
These legal setbacks must be a shock to Trump, who is used to abusing the courts to stifle his creditors through delay and obstruction and resorting to the bankruptcy courts when necessary to stiff his lenders and vendors. But while U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s claim that “no one is above the law,” it is still doubtful that DJT will truly face the reckoning he deserves, although the signs of his desperation are there, as he claims that his favorite constituents (an unruly mob) “won’t stand for” his indictment in the documents case, echoing a warning he gave that preceded the January 6 Capitol riot.
In a way, Trump’s veiled threats of violence emulate his political hero and fellow autocratic thug Vladimir Putin, whose humiliating failures in Ukraine has him hinting at the use of tactical nuclear weapons to salvage a war that has him ordering civilian call-ups to bolster a Russian army that has not shown anything resembling the superior fighting force that they were perceived to be. Fighting a Ukrainian army made up of men and women from every walk of life determined to preserve their very existence as a nation, although mightily supported by Western arms, the Russians are not only not winning, they are literally getting their asses kicked. So far, their greatest skill has been the ability to retreat from vast areas of territory while abandoning their weapons for the Ukrainians to gather to use against them.
It is fitting that Trump and Putin are sharing their misery. While Trump is at risk from a legal system that he has used to his advantage in the past, Putin faces a more existential threat to his authority, although a possible purge may result in an even more hard line successor. Be careful what you wish for. Maybe they can team up on a new reality TV show to save their careers, as Trump had once done. Taking a cue from Dostoyesvsky, they can compete head-to-head for the title “The Idiot.”