Robert Reich: Trump Is Indicted – OpEd


Donald Trump has been indicted.

You’re going to hear three basic criticisms of this indictment. Let me rebut each in turn.

1. This is a dangerous precedent to set. 

Rubbish. In order for the justice system to work, there must be trust that the system will not play favorites or ignore the wrongdoing of the powerful.

Donald Trump has done everything possible over the last seven years to destroy that trust for his own political gain.

America never quite recovered from Gerald Ford’s decision to pardon Richard Nixon for all crimes he might have committed. 

“No one is above the law” is only true if we make it so. Holding our leaders accountable is vital to maintaining trust in our legal system, and the survival of our democracy itself. 

2. The indictment plays into Trump’s claims that he’s the victim of a witch hunt, and will further rile his core supporters. 

Undoubtedly some Trump supporters will be upset by this. The indictment will confirm for them that Trump is not only being prosecuted but also being persecuted. 

But Trump has used every move against him so far — whether by the FBI, the Justice Department, Congress, or even opponents in the Republican Party — to claim he’s a victim of a witch hunt. This indictment is no different. 

His entire campaign in based on variations of this same grievance. 

3. This is the weakest of the cases now being prepared against Trump 

To be sure, paying hush money to cover up something embarrassing during a presidential campaign is not nearly on the same level as asking Georgia’s secretary of state to “come up” with the exact number of votes needed to reverse the outcome of Georgia’s presidential election, or fomenting an attack on the U.S. Capitol. 

And it may be true that an allegation like this is usually treated as a misdemeanor rather than a felony. 

None of this alters the fact that a grand jury had enough evidence in this case to decide that Trump broke the law. That’s the critical point. A federal judge can decide whether the case rises to a felony or is more appropriately treated as a misdemeanor. The overriding issue is that no person is above the law, not even a former president. 

The other cases will be ready soon enough. 

What do you think?

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, and writes at Reich served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good," which is available in bookstores now. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

One thought on “Robert Reich: Trump Is Indicted – OpEd

  • April 1, 2023 at 4:37 pm

    As the cases against Mr. Trump are being developed in different offices in different states , can the order re: when the cases arise, be manipulated ?


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