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Indicted Donald Trump as Lucy Ricardo

Indicted Donald Trump as Lucy Ricardo

<p>Indicted Donald Trump as Lucy Ricardo</p>

Lucy never succeeded in hiding everything she didn't want Ricky to see in their closet. Fifty years ago, Richard Nixon also tried to hide his unseemliness from us.

History has been made as Donald Trump became the first former president to be indicted. I imagined Trump wondering what the right attire was for a federal court appearance and opening a closet to remove a suit, only to be buried in an avalanche of documents.

After reading the 37-count indictment against Trump, I came away thinking about two things: Lucy Ricardo's closet and an episode of Hoarders. The latter is self-explanatory if you look at the photos of boxes and boxes of documents on a Mar-a-Lago stage, in a bathroom and shower, then on rickety shelves in a storage area, where those boxes, full of government secrets, spilled out after the cheap shelving gave way.

Even Trump's own words about "my boxes" made him sound like the very definition of a hoarder: one with "persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them."

Then to I Love Lucy, where Lucy used her small living room closet to hide an assortment of things from Ricky, including people for a surprise party, a silver item for a fundraiser (Ricky sees this and thinks Lucy is a kleptomaniac), and unnecessary items she buys from a fast-talking salesman.

The problem is, while this whole situation does sound like various episodes of dramatic and comedic television shows, it's far more serious. These documents were serious. Hiding them were serious. Showing them to others was serious. Lying about having them was serious. Not turning them over was serious. These were state secrets, vital to the protection of our democracy as well as other democracies and even autocratic countries.

While campaigning in 2016, he vowed to do all he could to protect our nations secrets from people like Hillary Clinton. Sure, it’s gratifying to vent “Lock Him Up” at Trump. Karma is a bitch. What goes around comes around. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, etc., etc., etc.

But putting Clinton’s purely careless mistake in the same sentence with the serious charges facing Trump is wrong. Even Clinton is remaining silent about the 37 counts levied against Trump, and for good reason.

Clinton’s sloppiness was at the heart of her document snafu. Likewise, Trump’s legal team is already trying to shift the story to say that President Biden is guilty too, Trump's attorney going so far as saying Biden “stole” the documents during an interview with George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America, which drew a rebuke from Stephanopoulos.

Biden, like former vice president and current GOP presidential candidate Mike Pence, apparently unintentionally had secret documents, and when it was determined that Biden and Pence did, both immediately handed them over. We all know by now that when Trump was confronted by the National Archives to turn over his secret documents, he refused, obfuscated, and obstructed.

That’s exactly what Richard Nixon did, and along the way, he was revealed to be an unsavory person. His famous tapes showed him to be racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic — sound familiar? Those tapes also were the strongest evidence that Nixon, from the White House, was orchestrating the Watergate cover-up.

For Trump, it’s the recordings that Special Counsel Jack Smith included in the indictments that were damning. His big mouth will ultimately be what sends him to prison, if we get that far, but Smith uses these recordings to bolster and prove the charges against Trump.

Exactly 50 years ago this coming July, it was Alexander Butterfield who alerted the Senate committee looking into Watergate that Nixon had a tape system in his office, which marked a huge turning point in the investigation into Nixon. All hell broke loose after Butterfield’s revelation.

Nixon ended up looking foolish and arrogant, and Trump has exhibited foolishness and arrogance that over and over and over again during the last few decades he’s been in the public eye and most relevantly while in the White House. These new recordings of Trump are just more in the astounding number of ways Trump looks arrogant and foolish, not only in public but behind closed doors. He and Nixon were both blowhards, thinking they were impervious to any laws or norms.

They spoke like mob bosses, clowns, and carnival barkers — and lawbreakers. Nixon bragged about how easily he could get a million dollars to pay off the Watergate burglars, and Trump brags that he has secrets, big secrets, and blathers to his visitors not to get "too close," underscoring his arrogance at the foolish way he handles the documents.

The other similarity between Nixon and Trump is their legal counsel. For Nixon, it was White House Counsel John Dean. Fifty years ago this month, Dean ended up blowing the whistle on Nixon, revealing that Nixon was deep in the cover-up of Watergate, which prompted Dean to tell Nixon, according to his congressional testimony, that there was a cancer on the presidency.

Trump’s counsel Pat Corcoran was forced by a federal ruling to reveal the depths of Trump’s obstruction around the secret documents. During all the back-and-forth with the National Archives around Trump returning the documents, it was Corcoran's memorialized notes of Trump's deviance that helped government officials learn about the number of documents Trump was hiding and the shenanigans behind his efforts to obfuscate..

After the indictments came down, two of his attorneys resigned — most likely in shame. Will these attorneys be given some immunity or the promise of a reduced sentence in exchange for spilling the beans on Trump? That is what happened to Dean. He pleaded guilty to a felony in exchange for becoming a key witness for the prosecution and served a four-month sentence in a Maryland prison.

Obviously, President Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon — for the good of the country, and that decision, to many, is why Ford lost his bid for the presidency in 1976. And obviously, President Biden is not going to pardon Trump, who faces decades in prison related to the charges against him.

We never saw Nixon pay the price for his criminality and obstruction, even though a majority of Americans wanted to see him behind bars. With the passage of time, it can be hard to remember how loathed Nixon was and how many people wanted to see the book being thrown at him. At that time, many constitutional scholars and political pundits were weighing in about the historic significance of Nixon possibly being indicted, standing trial, and going to prison.

For the next few months — or even next few years — we are going to see the same thing, pundits, prognosticators, and constitutional law professors theorizing what will happen to Trump. This will be compounded, most likely, by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is sure to charge Trump for illegally meddling in the 2020 election in Georgia.

As with everything else about Trump, he will drag this out for as long as possible, hoping to push the documents and Georgia case and perhaps the looming January 6 case into 2025, when hopes — and thinks — he will be elected president and sworn in and have his attorney general bury them. He might get some help right off the bat. Trump appeared Tuesday in Miami on in front of U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who last year tried to cripple the Justice Department's document case against Trump. Will she recuse herself? Or will she learn from her previous action, for which she was thrashed far and wide, and play hardball?

Will we see Trump be carted off in a prison transport vehicle after he’s found guilty? Will we ever see Trump in a trial — or trials? Will our democracy and Constitution withstand all these indictments, charges, revelations, involving a former president?

These same questions were being asked about Nixon back in 1974, and we never got the answers. The only thing that we learned was how arrogant, foolish, and criminal Nixon was. Will this be all that’s gleaned about Donald Trump when everything is finally said and done?

Lucy never succeeded in hiding everything she didn't want Ricky to see in that closet. He always found out. Now we are like Ricky, discovering the utter mess Trump was trying to hide from us.

Views expressed in The Advocate’s opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, equalpride.

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