Over the course of the twentieth century, various trials were declared to be “The Trial of the Century.” Clearly, not all of them deserved the designation, which exposes the dangers of bestowing such a title too early. (And no, I am not going to choose my own trial of the last century, even though that century is now past.)
Donald Trump’s upcoming trial for mishandling classified documents and for obstructing the government’s attempts to retrieve them may possibly become a legitimate Trial of the (twenty-first) Century, particularly if it results in Trump’s going to prison. Of course, Eugene Debs ran for president from prison, and Trump will surely do the same if justice puts him in the slammer before the 2024 election. This trial may be less consequential than one might imagine.
If Trump is indicted for his part in the Epiphany Insurrection (my favorite designation for the events of January 6, 2021), the resulting trial may well deserve the trial-of-the-century title. Conviction could not only put Trump in prison but would also, by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment, prevent him from holding public office ever again.
- Trump, besides having retained classified documents, retained unclassified documents as well. Surely, doing so was illegal. Why has the government largely ignored this admittedly less significant crime?
- “Epiphany Insurrection” reflects the fact that the attack on the Capitol occurred on a major Christian holiday. But the term has another significance. If there was any doubt that Trump was disdainful of our democratic institutions, the events of January 6 exposed that disdain for all the world to see.