Trump indictment optics

I’ve posted this under News rather than ‘Politics’ because I’m interested in the presentation and representation of events, the terms chosen by presenters, or editors and the potential news footage generated by protagonists.

So this evening on one of my favourite programmes, France 24’s ‘The Debate’, the normally very on the ball chair, François Picard, twice referred to the orange one as ‘President Trump’. A few seconds after the second one (presumably after his producer’s intervention) he used the phrase ‘former President Trump’.

Cutting across to Fr24’s footage of Trump’s motorcade escorting him to the court house - there were at least twelve huge SUVs. Why? Nevertheless, despite the US’s many shortcomings, I’m hopeful (albeit it only just!) that Trump will get some of the long overdue retribution that Johnson will probably escape.


It’s been interesting to read the reporting on Al Jazeera, where it’s taken over the front pages as though he’s still president. He did have a disproportionate effect in the middle east, so I guess that a return to power for him would really help flush the Palestinians down the crapper.

I believe that, in the US, former presidents can retain the title President after leaving office. That certainly wouldn’t be the norm in English of course. Nobody calls Johnson PM any more but, as we are talking heads of state, perhaps the English continuation of ‘King George the 6th’ for example, is a useful parallel.

But of course in Britain you have to be dead to retain a title no longer held so, beware what you wish for Mr. Trump. :rofl:


The motorcade is in part made up of the Secret Service Protection Detail assigned to former US Presidents and their immediate family.

In his post indictment speech, he said that he had the right to hold all those secret documents.
Self condenmnation. No need for a trial.
Orange jump suit straight away.

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It’s normal Fr usage to call former presidents ‘le président XYZ’, it can obviously lead to ambiguity.

The only thing the Dumbocraps have achieved with this is too increase DT’s popularity.

So are you suggested that Trump shouldn’t be tried for the latest fistful of laws he’s alleged to have broken,? Try reading this clearly argued extract from this am’s NY Times (original is behind a paywall):-

A Simple Test’What if Donald Trump were someone else?

By David Leonhardt

June 14, 2023Updated 7:50 a.m. ET

Two weeks ago, a federal judge sentenced Robert Birchum, a former Air Force lieutenant colonel, to three years in jail for removing hundreds of secret documents from their authorized locations and storing them in his home and officer’s quarters.

In April, a judge sentenced Jeremy Brown, a former member of U.S. Special Forces, to more than seven years in prison partly for taking a classified report home with him after he retired. The report contained sensitive intelligence, including about an informant in another country.

In 2018, Nghia Hoang Pho received a five-and-a-half-year sentence for storing National Security Agency documents at his home. Prosecutors emphasized that Pho was aware he was not supposed to have taken the documents.

These three recent cases are among dozens in which the Justice Department has charged people with removing classified information from its proper place and trying to conceal their actions. That list includes several former high-ranking officials, like David Petraeus and John Deutch, who each ran the C.I.A.

Now, of course, the list also includes Donald Trump, who was arraigned in a Miami federal courthouse yesterday and pleaded not guilty to 37 charges.

Above the law?

Are federal prosecutors singling out Trump because of his signature role in American politics? Or are they basing their decision to indict him solely on the facts of the case?

Sean Trende, a political analyst with RealClearPolitics, has offered a helpful way to understand these questions — and specifically when a former president should, and should not, be charged with a crime.

Start by thinking about all the other people who had engaged in behavior similar to that for which the ex-president was charged with a crime. If just some of those other people were charged, the ex-president should not be, Trende wrote. Prosecutors have a large amount of discretion about which cases to bring, and they should err on the side of not indicting a former president because of the political turmoil it is likely to cause, he argued.

But if the ex-president did something that would have caused anybody else to be charged with a crime, he should be, too. “The president shouldn’t be above the law,” Trende explained.

There is ample reason to believe that the document case against Trump falls into the second category: Had any other American done what he is accused of doing, that person would almost certainly be prosecuted. “The real injustice,” the editors of The Economist magazine wrote yesterday, “would have been not to indict him.”

Consider: Prosecutors have accused Trump of removing classified documents from government property and bringing them home with him. Those documents contained sensitive information, such as military plans and intelligence about foreign militaries. Trump made clear to others that he knew he should not have the documents and took steps to mislead investigators about them, prosecutors claim.

It’s true — as Trump’s defenders repeatedly point out — that other government officials, including President Biden, Mike Pence and Hillary Clinton, have also mishandled classified information without having been charged with crimes. But those cases were very different from Trump’s. The transgressions seemed to be accidental. The officials returned the documents when asked. They did not try to mislead federal investigators.

Trump’s alleged actions instead resemble those of the obscure officials I mentioned at the top of today’s newsletter. His behavior also seems to have been much more brazen than that of Deutch and Petraeus.