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Why is Trump not in jail?

Mike McCartney

26th May 2021

I thought there was a chance he would be on leaving office

I think because my personal political hinterland stretches across six decades, starting with a family conversation during the Winter of Discontent about why the government/worker relationship had broken down and had caused a three-day week (while gathered in the front room, bathed in candlelight!), or the fact that I have a postgraduate degree in Politics, or that I’ve been teaching the subject for over 25 years has something to do with it. Or maybe it’s a combination of all three of these things.

Anyway, whatever the cause, the consequence is that I often get asked by students I teach what I think of recent events in the world of politics. Or I get asked about potential developments. With regards to the latter, my record of predicting future outcomes is one of spectacular failure.

For example;

  • I didn’t predict the size of Labour’s victory in 1997.
  • I said I thought America would elect Gore. Quite comfortably, in fact. There was no way they would vote for Bush.
  • I didn’t see David Cameron becoming Tory leader in 2005.
  • Or, Boris Johnson beating Ken Livingstone for the London Mayorship in 2008.
  • I think I’ve written on this site that I didn’t envisage Scottish independence in my lifetime. I would like to retract that statement.
  • There was no way Donald Trump would secure the nomination for the Republicans during the primaries. Never mind the White House!
  • I didn’t see Jeremy Corbyn coming. But then I didn’t see him avoiding a humiliating defeat after Theresa May called a snap election in 2017. But who knew the then incumbent PM was such a spectacularly bad campaigner?

My impressive string of inaccurate forecasts, however, was broken on Brexit.* This time, despite what the polls were saying, I said I think we’re going to vote to leave. When asked why, I said that I had been in Wetherspoon’s (99p coffee and free refills, by the way) and since voter turnout would be pivotal, I heard customers saying they had voted. By post. Early. And there was a chorus of punters in agreement. If you have never been in a Wetherspoon’s you should know that the demographic is one that can only be categorised as old and of a relatively low level of education, i.e. the group that has forced a new alignment in elections.

So, this brings us to the former President. During his time in office, I was asked if he would face impeachment, and then if he would be removed from office. Obviously, he was impeached twice (being the only President to have suffered this humiliation), but there was no way, I said, that the Republican-controlled Senate would get rid of him. Far more likely, I said, that he would face prosecution on leaving the White House. Given the number of legal challenges he had faced, and was likely to face, it was inevitable that one of them would stick. Most probably, the actions he was accused of that led to the investigation by Robert Mueller relating to the obstruction of justice. At the time, Mueller strongly indicated there was a case to answer, but executive privilege precluded him from recommending the POTUS face charges.

In a brilliant article by Simon Tisdall recently, the journalist gives a tour d’horizon of the multiple acts of potential illegality that Trump could be accused of. He also seeks to answer the question of why when there is so much evidence that could be levelled against Trump, why he is a free man.

It is well worth a read. This is the link here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/may/23/lock-him-up-why-is-repeat-offender-donald-trump-still-a-free-man

*ps I also called Biden!

Mike McCartney

Mike is an experienced A-Level Politics teacher, author and examiner.

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