Every detail of how Donald Trump handled US state secrets is known. Only one question remains unanswered: Why did the former president behave this way?
Crime stories always end the same way. The detective punishes the real criminal, and then it emerges from him: it is pride, greed, lust, anger, envy, jealousy – one of the basic emotions that make people criminals. Donald Trump’s crime novel does not conform to this rule, and is not subject to the usual rules when it comes to former US presidents.
Special counsel Jack Smith neatly documents how Trump stole classified files from the White House in a 49-page indictment. Placed in his garden at Mar-a-LagoHow he sorted them out himself, how he hid part of it from his own lawyers.
What is Trump’s purpose?
But Smith leaves a significant gap open: purpose. Smith says there’s no word on why Trump is hoarding state secrets, why he doesn’t want to turn them over to the National Archives, and why he wants his lawyers to lie. The question becomes more pressing when the special counsel accuses Trump of violating anti-espionage laws. Was the former president a spy? Traitor or Whistleblower?
In the charge sheet, hints of motive can be found only between the lines. Trump gave detailed instructions on where to store the boxes from the White House because they were his documents, staffers wrote to each other in text messages. The prosecution also cites a quote from Trump: “I don’t want anybody looking through my boxes. I really don’t.”
However, this does not answer why boxes are so important to Trump. Smith may have investigated the thesis that Trump may have sold government secrets and seized files about his business dealings with seven countries. It was not mentioned in the indictment, and investigators do not appear to have found any evidence of criminal conduct there.
Trump’s worst narcissism
However, footage from his summer home in Bedminster, New Jersey, contains signs of a possible motive: the former US president wanted to make himself important. Former friend and current adversary Chris Christie says the files are a trophy for Trump. “You show Trump a trophy. He says, look what I’ve got here,” Christie told ABC News.
Trump’s penchant for trophies is notorious; Employees describe him as a “pack rat,” a collector’s man. From the walls of his office bearing his name on a New York skyscraper, Trump smiles a hundred times: as the “Playboy” title hero, shaking hands with Ronald Reagan, as a caricature of the “New Yorker” magazine. He offers visitors other treasures, such as a sneaker owned by basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal.
Boasting about intelligence
Trump’s application is not short of examples of bragging rights. He once tried to impress Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak by giving them information about an Israeli spy.
Some suspect a possible motive for losing the presidency: Not only does Trump say the election was stolen from him, he believes it. However, the allegation contradicts this theory. In conversations with visitors to Bedminster, Trump has acknowledged that he is no longer president and should no longer keep the files, appearing to mock the situation.
This leads to another possible motive favored by his followers: that your idol kept secret documents to defend himself against political attacks. Another clue is one of the conversations at Bedminster. Accordingly, Trump showed the audience plans for a military strike against Iran. It was not he who drew up these plans, but his chief of staff, Mark Milley, of whom Trump said: “The paper is the proof of my argument.” It was previously revealed that the general feared an attack on Iran in the final days of his presidency to hang on to the presidency.
Donald Trump can best answer which of these possibilities is more accurate. So far, he has only hinted at his intentions when he claims to have declassified all the files before the end of his term. A combination of different variations is also possible, combined with a sense of indestructibility. He commented that Trump is a “juvenile delinquent” at heart, a “politician”, like one of the bad boys in his school class who would smear mailboxes with “lack of impulse control”.
Even as a businessman, Trump defied all kinds of restrictions and regulations. As president, he did it even more. And he seems certain that the Justice Department won’t dare prosecute him for hoarding classified documents. The FBI did not cover itself with pride, especially when it opened an investigation against him in 2016 on suspicion of illegal cooperation with Russia. Trump may be betting that the Republican presidential front-runner won’t touch him again.
However, that is what is happening now. Trump has been accused of violating anti-espionage laws that make it a crime to possess and store classified documents without ulterior motives. In this thriller, motive plays no role.
Fabian Fellman He has been writing on political issues for over 20 years. Since summer 2021, the political scientist has been reporting as a USA correspondent from Washington, DC.More info@fabian_fellmann