The RNC will require a “loyalty pledge” from candidates who participate in their primary debates; it’s not clear if this promise to support the eventual nominee will apply if he is under investigation for espionage.
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Normally, it takes extremely well-placed sources to find out whether a high-profile person will be indicted. In the case of former President Donald Trump, you just need to follow him on his social media site Truth Social to know what’s what.
For example, shortly after The New York Times reported that Trump’s lawyers had been informed that he was the target of an investigation of his (mis)handling of classified documents, the former president “truthed” this:
No one has told me I’m being indicted, and I shouldn’t be because I’ve done NOTHING wrong, but I have assumed for years that I am a Target of the WEAPONIZED DOJ & FBI, starting with the Russia, Russia, Russia HOAX, the “No Collusion” Mueller Report, Impeachment HOAX #1, Impeachment HOAX #2, the PERFECT Ukraine phone call, and various other SCAMS & WITCH HUNTS. A TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE & ELECTION INTERFERENCE AT A LEVEL NEVER SEEN BEFORE. REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS MUST MAKE THIS THEIR # 1 ISSUE!!!
In light of Trump’s not-so-stellar record when it comes to telling the truth, the first eight words of this rant are probably a dead giveaway that he has been told that he will likely be indicted in the near future.
He later “truthed” some more in all caps and said the case should be dropped.
Of course, it is also possible that his lawyers simply haven’t told him yet because, frankly, that seems like an unenviable task. Or maybe they didn’t present the information to the former president in an easy-to-understand manner.
In any case, chances are that an indictment is coming.
If Trump is lucky, he’ll just be indicted for obstructing justice. However, it is also possible that he will be charged with retention (bad) or dissemination (very bad) of classified documents under the Espionage Act.
If that were to happen, and there are some indications that it might (for example because a classified document that Trump was heard discussing on tape has gone missing), that would raise some very uncomfortable questions for the GOP ahead of its first primary debate.
As WhoWhatWhy reported, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has put in place various eligibility requirements that candidates have to meet if they want to make it onto the debate stage in August.
One of them is a “loyalty pledge” that requires candidates to promise that they will support the eventual nominee. This is one of the reasons why Trump himself likely won’t bother to show up in the first place.
But former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, one of a dozen declared GOP candidates, raises an interesting question about how far that loyalty should go.
Following the news that an indictment is looming, he tweeted: “The GOP should clarify that there is no pledge to support a nominee if they are found guilty of espionage or a serious felony.”
The @GOP should clarify that there is no pledge to support a nominee if they are found guilty of espionage or a serious felony.
Donald Trump is the target of an ongoing criminal investigation and he should step aside & put the good of the country above his candidacy.
— Gov. Asa Hutchinson (@AsaHutchinson) June 8, 2023
While Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who runs a distant second to Trump in the polls, may face his own legal troubles over one of his political stunts, as WhoWhatWhy reported just yesterday, Hutchinson left no doubt as to whom he is referring.
“Donald Trump is the target of an ongoing criminal investigation and he should step aside and put the good of the country above his candidacy,” Hutchinson added.
Obviously, “putting the good of the country ahead of his own” is a non-starter for someone like Trump, but an indictment would put the RNC in a tough spot.
Of course, logically, you can’t expect other candidates to support someone indicted for serious crimes (and possibly convicted of them by the time of the election).
However, in light of the party’s blind allegiance to Trump, it is more likely that anybody uttering the words “Espionage Act” on the debate stage in August will be tased than that the loyalty pledge, which the former president won’t sign or take seriously, will be amended.