“Donald Trump has always made fun of procedures”

8:00 p.m., August 13, 2022

In his new essay, Diplomatic stories* (ed. Grasset), which will be published in September, Gérard Araud analyzes the weight of the United States on the world stage and the management of public opinion in democratic societies. He agreed to entrust the JDD with his thoughts on the episode of Mar-a-Lago which took place this week and on the ” war “ that Democrats and Republicans are engaged in less than a hundred days before the midterm elections.

How to explain that Donald Trump left the White House in January 2021 carrying at least thirty boxes of archives?
The Presidential Records Retention Act dates from the Nixon presidency. At the time, the idea was to prevent the president from leaving the White House with important documents in the Watergate investigation. American law is complex, it is a country where 17 intelligence agencies coexist and where lawyers are at the heart of daily and professional life. If Donald Trump left with some of his archives, it is because he has always made fun of the procedures. He considers that he is the president of the people and that this legitimacy goes beyond the rule of law. His entourage defends him by saying that he himself had declassified part of these documents, but he had apparently not informed the competent authorities.

The legal proceedings that have been initiated could last at least two years and we can count on our lawyers to drag things out and appeal.

Isn’t it also because he may have wanted to bring charges against his adversaries?
Donald Trump is right to be paranoid. The American elites have always denied him his legitimacy and they want his skin. On both sides of the spectrum. I even recently heard a notable Republican railing against Trump, whom he compared to Mussolini! Trump and the Democrats are at war. The hatred that exists between this bully and these hysterical elites is unimaginable.

This violation of the law on archives, especially if he had taken “top secret” documents to Florida, could it land him in prison?
Donald Trump knew that when he left office he would have all the Democratic prosecutors in the country on his heels. But in this case, it was a director of the Republican FBI, appointed by him and validated by his former Minister of Justice, also a Republican, who implemented this search warrant. The legal proceedings that have been initiated could last at least two years and we can count on our lawyers to drag things out and appeal. Nothing, in my opinion, to prevent him from running again to return to the White House in 2024.

It is the very basis of populism to appear in the eyes of the people as the number one enemy of the elites

Especially since the Republicans support him in this ordeal?
Yes, since he managed to trumpify the Republican Party. After his supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, even the most recalcitrant went to Canossa to pledge their allegiance. With a few exceptions, all the great barons united behind him in this affair. It is the very basis of populism to appear in the eyes of the people as the number one enemy of the elites. And so, I believe this case boosts his chances of running again and even winning.

* Diplomatic Stories – Lessons from yesterday for today’s world, Grasset, 320 pages, 22 euros. In bookstores September 7, 2022.

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