Another Trumped-Up Political Controversy

The U.S. Department of Justice charged Trump with mishandling classified documents.

Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace.

— Steve’s Marketplace —

Donald Trump is the most prosecuted president in U.S. history. He is also the most persecuted. If you can’t see this, you likely are uninformed or suffer from an acute case of Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS).

Trump remained defiant in the face of the latest – and greatest – installment of persecution. The U.S. Department of Justice charged Trump this week with 37 counts of mishandling classified documents.

“Our country is going to hell and they come after Donald Trump, weaponizing the justice department, weaponizing the FBI,” Trump said. “We can’t let this continue because it’s ripping our country to shreds. We have such big problems and this shouldn’t be one of them – it’s a hoax.”

Trump appears unfazed. He’s probably becoming immune to investigations of him, with eight years of them.

After first learning of the federal indictments last week, Trump played golf, one of his passions. He spoke at two Republican gatherings over the weekend and unexpectedly stopped by a Waffle House restaurant in Columbus, Ga. to much adulation.

He’s certainly not waffling about his convictions or feelings. To Democrat foes pursuing him at every turn, he said: “If they would devote their energies to honesty and integrity, it would be a lot better for our country – they could do a lot of great things.”

Instead, the 45th president spent his 77th birthday mired in another trumped-up political controversy. If he’s convicted on every count, he would face something like 400 years in prison.

While in Miami for his court hearing this week, Trump stopped by the famous Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana. During the brief visit, Cubans expressed valid concerns about communism taking over their new home like it did their old one. 

Cubans, like Venezuelans and Puerto Ricans and Panamanians, can taste communism like cayenne pepper. These are third-world antics, where leaders persecute their political opponents. At least we’re more humane than Russia, where political rivals often disappear, without a trace or question.

Ever-troubling and far-reaching, federal prosecutors contend Trump violated the Espionage Act of 1917. This reveals an underlying motive. If convicted of these charges, Trump could not serve as president again. This is the ultimate goal.

The act was instituted during World War I. As explained on the website: “The Espionage Act broadly sought to crack down on wartime activities considered dangerous or disloyal, including attempts to acquire defense-related information with the intent to harm the United States.”

The charges regarding classified documents may prove challenging. Similar or worse violations were committed by former presidents like Bill Clinton, George Bush Jr. and Barack Obama. 

In addition, top government officials like Hillary Clinton (as secretary of state) and Joe Biden (as a senator) mishandled huge numbers of classified documents. In each case, as clear precedents, nothing happened to the offenders. Until now, in our sudden two-tiered justice system.

Under the Presidential Records Act, presidents have unilateral rights to declassify documents. This protection does not extend to secretaries of state (Clinton) or senators (Biden). 

In response, Republican congressmen and senators must unite against this grave injustice. How many times have you heard references to the U.S. as a third-world country or a banana republic? Other countries are hearing the comparisons also.

Kevin McCarthy, as the Speaker of the House, must call for hearings on the Trump investigation, including the unprecedented raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. In addition, some Republicans are calling for Biden’s impeachment over allegations of taking a $5 million bribe from a Ukrainian oil company.

Sen. Marco Rubio is not holding back. Rubio addressed the charade on Twitter: 

“The DOJ is seeking to jail FOR LIFE not just a former president but the leading opponent of the current president in the 2024 election,” Rubio wrote. “The damage this is already inflicting on our country far outweighs the damage (if any) from what they allege in the indictment.”

In yet another display of national media bias, the Trump indictment garnered 300 minutes of coverage on the three major networks. Meanwhile, the ultra-serious Biden allegations received no coverage. 

You also have to question the timing of the release of the Trump indictments, coinciding with the latest news about the antics of Biden and his son Hunter Biden in Ukraine. A lot of this is orchestrated as the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Trump is an obvious target because he’s the frontrunner in the Republican primary and potential candidate in the presidential race. Yet, with every farcical charge from Alvin Bragg to Merrick Garland, Trump climbs in the polls.

It sure seems like Democrats and their sidekicks in the national media are scrambling, grasping, even gasping. None of it looks good on them. Political persecutions rarely do.


Steve Nicklas is the managing partner of Nicklas Wealth Management in Fernandina Beach. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns also regularly appear in weekly newspapers in Northeast Florida and in Southeast Georgia, and on his website at He has published a book, “All About Money,” of his favorite columns from the past 20 years. The book is available on Amazon. He has also done financial reports for area radio stations and for National Public Radio in Jacksonville. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 904-753-0236.