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We've reached the endgame of Trump's imperial presidency

The Washington Post's report about nuclear secrets at Mar-a-Lago further exposes Trump's attempts to wield presidential power after losing in 2020.


The Washington Post's report on Tuesday that top secret documents were seized from former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate moves us into the MAGA movement’s endgame

The report, which has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, cites people familiar with the FBI's search who say among the documents seized last month at least one discussed "a foreign government’s nuclear-defense readiness."

Every minute Trump evades justice damages the presidency, perhaps irreparably.

Such documents are so sensitive, according to the Post, they were typically kept "under lock and key, almost always in a secure compartmented information facility, with a designated control officer to keep careful tabs on their location." Not, you know, at Trump's tropical "heaven" for spies.

With each new revelation, the story of Trump’s apparent mishandling of government-owned records gets more sinister, the need to prosecute him for any and all crimes he may have committed gets more urgent, and the national security implications for failing to do so grow more severe. 

In spite of Trump-loving Republicans trotting out desperate excuses for their dear leader, we’ve reached a point where there is no earnest reading of the situation that shows him in a positive light.

And much like Dr. Strange in “Avengers: Endgame,” I’ve looked forward in time to view all the possible outcomes of this conflict, and the only one that salvages the country is the prosecution and conviction of Donald Trump. The ultimate test of the imperial presidency. The validity of future presidents, and American democracy as a whole, hinges on it. 

To be clear: Trump’s repeated refusal to hand over the documents he stole would be an issue — and a serious one — if he’d simply taken the White House grocery list. Fundamentally, it’s his refusal to surrender the documents — the country’s documents — that suggests something sinister was afoot: Trump trying to assume presidential powers he did not have. The risk his reported mishandling of top secret nuclear documents posed to each and every American is almost unfathomable — but will need to be sorted out in a far-reaching national security investigation. 

And every minute he evades justice damages the presidency, perhaps irreparably. Because make no mistake: possessing those documents unlawfully, but with impunity, would continue to bolster Trump’s portrayal of himself as a dual president of sorts. 

Just think about the influence he could wield over global affairs with this information he’s alleged to have kept. Of course, we don’t yet know for sure why Trump kept classified documents at his golf resort — but the possibilities are endless and alarming. In the same way people feared Russia might try to wield influence over morally bankrupt Trump, the former president could theoretically wield power over other countries — for financial or political gain — simply by showing them he still had the goods on their nuclear program.

Every day Trump faces zero accountability for his actions, he continues to call the shots. And that’s a fatal situation for American democracy. His goal is simple: to dismantle the semblance of democracy that existed before him and replace it with an imperial presidency. Trump and his loyal followers, with the help of some judicial hacks he appointed during his term, have tried their damnedest. 

Charging him is the only way to end his claims to kingship. We’re in the endgame now.