haldar12_GIORGIO VIERAAFP via Getty Images_mar-a-lago GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images

The GOP Goes Rogue

The Republican Party’s wholesale embrace of Donald Trump, despite his brazen lawbreaking, is not merely symptomatic of the current political moment. Rather, it is the product of an intellectual and legal movement that has been shaping conservative thinking for decades.

CAMBRIDGE – In 2017, just when the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus closed after almost 150 years, the political extravaganza of Donald Trump’s presidency became the “Greatest Show on Earth” – or at least the hardest to ignore. And now the criminal fallout of Trump’s political high-wire act has become the new must-see spectacle.

The most recent episode came on August 8, when the FBI executed a search warrant of the former president’s 58-bedroom “winter palace,” Mar-a-Lago. There they found more than 20 boxes of documents – 11 containing files classified as “top secret” – that should have been turned over to the National Archives. The evidence suggests that Trump may have violated not just the Presidential Records Act but also the Espionage Act.

With Trump claiming that his home is “under siege,” his Republican Party minions immediately leapt to his defense, arguing that the raid was politically motivated. But Trump was subpoenaed for the additional documents – some of which are rumored to pertain to nuclear weapons – this spring, and one of his lawyers claimed, in writing, that all classified documents had been returned. After months of trying to secure the Trump team’s cooperation in returning the documents, the Department of Justice was forced to resort to a more direct method.

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