Outrage has steadily lost its power in American politics throughout the past few years. Among Donald Trump’s many political weapons, his ability to brazen his way through scandals that would derail other politicians has long been perhaps his strongest asset. His signature move is to displace talk of one mind-blowing violation by committing yet another mind-blowing violation—a habit that has now produced numerous investigations of him and once again led the former President to dominate our daily discourse. It’s easy to forget about the last controversy because, with Trump, you’re always onto the next one.
Even now, nearly two years after he left office, this familiar debilitating dynamic applies. There are currently multiple serious, ongoing inquiries into Trump and his associated entities, ranging from investigations of the former President’s business to his role in fomenting the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol. Trump has so many legal problems that he is employing no fewer than nineteen lawyers to represent him, Politico found—a full law firm’s worth of legal D-listers. There’s the Georgia probe into his efforts to pressure state election officials not to certify Joe Biden’s victory, and, as last month’s F.B.I. search of Mar-a-Lago made public so dramatically, a Justice Department criminal investigation of his refusal to turn over reams of classified information after he left the White House. Which one to focus on?
This past Tuesday, the Washington Post revealed that Trump apparently left office with classified information about another country’s nuclear secrets and kept it at his Mar-a-Lago country club in an unsecured storeroom. Some of the classified documents that the F.B.I. found there were so secret that even many senior national-security officials were not cleared to have access to them, the Post reported. This, surely, is an outrage worth dwelling on. Yet, by Thursday, the Trump news cycle had moved on to reports of a new wave of federal grand-jury subpoenas into Trump’s fund-raising operation after the 2020 election, in which his Save America PAC raised more than a hundred million dollars by spreading baseless lies about widespread voter fraud. [Continue reading…]