Archived Opinion

We can't normalize Trump’s criminality

We can't normalize Trump’s criminality

To the Editor:

Every American should be troubled, attentive and very concerned about the mishandling of classified documents by the former president discovered by the FBI during their lawful investigation at Trump’s resort in Florida. 

Politics aside, the slow but steady erosion of respect for state secrets and the uneven prosecution of those who willfully violate long-standing laws governing security of classified material — in particular, the coddling of the powerful and the harsh punishment of subordinates — creates the inevitable extension of our seriously broken system.

In 2003, on two separate occasions, Samuel (Sandy) Berger entered the National Archives in Washington, D.C,. and stole sensitive government documents, stuffing them into his socks and pants.

Two years later, after he left his job as President Bill Clinton’s national security advisor, Berger pleaded guilty to the theft. He was fined $50,000, sentenced to three years probation, 100 hours of community service and denied a government security clearance for three years.

In 2016, a U.S. Navy sailor pleaded guilty to unauthorized use of sensitive information for taking selfies inside a nuclear submarine. The sailor, Kristian Saucier, was sentenced to one year in prison, then home confinement with an ankle bracelet and three years of supervision.

The Berger and Navy sailor examples were violations of the laws forbidding the possession or illegal use of security secrets. In Berger’s case, he was preparing for congressional testimony. In the sailor’s case, he was excited to be on a nuclear submarine and forgot his duty.

In January 2021 — just hours before Joe Biden was sworn in as president — Donald Trump shipped a dozen boxes of classified government documents to Mar-a-Lago. These boxes were then stored in an unsecured basement room allowing Trump aides to access them freely (it’s on videotape). These documents were clearly labeled “Top Secret” (among other terms), some so sensitive that protocols require them to be read, but not removed from, secure locations like the White House Situation Room.

In their search, the FBI listed documents relating to national security, the President of France, even nuclear matters. Obviously, there is no legitimate reason to have this kind of material in one’s home.

Donald Trump has always considered himself to be above the law and apparently thought he could take whatever he wanted after he lost the election, lie to the FBI about it, and not be held accountable. The reality is, the truth is, American citizens have gone to prison for a lot less.

The former president is renowned for his absolute disregard for the rules of law, but this inconvenient fact seems to bother his disciples, including the majority of the Republican Party, not at all. That does not speak well for the men and women who have made a clear and purposeful choice to violate their oath of office, emulating a man who willfully placed this nation (the nation he too was sworn to protect) in extreme danger.

The battle for the soul of the Republican Party is over. The challenges that will determine America’s future, from this point on, continue unremittingly. Trump proved beyond all reasonable doubt how ill-prepared America’s institutions were to deal with an unapologetic authoritarian who, throughout his entire adult life, has believed rules that apply to the rest of us do not pertain to him.

We must not, for any reason or perceived circumstance, out of fear, allow the Republican Party (or anyone) to normalize his criminality.

David L. Snell


Leave a comment


  • Mr Snell,
    I don't think you will see these commits on here but if you do I would like to see your answer to a question I have please. If anyone else on here can answer it I would like to see your answer also.
    Why is it only about Trump and the Republican party?
    What did you have to say when Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party were doing the same thing?

    posted by Country Nugget

    Monday, 09/19/2022

  • The trump cult is a big experiment to see what nonsense people are willing to believe.

    posted by Mike Goodman

    Monday, 09/19/2022

  • I am a lifetime Republican & so fed up with this ex dictator , criminal goon, insurrectionist I have donated to the Republican Accountability Project. It is for honest, Christian, Repubs to stand up to the fake Christian hypocrite Trump goons who are as criminal minded as he is.

    posted by Don King

    Saturday, 09/17/2022

  • I am a lifetime Republican & so fed up with this ex dictator , criminal goon, insurrectionist I have donated to the Republican Accountability Project. It is for honest, Christian, Repubs to stand up to the fake Christian hypocrite Trump goons who are as criminal minded as he is.

    posted by Don King

    Saturday, 09/17/2022

  • Excellent letter, Mr. Snell. Thank you.

    posted by Chuck

    Friday, 09/16/2022

  • Mr. Snell is another like Mr. Jones who can't engage their brain. Mr. Trump's papers were not classified and had been declassified long ago when he had plenary authority to do so. The entire things is just grand for Mr. Snell, as like the typical leftist he can't stand the actual rule of law and support corruption as long as it is in his political favor.

    Rotsa Ruck getting a conviction of Trump. The case has already fallen apart and the real motive for the illegal search warrant was to grab a bunch of newspaper and magazine articles. To "normalize Trump's criminality" would require there be criminality in the first place. If you want criminality, go look at the Democrat Party. You will find a belly full of it, but that's OK because people like Mr. Snell want that criminality because it yields things he supports.

    What worries me, and worries anyone with two brain cells to rub together is the casual way the left lies as they do. Jan 6 was nothing as they claim, but antifa and BLM. The left will regret the day they succeed in destroying rule of law. Chaos does not treat such people well at all. The left had better wake up.

    posted by Quartermaster

    Thursday, 09/15/2022

  • The behavior, and the attitude that led to it, as was seen on Jan 6 is normalized should have every American worried. But, alas, like parents that rationalize the poor behavior of a child, a good portion of America prefers to turn its head. Instead of continuous improvement, looking backward has taken hold. America as we have known it, with all its flaws, RIP.

    posted by R Morrow

    Thursday, 09/15/2022

  • Oh, and what say you about Hillary Clintons criminal acts - that were never investigated? Deleting over
    30,000 emails, destroying Blackberry phones, having an illegal server in her basement? It seems she was the one that normalized this type of behavior to begin with. But since it's the Democratic Party, that OK. What a crock.

    posted by A Herzog

    Wednesday, 09/14/2022

  • Trump as Commander in Chief, has the authority to declassify any document he desires. By taking such documents it has been deemed declassified.
    As of today, he has not been charged with any crime and I doubt he will. At most it can be a civil violation by taking documents that should have gone to the National Archives.

    posted by Brian A

    Wednesday, 09/14/2022

  • Sorry Mr. Snell, as much as you hope and desire, neither you nor the corrupt FBI and Justice Department can stop Trump from running for re-election. Its inevitable.

    posted by Lucille Josephs

    Wednesday, 09/14/2022

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