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Opinion | Trump deserves to be indicted, just ask an Alabama politician

A few years ago, some of the same people excusing Trump’s recent indictment were celebrating Gov. Robert Bentley’s resignation for similar crimes.

Former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.
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A former president is set to be indicted this week. 

It’s weird to type that sentence and have it feel so expected. Because, let’s be honest, the fact that Donald Trump has committed various crimes over a lifetime of thumbing his nose at any law, rule or regulation that inconvenienced him was never, ever in doubt. The only question was whether anyone would hold him accountable for the crimes. 

Finally, some people have. 

That’s right, I said “people.” Because, despite what you might have heard on your favorite TV “news” network or read on your weird aunt’s Facebook posts, the “Soros-backed, Manhattan DA” didn’t indict a soul. (By the way, this Soros stuff … it’s antisemetic. We all know what you’re doing. And it’s gross.) 

A grand jury of average American citizens sat in a room, heard testimony under oath, reviewed evidence and reportedly determined that there was enough evidence to suggest that Trump likely violated New York state laws. 

Trump’s crimes (allegedly) stem from his payment to a porn star, Stormy Daniels, with whom Trump was alleged to have an affair. Basically, Trump is accused of paying $130,000, through his former attorney, Michael Cohen, to keep quiet the fact that he had sex with an adult film star just weeks after his third wife gave birth to his youngest child. 

This fact has drawn outrage from the conservative Christian crowd. 

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No, not the part about the adultery and hush money. They part about Trump finally facing consequences for illegal, immoral and reprehensible behavior. 

Nowhere was that more evident than in Alabama, where dozens of Republican state lawmakers expressed their outrage over Trump’s “political prosecution.” 

Sen. Tommy Tuberville called it a “witch hunt.” Rep. Barry Moore, invoking Soros, called it a “dark day in American history.” Rep. Dale Strong also said it was a “witch hunt” and blamed the whole ordeal on “New York liberals.” Rep. Gary Palmer called it a “political assassination.” Rep. Robert Aderholt said it was “a stunt.” 

Now, mind you, not a single one of these guys actually cares about the facts of the case. Like, you know, that Cohen has already pleaded guilty to his role in this crime and provided clear evidence to the government that these acts occurred. Or that mislabeling the reimbursement to Cohen as “legal fees,” which the Trump organization apparently did, would constitute a crime. 

It doesn’t matter if you think it’s not that serious of a crime. It doesn’t matter if you think the whole thing is overblown. A crime is a crime and no one is above the law. 

You know who I heard say that? 

Some of these same Alabama lawmakers. 

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Only … they weren’t talking about Trump. They were talking about former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley back in 2016.

Remember ol’ Robert “Mr. Burns” Bentley and the world’s weirdest, ickiest extramarital affair? Remember those audio recordings about breasts? Remember our governor getting busted by his elderly wife because he, like the rest of the world, didn’t understand how the Cloud works?

As embarrassing/hilarious as all that was, Bentley didn’t get booted from office because he had an affair. Yes, that was part of the outrage and one reason several Republicans wanted to bring articles of impeachment against him – sweet Lord, how times have changed within that party – but it was not the reason Bentley ultimately resigned. 

Instead, much like Trump, Bentley faced actual criminal charges for misspending campaign money (on his alleged mistress’s legal expenses) and using taxpayer funds to hide the affair. Bentley originally faced four felony charges. He resigned after pleading to two misdemeanors. 

Gary Palmer called it “the right thing to do,” for Bentley to resign, because the governor had become “a distraction.” Barry Moore was one of the original lawmakers to sign onto the articles of impeachment, saying at the time that he hoped Bentley would “show remorse” and “do the right thing” and resign. Aderholt said Bentley “made the right decision” to resign.  

Striking, isn’t it? 

I mean, these were all Republicans speaking about charges leveled against another Republican. And it was less than seven years ago. 

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Watching what this cult-like obsession with Trump has done to so many people is a strange combination of infuriating, sad and scary. Because it has proven, time and again, that there is no hypocrisy they won’t commit, no embarrassment they won’t endure, no crime they won’t overlook, no moral failing that they won’t excuse away. 

Not in this post-Trump world, where lies told with conviction matter more than truth. Where political allegiance matters more than all else. Where there are few, if any, consequences for legal or personal shortcomings, so long as you play for the appropriate political team. 

I honestly don’t know how we come back from where we are. I don’t know how to deal with people who care so little for facts and truth – and who believe absolute hogwash. 

But I think one way is that we prosecute the guilty. No matter the rants and jeering from the sycophants. We make sure the guilty continue to pay for their crimes, that we at least pretend that certain people aren’t above the law. 

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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