Donald Trump’s style is to cover up for a lifetime of unethical conduct, criminal associations, and, yes, outright crime by relentlessly accusing his opponents of lawbreaking themselves. This is the reason he ran a “lock her up”–themed campaign against Hillary Clinton on the basis of a minor email protocol failure that his own administration has replicated repeatedly. It’s why he has been trying so hard to gin up an investigation of his presumptive 2020 opponent after he got impeached. Flooding the zone with overblown accusations of corruption cheapens the currency and allows his own misconduct to recede into an incomprehensible blur of whataboutism.
Unsurprisingly, Trump is ginning up charges of illegality against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The Speaker’s alleged “crime” is tearing up her printed copy of Trump’s State of the Union address. A few days ago, right-wing blogger Charlie Kirk began claiming on Twitter that Pelosi violated federal law. After this charge circulated on Twitter for a few days, passing muster with such legal experts as Donald Trump Jr., it has now been officially endorsed by President Trump himself:
So first of all, as a non-insane person may have intuited, it is not actually a crime to tear up the printed copy of a speech. Several legal experts have confirmed that Charlie Kirk does not actually know what he is talking about, and the law in question is designed to safeguard certain kinds of documents that very much do not include speech printouts.
There are rules requiring the preservation of documents such as memos to the president, which must be preserved for historical records. Trump in fact violates that law literally almost every day. There are people whose job it is to tape back together the documents that Trump illegally tears up.
So the notion that Democrats would impeach Trump over violating this law if he did it seems to founder on the fact that Trump does violate this law constantly, and not even the most anti-Trump member of Congress has proposed impeaching him over it, because he does so much worse stuff than this all the time.