‘Trump and his merry band’ have lost: Sam Donaldson makes chilling comparison to Al Capone

Veteran news anchor Sam Donaldson likened former President Trump to gangster Al Capone and predicted the Department of Justice could bring him down not for the Espionage Act.

Donaldson, who served as an anchor for ABC News from 1967 to 2009, joined CNN’s Jim Acosta on “The Newsroom” Sunday to discuss the FBI’s unprecedented raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

“When I heard about it, the fact that the FBI had seized from his safe and other places these documents which should be held someplace else–particularly the top secret ones, which must be held someplace else– It may be a violation of the Espionage Act of 1917,” Donaldson said. “That’s a very serious crime.”


(Video: YouTube)

“I thought of Al Capone,” he stated. “Now, Al Capone was a great big gangster in the 1920s and ’30s. [He] bootlegged millions of gallons of whiskey. That was illegal, but more than that– a lot of credible evidence that he had ordered the murder of many people.”

“But they never brought him to justice on that. But wait a moment!” he continued. “The IRS discovered that Al Capone was cheating on his income taxes, and so they brought him to justice on that. He went to prison, and that’s where he died.”

Even if Attorney General Merrick Garland does not have the evidence to convict Trump of insurrection, says Donaldson, they can bring him down on another charge to “keep this country safe.”

“If the Attorney General cannot bring himself, because of lack of evidence or belief the country is not ready to bring a president on charges of insurrection or obstruction of justice, how about violation of laws which keep this country safe, like the Espionage Act?” Donaldson suggested. “If there’s credible evidence, I think more of the American public would say, ‘Well, yeah, he shouldn’t have done that. Let’s see what the jury of his peers provides for.'”

“I’d like to see it,” he added.

Passed just two months after America formally entered World War I, the Espionage Act “made it a crime for any person to convey information intended to interfere with the U.S. armed forces’ prosecution of the war effort or to promote the success of the country’s enemies,” according to History.com. “Anyone found guilty of such acts would be subject to a fine of $10,000 and a prison sentence of 20 years.”

The following year, the Act was reinforced by the Sedition Act, which “imposed similarly harsh penalties on anyone found guilty of making false statements that interfered with the prosecution of the war; insulting or abusing the U.S. government, the flag, the Constitution or the military; agitating against the production of necessary war materials; or advocating, teaching or defending any of these acts.”

Ironically, History.com states: “Both pieces of legislation were aimed at socialists, pacifists and other anti-war activists during World War I and were used to punishing effect in the years immediately following the war, during a period characterized by the fear of communist influence and communist infiltration into American society that became known as the first Red Scare (a second would occur later, during the 1940s and 1950s, associated largely with Senator Joseph McCarthy).”

Donaldson, however, did call for an investigation into the raid.

“There should be an investigation,” he stated. “The Justice Department and everybody connected, including the FBI, should explain what they did, why they did it, and why it was legal and necessary.”

Assuming, of course, that the raid was totally legit, Donaldson then called anyone who doesn’t believe “the evidence” lost and declared that they must be stopped.

“But assuming that is done, all of these explanation– if we haven’t in the last five years or more heard from Donald J. Trump and the people who believe in him regardless of the evidence, regardless of what anyone else says, regardless of whether their own eyes show them something else,” he stated, “we’re not going to be able to convince them.”

“We’re not going to be able to conclude that, ‘hey, look at the evidence, look at the proof, here,'” he continued. “They’re not going to look at it.”

“And so I think they’re lost and I regret it,” he said, “because they’re American citizens and, in many respects, really good neighbors. But in this respect, we’re not going to allow them to control the country. They’re not going to seize the United States.”

“Donald J. Trump and his merry band really have lost,” Donaldson stated.

“We’re going to have another dip,” he predicted. “Maybe 2024 is the dipping point. But the majority of Americans quite clearly want to preserve the country, the democracy, the ideals, the opportunity for everyone regardless of the color of their skin or way of religious faith, to rise. I think, truly, this glass may be half full at the moment, but it’s filling up and not draining down.”


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Melissa Fine


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