After Jan. 6 subpoena and pending probes, will Donald Trump finally be undone?

OPINION: A shower of kryptonite is hitting Trump. It's up to every American citizen and the rule of law to stop him.

A video of former President Donald Trump is played during a hearing by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol in the Cannon House Office Building on October 13, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

For years, Donald Trump has acted as if he was a sinister version of Superman — flying above the law, ignoring it with impunity and doing whatever he wants. But now, he’s being hit by a shower of kryptonite.

On Thursday, Trump suffered two blows to his supposed invulnerability. The biggest came from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, deadly riot and insurrection that he incited at the U.S. Capitol in an effort to stay in power despite his election loss to now-President Joe Biden.

Republican and Democratic committee members laid out a damning case against Trump at their hearing, showing that he was like an arsonist pouring gasoline on the Capitol on Jan. 6, lighting it with a blow torch and refusing to do anything for hours to extinguish the inferno.

The committee voted unanimously to subpoena Trump to testify. But it’s a safe bet he will go to court to fight the subpoena, appeal if he loses, and try to drag out the case. If he is forced to testify, it’s virtually certain Trump will plead the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer any questions in order to avoid incriminating himself in any allegedly illegal activity.

Trump “is required to answer for his actions,” said committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat and the longest-serving Black elected official in Mississippi. Thompson also said “Donald Trump knew he lost,” but falsely claimed he won the election, convincing many of his supporters that Biden should not be sworn in as president. 

“The vast weight of evidence presented so far has shown us that the central cause of Jan. 6 was one man, Donald Trump, who many others followed,” said committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. “None of this would have happened without him. He was personally and substantially involved in all of it.” Cheney lost her Republican primary for reelection because of her courageous and principled stand against Trump’s efforts to overturn his election defeat.

In the second blow Thursday to the former president, the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s efforts to have a special master review classified government documents Trump held at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. Trump wanted the review to see if any documents should be kept from investigators conducting a criminal probe of his handling of the material. 

Thursday’s developments were just the latest blows Trump has suffered. 

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the former president for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection and his other efforts to stay in the White House after losing the election, along with his handling of classified documents seized by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago.

FILE – Fulton County Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis poses for a photo in her office in Atlanta, Jan. 4, 2022. Prosecutors investigating whether Donald Trump committed crimes as he sought to overturn his 2020 election defeat in Georgia are running into increasing resistance as they seek to call witnesses to testify before a special grand jury. The latest illustration of that came Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, when lawyers for Kemp filed a motion to quash a subpoena for his testimony, accusing Willis’ office of pursuing his testimony for “improper political purposes.” (AP Photo/Ben Gray, File)

And in Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is investigating Trump’s demand (recorded without his knowledge) that Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger “find 11,780 votes” that didn’t exist to reverse Biden’s election victory in the state. Not to mention, New York Attorney General Letitia James has sued Trump’s real estate business for fraud.

Trump has absurdly attacked James and Willis, who are both Black, as racists who are targeting him because he is white. At a rally in Texas in January, he called the women “radical, vicious, racist prosecutors” and “mentally sick.” This forced Willis to seek FBI protection for the Fulton County Courthouse. 

America has long claimed that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. Unfortunately, this has never been true when it comes to Black people. To cite just one example, far too many Black people suspected of minor crimes, or no crime at all, have been killed by police in recent years, including George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor and many more.

Donald Trump has benefitted from white privilege since the day he was born to a millionaire father, living a life of luxury and never being held accountable for his many allegedly illegal actions, which are too numerous to list. 

It’s long past time that we make the phrase “no one is above the law” a fact and not just a pretty phrase, regardless of a person’s race, wealth, or high-elected office. Donald Trump must be held accountable in a court of law for his actions. Like all Americans, he must be presumed innocent until proven guilty. But he must face justice.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Legacy Sports USA on October 09, 2022 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

And remember, unlike President Richard Nixon, who President Gerald Ford pardoned for his crimes in the Watergate scandal, Trump did not enter a quiet and nonpolitical retirement after leaving the White House. He has hinted broadly that he wants to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

If Trump is the Republican nominee in the next presidential cycle, you can be sure he will claim victory even if he loses the race, and Republican election deniers elected this November will do everything in their power to put him in office, no matter how few votes he receives.

This means the future of American democracy is on the line in the midterm elections in just a few weeks and the outcome of the investigations of Trump. The stakes are incredibly high and they should make every eligible citizen want to cast their vote on Nov. 8 like an aerial fire. 

Unless we make holding Trump accountable for his actions an urgent priority for every American who believes in free and fair elections, the rule of law and our Constitution, this may simply be the last election where Black votes and the votes of all freedom-loving people will matter.

Donna Brazile is an ABC News Contributor, veteran political strategist, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, and the King Endowed Chair in Public Policy at Howard University. She previously served as interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute. She managed the Gore campaign in 2000 and has lectured at more than 225 colleges and universities on race, diversity, women, leadership and restoring civility in politics. Brazile is the author of several books, including the New York Times’ bestseller “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House.” @DonnaBrazile

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