In a moment that made many of us sit up and pay attention, Claire McCaskill, a former United States Senator from Missouri, made a compelling argument during a recent MSNBC appearance. She advocated for the live broadcast of former President Donald Trump’s impending criminal trials. Yes, you read that right. Trials, plural.
Already indicted in New York for hush-money payoffs and in Florida for handling classified documents, Trump could soon face additional charges in Georgia (for attempting to overturn the 2020 election) and Washington DC (for January 6th events). And the American public, according to McCaskill, deserves a front-row seat to this judicial reckoning.
Think about it. This is a man who, in McCaskill’s words, “lies like other people brush their teeth.” He’s spun a narrative where he is the victim and martyr, and a hard-core segment of Americans believe him. McCaskill urges for the same level of transparency we witnessed during the 1990s trial of OJ Simpson. The entire nation watched that trial unfold, absorbing the evidence and understanding the implications. We need that same level of national visibility now.
McCaskill admits that her live broadcast proposal might not sit well with Trump’s defense team. Trump’s usual courtroom theatrics, his barrage of lies, his skewed biases, his outlandish conspiracy theories – none of these will be tolerated in a courtroom setting. There, only credible evidence under the law can be presented, making this a potential nightmare for Trump’s lawyers.
What’s more, McCaskill takes issue with a 1972 decision by the Judicial Conference of the United States that prohibits the public viewing of federal proceedings. In our current age of information and transparency, McCaskill questions, how can the federal government deny us access to a courtroom that’s supposed to be a matter of public record. It’s high time, she insists, that all courtrooms open up, allowing the public to witness real evidence, real facts, being presented to a jury.
In essence, McCaskill is championing radical transparency for the sake of justice. In doing so, she is challenging us to consider what we accept as truth and how we, as engaged citizens, can hold our leaders accountable. It’s a call to break down the walls of our courtrooms and let the light of public scrutiny in. And given the high-stakes legal drama that is about to unfold, it’s a proposition worth serious consideration.