Sunday, January 10, 2021
On Friday morning, a Scottish friend informed me that President Trump had sought permission to fly to one of his golf holdings in Scotland on January 19th. Locals reported that for several days prior to the request they spotted a US plane flying over one of the properties, a process engaged before a presidential visit. As one Scottish publication wrote:
"Mr. Trump owns two golf courses in Scotland, and on Tuesday Nicola Sturgeon said the country’s travel ban will apply to Mr. Trump amid speculation he was planning an overseas golf trip during Joe Biden’s inauguration. On Thursday, Scotland’s First Minister said that the scenes in Washington – where the US President’s supporters attempted to prevent the formal approval of incoming President Joe Biden's election win – were 'shocking', but not 'surprising'. The permission to enter was denied under COVID restrictions, but there is also a provision in Scottish law that entry may be denied to anyone deemed a risk to the security of the country. No question that Trump would be banned under the latter if COVID was not rampant.
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, said: “In some senses, Donald Trump’s presidency has been moving towards this moment almost from the moment it started, but that doesn’t make it any less shocking. " Few in the current administration and congress are willing to acknowledge what Ms. Sturgeon did, that the chaos was predictable from Mr. Trump's behavior from his behavior since Mr. Trump began his presidential race.
This request to leave the country remained largely unreported in the US until the last 24 hours. Granted the media had much to report on since Wednesday. What any prosecutor would read into this request to leave the country is a desire to leave US jurisdiction in order to avoid service of process or even arrest. It may be that the President's motivation was to put as much distance between himself and Mr. Biden's inauguration. But if we are to use the measurements as we do when Black defendants look to leave a jurisdiction, then prosecutors must assume that the attempt to leave reflects consciousness of guilt and take appropriate measures such as revoking Mr. Trump's passport at 12:01 PM, January 20th.