It is August: another day, another partisan Democrat indictment of Trump, while Americans either cheer, scream, or shrug as they head once more unto the beach, slather on sunblock, and sip a banana republic daquiri.
Emulating the Biden administration’s Department of Justice’s special counsel, Jack Smith, once again a partisan local Democratic prosecutor in a one-party jurisdiction has stretched state laws to indict a former president from their opposing party who is also the leading candidate for its 2024 nomination. As previously demonstrated by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Georgia’s Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis will receive the plaudits and votes of her partisans for her indictment of Mr. Trump and 18 of his 2020 campaign associates. Given the electoral insularity of her position in a Democratically controlled county, the enmity of Republicans and/or MAGA supporters is impotent to unseat her; and, in fact, it is politically beneficial to her, as it burnishes her credentials with Democratic primary voters. (Ironically, this is akin to how these political indictments boost Mr. Trump’s standing in the GOP primary).
The Fulton County, Manhattan, and the federal special counsel’s indictments are politically motivated, even if juries agree in the heavily Democratic jurisdictions of Atlanta, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Per former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy analysis in the New York Post:
Willis, by contrast, is probing serious misconduct – the duplicitous and heavy-handed schemes by which Trump tried to remain in power despite losing the election. She can plausibly maintain that she is investigating Trump based on what he did, not who he is. The question is whether what he did amounts to criminal offenses.
As with the Biden administration’s special counsel, this is where the “creative” prosecuting begins:
In this, [Willis] is running into the same complications that Biden Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith faces in the election-interference charges he has brought against Trump in Washington, DC, federal court. In fact, there is significant overlap in that case and Willis’… The special counsel will have to stretch the law and get favorable court rulings to make the charges stick.
…Unlike Smith, Willis can invoke laws that are specifically designed to deal with election-interference conduct of the kind Trump engaged in. That is not to say she won’t make some heads turn, particularly because she indicted Trump under Georgia’s anti-racketeering law… It sounds like ambitious charging, but it may not be all that much of a reach.
Perhaps, but as McCarthy also notes, District Attorney Willis has difficulty proving the indicted defendants, in fact, conspired to commit a criminal act, as opposed to a purely political one. True, she must still prove the defendants committed criminal acts in furtherance of a specific criminal goal. But she can argue the conspiracy charge and criminal goal first, then move on to proving the underlying individual crimes allegedly committed in furtherance of said criminal aim. In short, she can argue the defendants all agreed to break a law and sought to continue doing so by continuing to break other laws. Of course, she can argue the facilitating crimes first, but that is doubtful – even though she has not specified the alleged conspiracy’s specific criminal aim. Why?
Accusing Trump and his co-defendants of “corrupt practices” within the state’s RICO statute is on par with accusing Mr. Trump and his associates of “colluding” with Putin to steal the 2016 election. “Colluding” has a negative connotation but not a legal sanction attached to it. In the present instance, District Attorney Willis has focused on the general rather than the specific. Given the likely partisan makeup of a Fulton County jury, it will be easier to believe Trump and his fellow defendants had a “corrupt aim.” Bluntly, there exists the distinct likelihood Mr. Trump will be convicted for being Mr. Trump; and his associates will be convicted for supporting him in disputing the election.
This will not prove the RICO charge’s elements, but it will suffice for a partisan jury to convict them of the charge, as well as smoothing the way for them to indict him on the underlying crimes allegedly committed in furtherance of the “conspiracy.” After all, one could reason, if the defendants committed the big crime, they likely committed the smaller ones. Should anyone doubt the partisan nature of the indictments, recent history is replete with the Democrats politicizing justice to advance their own corrupt aims from Russia-gate to Hunter Biden’s attempted plea deal, ad nauseum.
Ultimately, should Mr. Trump win the GOP primary, he and his campaign staff/co-defendants will be hamstrung throughout the 2024 campaign. Moreover, future dissent against election outcomes will be chilled, which is what the Democrats covet as they continue to erode election integrity laws throughout the country. And, of course, it will further the Democrats craven weaponization of government against the Republican-Populist movement. “Ambitious charging,” indeed, by local District Attorney Willis.
Doubtless, the ultimate resolution of these nakedly political prosecutions will not be determined by juries but by federal and state appellate courts. But what of the ultimate arbiter of all – the American people?
As noted, the respective Left and Right partisans will celebrate or condemn this and other indictments of Mr. Trump. But what of the Middle? Certainly, the partisan, political nature of these indictments and their damage to the present and future of equal justice under the law in our constitutional republic cannot be lost upon them?
It isn’t. But in their eyes it is minimized beneath the shadow of Mr. Trump. By the accounts and actions of both friend and foe, Mr. Trump is, shall we say, a “type A” personality. For this, his supporters love him and his opponents loathe him. But those in the middle, who neither love nor loathe him, do not like him. It has twice been proven in the popular vote. In 2016, for independents he was a means to an end to block the Left’s radical agenda, represented in the person of Hillary Clinton. It is why in 2020 the Left ran a Trojan horse, Joe Biden, as a faux “moderate.” In both instances, Mr. Trump lost the popular vote.
Simply, the middle has tired of Mr. Trump, who they believe has outlived any usefulness he may have had. They are tired of his histrionics, petty squabbles, and impulsive behavior, and simply want him to go away. It is not that they condone the Democrats’ partisan indictments of Mr. Trump and his associates. They just don’t particularly care. To them, Mr. Trump is a TV show that jumped the shark, and they have tuned him out.
Yes, Mr. Trump’s supporters will argue that the Democrats would do the same to any GOP nominee. Yes, but that would cause the Democrats enormous difficulty with independent voters, for it would clearly reveal the Democrats’ patent pattern of abusing their power. Why? Because the new target would not be Mr. Trump; thus, independent voters would see it and likely vote accordingly to punish the Democrats for engaging in the naked politicization of justice.
But there is no other GOP frontrunner. So, for the today, Mr. Trump remains not just the target, but the pretext and excuse for the Democrats’ despicable weaponization of the police powers of the state. To paraphrase the old adage, for the Left, “with Trump, all things are possible.”
And these things are not good for anyone.
Should the 2024 GOP nominee be Mr. Trump, he will lose the 2024 election – and not solely because of partisan, political indictments. When that happens, the Democrats’ will have at least four more years to institutionalize their weaponization of government at the federal, state, and local levels against Republican-Populists and all dissenters to the Left’s radical, dangerous, and extreme agenda.
Time will tell. But today remains August: another day our free republic bends and frays in the ebbing rays of a dying summer, and we are nearer the fall.
An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003-2012, and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars; and a Monday co-host of the “John Batchelor Radio Show,” among sundry media appearances.