The Battle Begins: Trump’s Trial Tests American Justice

Monday, April 15, 2024, is not only Tax Day in the United States.  It is also the day that this country will take another fateful step towards banana republic-like tyranny.  For it is the day that New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg—or, to give him his full title, “Soros-funded District Attorney Alvin Bragg”—will begin his 34-count felony trial against Donald Trump.

Exactly what is the presumptive Republican nominee for president charged with by the Biden Department of Justice?  Paying Stormy Daniels—or to give her the invariable epithet, “porn star Stormy Daniels” (think “swift-footed Achilles,” “gray-eyed Athena”)—to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter in 2006 (which Trump has consistently denied).

But is paying someone to sign a non-disclosure agreement a crime?  No.  Then what’s going on here?  As always seems to be the case when the subject is the Byzantine world of Donald Trump’s legal woes, it’s complicated.  One of the best brief summaries I have seen was in an editorial in The Wall Street Journal this weekend. “The facts,” the Journal writers explain, “are these”:

Ms. Daniels has said that in 2006 she and Mr. Trump had one, er, intimate encounter. A decade later, as the 2016 election neared, Mr. Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen paid Ms. Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet. A nondisclosure agreement isn’t illegal. Mr. Bragg’s complaint is about the paperwork. Mr. Cohen was reimbursed through 2017 via a monthly retainer “disguised as a payment for legal services,” the DA said. He padded his indictment by separately charging each invoice, check and ledger entry to get 34 counts.

Falsifying business records in New York can be a misdemeanor, but the statute of limitations on that has expired. Mr. Bragg therefore must charge felonies, which under New York law means showing that Mr. Trump cooked the books with “intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof.”

Even that requires special dispensation. The 2017 payments are outside the five-year felony window, but state judge Juan Merchan ruled that Mr. Bragg enjoys an extra year of leeway after emergency COVID-19 executive orders stopped the clock on legal cases.

Oh dear.  In a non-Banana Republic, the law works by uncovering a crime and then prosecuting those guilty of the crime.  In a certified Banana Republic, the regime finds someone it dislikes and then calls out the legal bloodhounds to discover or, if need be, to manufacture a crime as a pretext to take out the undesirable person.  The latter is what is happening here, which is why the WSJ began its editorial by saying that “it’s a trial that shouldn’t happen in a case Mr. Bragg shouldn’t have brought.”

It is worth noting that this is not a partisan issue. It is an issue of fundamental fairness and the impartial application of the law. National Review’s Andrew McCarthy is a staunch critic of Donald Trump.  But he is under no illusions about what Alvin Bragg is attempting to do in his prosecution of Trump. “He turns an uncharged misdemeanor into 34 felonies,”  McCarthy said recently, “while when dealing with violent crime in Manhattan, he turns felonies into misdemeanors.” Similarly, The Wall Street Journal is not an enthusiastic supporter of Donald Trump.  But it is an enthusiastic supporter of the rule of law, which is why it is officially appalled by what is happening in what can only be called a show trial. “Now the country is on the brink of an extraordinary moment, as Mr. Bragg uses a weak and untested legal premise to put the other party’s presidential nominee on trial during the 2024 campaign.”

Those are my italics, but Biden DOJ’s malfeasance.  And don’t get me started on Judge Merchan.

You will note that I used the term “show trial” above.  Was that just hyperbolic rhetoric?  After all, a “show trial” was the sort of thing you had in Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union under Stalin.  “Show me the man, and I will find you the crime,” said Lavrentiy Beria, Stalin’s brutal head of the NKVD. That could never happen in the United States, right?  Merrick Garland, unlike Beria, is not organizing large-scale genocidal massacres. But I think the commentator Mark Levin is correct when he describes Trump’s trial as “one of the most horrendous events in American legal history: a Stalinist-like trial… that should never have seen the light of day.”

Levin is simply stating the facts when he observes that Donald Trump is “the most persecuted man in America — legally and politically.”

This has happened—it continues to happen—because Trump is an existential threat to the establishment. He was not supposed to be elected in 2016. None of the Guardians of the Regime believed it was possible that he would win.  The fix was in.  The passes were guarded. The media primed.  But despite everything Trump somehow did win. And then the new narrative emerged.  Trump’s very victory was his crime.  Being elected was his assault on “Our Democracy™.” The stain had to be removed. The insult redressed. Thus the Russia Collusion fabrication. Thus the groundless impeachments. Now the legal harassment and efforts to bankrupt and imprison the person who in effect is the leader of the opposition party. Levin offers an incomplete but sobering inventory of how the deep state conducted its vendetta against the man they could not abide:

unconstitutional impeachments, relentless Democrat Party-media attacks, attempts to bankrupt him and destroy his businesses with a preposterous statute, the criminalization of the law by Democrat prosecutors in four cases brought in four different jurisdictions and totaling 91 cooked up charges, the use of a criminal warrant and an FBI SWAT team to search his home, the denial of 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th amendment rights denying him free speech, due process, equal protection, attorney-client privilege, competent representation, imposing hugely excessive fines and denying him a jury trial, judges cutting corners and rushing cases before the election, judges with obvious conflicts of interest overseeing cases and the effective suspension of judicial rules of professional conduct, the leaking of his tax returns, multiple efforts to remove him from state presidential ballots, denying him presidential immunity post-presidency, denying him executive privilege protection, the use of grand juries in overwhelmingly hostile cities, bar and criminal attacks on his lawyers, etc.

Bottom line: Trump represents an intolerable affront to the establishment.  They hate him.

But they also hate you.  Trump famously remarked that “In reality they’re not after me, they’re after you. I’m just in the way.” Levin expands on this observation.  “Trump must be destroyed,” he writes, “because you must be dispirited and acquiesce to one-party rule and the growing police state power of a centralized DC ruling class. By terrorizing Trump they hope to terrorize you.”

That is the thing to keep in mind.  By going after Donald Trump and putting him outside the protection of the law in order to neutralize him politically, the regime is simultaneously undermining your rights and legal protections.  That is the deeper, auxiliary, reason that Monday’s trial marks such a gloomy turning point in the devolution of the American republic into socialist tyranny.

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