By Victor Davis Hanson
We should dispense with the tired narrative that four conscientious state and federal prosecutors—independently and without contact with the Biden White House or the radical Democrats in Congress—all came to the same disinterested conclusions that Donald Trump should be indicted for various crimes and put on trial during the campaign season of 2024.
The prosecutors began accelerating their indictments only once Trump started to lead incumbent Joe Biden by sizable margins in head-to-head polls. Moreover, had Trump not run for the presidency, or had he been of the same party as most of the four prosecutors, he would have never been indicted by any of them.
Yet now they are in a doom loop of discovering that the more they seek to rush to judgment before the election and gag Trump from speaking publicly about these star-chamber proceedings, the more he rises in the polls.
In truth, each succeeding cycle of corrupt leftwing lawfare that ends in failure—the Russian collusion hoax, the weaponized first impeachment, trying ex-president Trump in the Senate as a private citizen, the laptop disinformation set-up, the Alfa bank ping caper, the pathetic attempt to erase Trump from state ballots, and the unfolding Fani Willis moral debacle—does not return things to zero.
Rather, they serve as force multipliers for each other. Each overreach geometrically increases the dangers to democracy, ever more turns the public off, and ironically cascades sympathy and poll numbers for the very target of their paranoias.
Some of the prosecutors have colluded with White House lawyers and congressional liaisons. Some had run for office, offering campaign promises to get Trump convicted for something or other.
Now, after years of delays and deadends, all four are rushing to synchronize their trial dates to ensure that the front-running Trump is on the docket daily and not out on the 2024 campaign trail.
Do we recall when leftist legal eagles claimed that of all the iffy Trump indictments, Georgia prosecutor Fani Willis had the best case against Trump?
The phone call, we were told, was proof of “election interference.” It was Willis who got the first Trump “mug shot.” It was Willis, we were assured, who got Trump with the goods on tape, begging election officials to “find” the requisite missing votes that would prove his victory (note that he did not say “invent” the votes but to look for a supposedly existing trove of them).
And now Willis’s signature case is in shambles.
We learn, allegedly, that 1) Willis hired her stealth boyfriend Nathan Wade as a special counsel, the day before he filed for divorce (whose records were then mysteriously sealed by the court); 2) that Wade so far has received over $650,000 as special counsel, reportedly including a miraculous ability to charge for 24 hours of continuous legal service in a single day; 3) that Willis and Wade allegedly have used her greenlighted windfall to him to go on a number of pricey junkets and cruises; 4) that to try an ex-president and the leading candidate in the 2024 presidential election, Willis picked Wade who had never tried a single felony case and was previously a “personal injury/accident” lawyer; 5) that the supposedly apolitical Willis had consulted with the January 6 partisan congressional special committee, while Wade had met for marathon meetings with the Biden White House legal counsel (and apparently billed Georgia taxpayers for receiving such federal tutorials).
The legal community’s initial dismissal of this sordid prosecutor’s office is reminiscent of the immediate efforts to downplay Claudine Gay’s plagiarism. But the charade will eventually end the same way, in this case with the resignation and likely indictment of the prosecutor, along with her boyfriend, who concocted quite a scheme at the expense of the taxpayers. Both have made a mockery of their indictment of an ex-president and, if the allegations are true, will be disbarred and prosecuted.
The other three indictments are even weaker. Alvin Bragg claims that Donald Trump’s efforts a near decade ago to enact nondisclosure agreements and payments to remain silent about embarrassing behavior constituted “campaign finance violations.”
If so, what then defines campaign violations when Ms. Clinton brazenly destroyed nearly 30,000 subpoenaed campaign-era emails, ordered subpoenaed communication devices smashed, illegally hired a foreign national to find dirt on a campaign rival, and used three paywalls to hide her hush payments to British subject Steele to concoct a smear dossier—with help from Russian sources—to destroy her 2016 rival?
Letitia James, apparently for the first time in New York history, believes a bank was somehow wronged when its seasoned auditors viewed Trump’s assets, approved a loan to him, profited from his timely payments of interest and principles, and lodged no complaints against Trump or his company.
James apparently believes that Donald Trump is the first and most egregious real estate baron in New York history who inflated the value of his holdings. Her indictments thus supposedly have nothing to do with a left-wing political activist who ran for attorney general on promises to get Trump.
As far as Jack Smith, he supposedly was to be focused on Trump’s removal of classified presidential files to an insecure location at his Mar-a-Lago home and Trump’s “insurrectionary” actions on January 6. But he seems way beyond that now and is trying to put a gag order on the presidential frontrunner and to ensure Trump is in court during the 2024 campaign—challenging the very administration that appointed Smith in the first place.
In truth, Trump was the first ex-president in history to be indicted for a dispute with archivists over the status and security of removed classified files. Such disagreements were historically adjudicated bureaucratically rather than criminally, and certainly not with performance-art FBI swat raids into an ex-presidential residence.
Moreover, true insurrectionists do not instruct protestors to assemble peacefully and patriotically. Insurrectionists themselves do not try to overthrow governments while unarmed and accompanied by bare-chested buffoons with cow horns and slow-moving septuagenarians draped in American flags. And during an “insurrection,” unarmed “rebels” are usually not invited into the government quarters by supposed government doormen, among them perhaps 150-200 FBI informants. They are usually not shot and killed for the crime of entering a broken window while unarmed. And governments need not lie about the violence of insurrectionaries if they are truly insurrectionists.
Jack Smith’s problem—aside from his similar previous effort as special counsel to bankrupt and destroy the life and career of former Virginia governor Bob McDonald, a conviction overturned 9-0 by the Supreme Court—is that his indictments are so asymmetrical as to be surreal.
If the Department of Justice really wishes to prosecute insurrection, then it should concentrate on 120 days of arson, looting, killing, and violent protests that destroyed $2 billion in property, led to over 35 deaths, injured 1,500 law enforcement officers, and saw a federal courthouse, a police precinct, and a historic church torched by protestors, months of violent chaos planned and orchestrated by Antifa and Black Lives Matter, and enabled by leftwing inert mayors and governors.
The future Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, sought to organize bail for violent rioters. She boasted on television that the protests would not stop, should not stop, and would continue beyond the 2020 elections. Could she have at least suggested to the rioters to protest “peacefully and patriotically?” And just last week, President Biden praised that months-long violent summer of looting, violence, arson, and destruction, calling it “the historic movement for justice in the summer of 2020.”
Or Smith could investigate the well-orchestrated and increasingly violent pro-Hamas rallies. These are “insurrections” that have stormed the California legislature, occupied the Capitol rotunda, defaced and defiled iconic federal monuments and cemeteries, shut down key bridges and freeways, attacked law enforcement, and led to violence and assaults.
If Trump is guilty of removing files that he had the statutory right as president to formally declassify, then what was senator and subsequent Vice President Joe Biden guilty of when he stealthily and unlawfully removed hundreds of files, kept the removals secret (until his administration went after Trump for the same offense), and sloppily stored them in his insecure garage?
At each juncture of these extra-legal efforts, past precedents, former customs, and accepted traditions are being destroyed by the Left, whose endless miscarriages of justice are the real threats to constitutional government. And the more impotent these serial and unending gambits become, the more strident and desperate they appear.
The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal Florid