Donald J. Trump is racking up the historic firsts. No other president had ever been impeached twice. None had been indicted after being in office – not once, twice, or thrice. Now on indictment number four, Mr. Trump is the first to have an official mugshot, be released on bail using a bail bond service, or be assigned an inmate number – his is P01135809, by the way. But he’s also the first person actively running for the highest office in the land to lean into those legal problems – to spin the prosecution as political persecution – and actually stand a good chance of winning.
Trump was booked at Fulton County Jail in Atlanta and then released on a $200,000 bond. Presumably, a trial follows, eventually – but what comes next outside the courtroom? Beyond the booking, what might come out of this Pandora’s Box now that it’s opened? The ramifications of the Peach State prosecution may extend far beyond the case itself – and not just for Trump and his fellow co-defendants.
Presidential Prosecution: Justice or Election Interference?
After leaving the jail, the former president spoke briefly at the airport before taking to the air. “If you challenge an election, you should be able to challenge an election,” he said. “I thought the election was a rigged election, a stolen election, and I should have every right to do that.” He then referenced both Hillary Clinton and Stacey Abrams as folks who denied their own election losses and weren’t prosecuted. “What they’re doing is election interference,” Trump continued. “They’re trying to interfere with an election.”
The former president has presented each of his indictments this way. They’re just trying to take him off the field because a rematch between him and Biden after the disastrous presidency of the latter doesn’t look good for them, he suggests, turning what would be a life-ruining experience for most into a campaign opportunity.
But is he wrong?
Trump has been charged with mishandling classified documents – something the current president is accused of as well, as many others in the past likely were, all without prosecution. He was investigated and is now being prosecuted for inspiring the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol, despite numerous left-wing politicians using far more violently suggestive language in speaking out against Trump and his supporters without consequence. The latest indictment focuses on his challenging the outcome of the election – something numerous others have done in the past free from criminal investigation.
This time, unlike the previous examples, county officials required fingerprinting and a mugshot – which was then distributed to the press. And there’s no reason to assume that the local district attorney who brought these charges, Fani Willis, won’t be watching Trump with an eagle eye to see if he does anything while out on bail that can be presented as a violation of his bond condition that he not “target” co-defendants or witnesses on social media. What better way to censor the candidate than to regulate potential campaign speech?
In hopes of getting a conviction before Election Day, DA Willis is pushing for the Trump trial to begin October 23 – a request Liberty Nation Legal Affairs Editor Scott D. Cosenza, Esq. calls “unrelated to reality, given the breadth and scope of this complicated RICO case with 19 defendants.” The Trump team’s strategy here is essentially the same as with the other indictments: Delay in hopes of winning the election. While the defendant can demand a speedy trial, Trump isn’t – and Willis can’t do it for him. As for her request, “it is not possible and will not happen,” Cosenza assures.
Perhaps the progressives prosecuting Trump really do believe he is guilty of heinous crimes against the American people – it’s a hallmark symptom of Trump Derangement Syndrome, after all. But to say they aren’t throwing everything and the kitchen sink at him to break him politically is to stretch credulity too thin.
Georgia’s Trump Arrest: A Political Pandora’s Box
Trump faces 13 serious criminal charges in Georgia – a case at the state level, meaning he can’t pardon himself from them if he retakes the White House. Being convicted would hardly be a win for the Donald. However, if he does win, convicting him and actually sentencing him becomes an even bigger problem than it already is. Would he have to serve some or all of his second term in state prison? What about the round-the-clock Secret Service protection he’s entitled to even as a former president, let alone a currently serving one?
The candidate himself once said he wears the indictments as a badge of honor – and the polling certainly suggests Republican voters are reacting in the exact opposite way Democrats had hoped. With each indictment, it seems, Trump’s support only grows.
But Donald Trump and his co-defendants aren’t the only ones who must live with the consequences of this latest indictment. DA Fani Willis, who likely thought she’d come out the hero in all of this, now faces a congressional investigation and a push by state lawmakers and the governor to have her removed from office.
The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee opened an investigation into whether her prosecution of Trump is “politically motivated,” and in a letter announcing the probe, Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) asked Willis to turn over certain documents by September 7. “Your indictment and prosecution implicate substantial federal interests, and the circumstances surrounding your actions raise serious concerns about whether they are politically motivated,” Jordan wrote. He said it was “noteworthy” that she had launched a re-election website highlighting her investigation of the former president before the indictment was announced.
Willis faces trouble closer to home, as well. State GOP lawmakers are calling for her to be removed from office using a new law Gov. Kemp signed in May that allows prosecutors to be removed over decisions not to prosecute – or, in this case, to prosecute when they shouldn’t.
Regardless of how a Trump trial goes – assuming it ever comes – or who wins the White House in 2024, the very political landscape of America may have been forever changed. The bombardment of presidents with frivolous impeachments and former presidents with a multitude of criminal charges represents a box that, now open, can never be closed again.
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