A sober look at four indictments

I've read the indictments and it seems that three of the four cases against Trump are pretty weak.

Georgia (election interference) — using tweets to support a RICO case?  Come on.  Plus taking two and a half years to investigate and now pressing for a trial in six months, to interfere with the primaries, seems to be the very definition of election interference.

D.C. (election interference) — if lying politicians can be prosecuted for fraud, as Special Counsel Jack Smith proposes, we'll need many new prisons.  The case impinges on Trump's free speech rights.  Plus, how does Mr. Smith intend to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, Trump's subjective belief that he knew that the fraud claims he was advancing were baseless?

As to these two cases, as I've said since January 6, I'm not about to defend Trump's post-election conduct.  But judgment should be left to voters, not jurors.

New York (Stormy Daniels hush money payment) — this indictment is based on falsifying business records to pay a mistress.  That's normally chargeable as a misdemeanor payable by a fine.  That Alvin Bragg, who campaigned on getting Trump, has brought felony charges, while he fails to prosecute some cases involving violent crime, is ridiculous.  This case should be settled and go away.

Florida (refusing to return documents) — the strongest case.  Trump stepped right into it here.  His lawyers negotiated with the National Archives, DOJ, and others for over a year.  All he had to do was give the documents back.  But it appears as though he did not, then lied about it, then obstructed. 

Here's the overarching problem with the cases.  Prosecutors use their discretion all the time not to prosecute, as we see in cities across the U.S. where "progressive" district attorneys choose not to prosecute violent crime, or offer sweetheart deals.  The DOJ does this as well (Hillary and Hunter). 

Yet in the case of Trump, state and federal prosecutors seem to be going out of their way to bring charges against Trump in venues highly favorable to the prosecutors.  Indeed, many of the counts involve novel, creative, and "unprecedented" legal theories.  This further sows mistrust that we have a two-tier justice system and increases the partisan divide.  Plus there are concerns as to whether Trump can get a fair trial in New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Fulton County, Georgia.

As noted, the one exception to this is the Florida documents case.  While the DOJ could have used its discretion not to prosecute, as they did with Hillary and Hunter, for example, Trump owns this one due to his behavior.  This case, however, also was brought in the one venue that probably favors Trump.

In my view, there is a grand bargain that would resolve this legal pile-up.  Trump agrees not to run for public office again, and in return pleads guilty to a few misdemeanors or low-level felonies, pays some hefty fines, and goes away.  The country can then move on to the serious problems it faces, most notably tackling the national debt, entitlement reform, securing our border, reforming our immigration system to allow for more skilled workers and less unskilled ones, figuring out how to deal with artificial intelligence (which may be an even greater disruption to our lives than the internet), and how to confront China. 

All this is probably just wishful thinking on my part.  The hatred of Trump by the left may prevent prosecutors from dismissing some or all the cases in exchange for Trump not running.  Plus Trump hates to look like a loser, which is how dropping his candidacy may be perceived.

Instead, these indictments may result in Trump gaining more support.  If the goal of the prosecutors is to interfere in the Republican primaries to advance Trump to the general election, they may come to see they played with fire, and instead of burning Trump instead caught fire themselves.  All Trump has to do is flip 44,000 votes in three states in 2024 to regain the presidency.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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