As everyone knows by now, a Manhattan grand jury actually returned a true bill of indictment against President Donald Trump. This has never happened before in the history of the United States – though it happens often in Latin America. But the question now arises: is Donald Trump the man under indictment in the court that really matters? Or has the Democratic Party indicted itself?
Details of the Donald Trump indictment
One can read the initial details here. In addition to the initial news reports, New York County District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg shared this on Twitter:
Though the indictment is under seal – and Bragg has said nothing to contradict that – rumors are flying. CNN quotes two “Messrs. SCTTC”1 as saying the indictment charges Donald Trump with 34 counts of white-collar fraud. The charges arise out of the alleged affair between Donald Trump and the actress by the stage name “Stormy Daniels.” Those same “Messrs. SCTTC” expect Trump to appear before the New York State Supreme Court on Tuesday (April 4) for arraignment. (What other States call Superior Court, New York State calls a Supreme Court. Their highest court in the State is the Court of Appeal.)
New York’s Finest had orders today to report for duty in full uniform “as a precautionary measure.” Bragg has also accused Republicans of interfering with his office – in reaction to demands from three Republican House chairmen that he testify before their respective committees.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) said this about the indictment and any possible extradition:
He did not mention Trump by name – as Laura Loomer and many others have pointed out. But he left little doubt about which case he was talking about.
Republican officeholders have reacted in outrage:
Crossing the Rubicon
Allusions to Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon abound. The comparison might be more apt than many know, given the poor state of classical education.
In the Senate of Rome, Junior Consul Lucius Cornelius Lentulus Crus introduced a national-emergency declaration (Senatus consultum de re publica defendenda, or Senatus consultum ultimum) naming the power of intercession or “veto” by Rome’s tribunes of the plebs as the cause of the emergency. He did this to pave the way for a direct indictment of Julius Caesar by the Senate. Mark Antony, having just taken office as a tribune of the plebs, protested. Lentulus Crus actually ordered his official escorts to throw Antony out of the Senate meeting place. Whereupon he, and a fellow tribune, galloped up the Via Flaminia and also sent a message to Caesar. The message reached Caesar and the Thirteenth Legion outside their camp near Ravenna. When Caesar got the message, he mounted his war charger and led the Thirteenth across the Rubicon. The first of Rome’s Civil Wars had begun.
No one seriously expects Donald Trump to do anything so dramatic. In fact, news came late yesterday afternoon that Trump’s attorneys have already worked out details for his surrender and arraignment.
But the consensus of many commentators is that the Democratic Party has now provoked Trump as no one has ever provoked a ranking statesman since Lentulus Crus with his emergency declaration that so provoked Caesar.
A foolish decision
Alan Dershowitz, a professor of law, has never sympathized with any part of the Donald Trump program. But he still retains a deep and abiding respect for the rule of law. Shortly after the indictment, he called the indictment a
foolish, foolish decision, which will cause the case to be thrown out, I think, on statute of limitations grounds.
The problem: Bragg maintains he could not indict Donald Trump within the statute of limitations because Trump was not a resident of New York. But now Bragg has obtained an indictment while Trump was still out-of-State. That act alone invalidates any rationale for extending the statute of limitations. Of course, much depends on what else the indictment, still under seal, contains.
Erick-Woods Erickson called this indictment “the biggest political backfire.” Alvin Bragg, he charges, “is not very bright,” and empaneled a grand jury of “rabid progressives.” They actually thought they could send Trump to prison with this indictment, says Erickson – probably correctly. But any trial will end in acquittal, which Trump can time to happen before primary season begins. Result: Donald Trump coasts to renomination and reelection.
But he has his own problem. Earlier this week, he accused Trump of making the whole prospect of his arrest up, to raise money. Yesterday he effectively called Bragg a moron, an idiot, and a maniac – but fails to acknowledge his own earlier canards. (He also insists that Republicans have better candidates than Trump – but will not name any.)
We all follow Donald Trump now
But aside from Erick-Woods Erickson – who never liked Trump at all – and Gov. DeSantis – who is having his tame legislature repeal Florida’s Resign to Run Law for his benefit – the Donald Trump indictment might indeed have united the people. Todd Starnes said on the radio that “We are all MAGA Americans now.”
The district attorney, Alvin Bragg, doesn’t realize what he’s done here. He really has unleashed the Kraken – the political Kraken.
Another attorney for Donald Trump said much the same.
What will cement that union will be more than the spectacle of a weaponized criminal justice system. The American people will see selective application of the law, in which people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton get passes while Donald Trump faces indictment and trial even after the statute of limitations has run out. This case is almost the very definition of a bill of attainder, which flatly breaks the Constitution. Add to it Alvin Bragg’s giving free passes to violent offenders, and no one will have any respect for him. Nor for any prosecuting attorney elected to that office as a Democrat.
1 An acronym for “Source Close To The Case.”
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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