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The Trump documents trial (and all Trump's criminal trials) must be stopped until after the 2024 election
The law is crashing into the highest-stakes political process we have; Donald Trump's opponents have no choice but to let voters decide if he is fit for the White House
It is clearer than ever Democrats cannot depend on the legal system to save them from Donald Trump.
If they insist on trying, they may do terrible damage to the rule of law in the United States.
Last night, Trump asked the federal judge overseeing his indictment in Florida for hanging onto classified documents to delay his trial indefinitely. Federal prosecutors want the trial to begin Dec. 11. In their 12-page answer, Trump’s lawyers gave Judge Aileen Cannon a bevy of reasons that date is unrealistic.
But the most compelling reason Trump offered was not legal but political. As his lawyers wrote in the second paragraph of their response:
This extraordinary case presents a serious challenge to both the fact and perception of our American democracy. The Court now presides over a prosecution advanced by the administration of a sitting President against his chief political rival, himself a leading candidate for the Presidency of the United States.
(YOU NEED ME ON THAT WALL!)
Picking an impartial jury during a Presidential campaign will be impossible, Trump’s lawyers wrote. And the time and effort that Trump must put into running for President means that he cannot properly defend himself. Thus the trial and the election intersect in a way that is unfair to Trump’s chances in both.
The crimes of which Trump is accused are fundamentally offenses of bad judgment. He is not accused of theft or fraud or drug trafficking, much less hurting anyone physically or selling out American interests to a foreign government. If the allegations in the initial indictment are true, Trump behaved like a childish, entitled imbecile. (Shocker!) But he did no real damage to anyone.
I will say this again.
You know what I think of Donald Trump. His return to the White House would be a disaster. (Though I increasingly fear a second term for Joe Biden, whose decline is more obvious by the month, might be worse.)
But those elite media types clearing their throats about how Trump must face his day in court because no man is above the law obviously haven’t paid much attention to Hunter Biden’s recent plea deal. Which was topped only by the embarrassment of last week’s who left the cocaine in the White House fiasco.
(Gee, who could it have been?)
Amazing but true, Republican voters will start choosing their 2024 candidate in barely six months. The Iowa caucus is January 15. Less than a month later, the primaries begin, and by early March many states will have voted.
If Trump is officially the presumptive Republican nominee by then - as looks very likely, considering he is leading Ron DeSantis by 20 points in Florida (!) - a trial will be a gruesome political spectacle.
Prosecutors are well aware of this pressure. Thus they threw out a 2023 date for the trial, hoping to sneak it under the wire.
But the case is just too complicated for that schedule to make any sense. Trump’s lawyers offered Judge Cannon very good practical reasons for a delay, ranging from the sheer volume of discovery the government has already given Trump’s defense lawyers to the fact that Trump and his lawyers face other trials before December.
The complex procedures required in trials that include classified material also cause delays. As Trump’s lawyers noted, in two other recent cases involving such material, trials did not begin until at least 17 months after indictments were filed, compared to the six-month time frame prosecutors have proposed for Trump.
Even under normal circumstances, whatever those might be, a trial like this couldn’t possibly happen until well into 2024 at the soonest.
This approaching train wreck is why I suggested that the prosecutors simply should have presented their evidence in a report rather than indict Trump. As it is, Trump should simply come out and and say out loud what everyone thinks: I believe I did nothing wrong and should not have been indicted. If you elect me President in 2024, I will direct my attorney general to drop this case.
(I’LL SAY IT AGAIN)
The left’s hope of substituting a trial for an election is a profound mistake. Let the voters decide. And let them decide BEFORE a trial, rather than trying to shoehorn the case through.
If Trump loses, the pressure will be off anyway. He will be a 78-year-old man charged with stealing souvenirs from work, and no one outside of MSNBC will care. Give him the same deal Hunter just got.
If he wins, he wins. The voters will have made their choice, knowing full well what they getting.
A trial will satisfy no one, change no minds, and only risk giving us the unthinkable disaster of having a convicted felon elected as President.
The sooner Judge Cannon recognizes this reality, the better off we will be.