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Leave Trump Alone

Because it doesn’t matter.

Former President Trump Speaks At His Bedminster Golf Club After Being Arraigned On Federal Charges
President Donald Trump speaks at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, following his arraignment on 37 charges in Miami, June 13, 2023. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The narrative is set. Everything between now and November 2024, absent an actual alien invasion, is filler material.

Donald Trump will ride his narrative to the polls, campaigning even if in handcuffs and on an ankle monitor. He is, he will make clear, the victim of a Democratic plot to weaponize “justice,” dating back to 2016 when Hillary was let off scot-free for her email shenanigans, followed by the FBI’s concocted Russiagate, two impeachments, and now a carousel of indictments.


His opponent is Joe Biden, older than Yoda but presenting more like Jar Jar, crooked and in cahoots with his scumbag son to suck bribe money out of Eastern Europe. Sleepy Joe’s narrative is to count on the same DOJ going after Trump with both barrels to shuffle its feet investigating him and Hunter through the election, with a final surge under the slogan “Oh, who cares, I'm not Trump!” to wrap things up.

The problem is that Trump’s narrative is compelling; there is a lot of truth underneath the showmanship. There was David Petraeus, Obama's CIA director, who leaked secret docs to his girlfriend, and Sandy Berger, Clinton's NSA director, who stole secret docs, both of whom received mere slaps on the wrist. But it was Hillary who got away with it all.

Hillary Clinton maintained an unsecured private email server that processed classified material on a daily basis. Her server held at least 110 known messages containing classified information, including email chains classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level, the highest level of civilian classification. The FBI found classified intelligence improperly stored and transmitted on Clinton’s server “was compromised by unauthorized individuals, to include foreign governments or intelligence services, via cyber intrusion or other means.”

Clinton and her team destroyed tens of thousands of emails, evidence, as well as physical phones and Blackberries that potentially held evidence—obstruction as clear as it comes. She operated the server out of her home kitchen despite the presence of the Secret Service on property who failed to report it. A server in a closet is not so dramatic a visual as boxes of classified materials stored in a shower room, but justice is supposed to be blind. More recently, what of Mike Pence and Joe Biden, both of whom have escaped indictment so far on similar charges of mishandling classified information? Trump voters know that, if the FBI is going to take a similar set of facts and ignore one while aggressively pursue the other, it is partial and political. No matter which candidate wins and loses, DOJ's credibility is tanked.

The ongoing Stormy Daniels case, and the guilty finding in the E. Jean Carroll defamation case, reek of politics. Neither case would have seen daylight outside of the Democratic hive of New York, and neither could have held up outside a partisan justice system that permits it to ignore Jeffrey Epstein's death in custody or a city in a crime tornado while aggressively allowing the system to pursue a decades-old rape case of dubious propriety.


New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg ran for office on the promise to prosecute Trump. (New York in the past year reduced 52 percent of all felony charges to misdemeanors, the opposite of what was done to Trump.) He fulfilled a campaign promise and paid off his George Soros–connected backers. Bragg, in the words of law professor Jonathan Turley, had a

very public, almost Hamlet-like process where he debated whether he could do this bootstrapping theory [bumping misdemeanors up to felonies in the Stormy case.] He stopped it for a while and was pressured to go forward with it. All of that smacks more of politics than prosecutorial discretion.

Calling it all a witch hunt is just a starting point. The point here is not innocence; it is whether the justice system is going to take fact sets and ignore one while aggressively pursuing another, risking being seen as partial and political. No matter which candidate wins or loses, its credibility is tanked.

Still to come (at the least) are whatever judicial actions will emerge from the special prosecutor over Trump's role in January 6 and the legal action over the 2020 Georgia vote count (with another Democratic, openly anti-Trump prosecutor.) Trump jokes in his stump speech nowadays every time he flies over a blue state he gets another subpoena. He could easily head into the Republican convention to accept the nomination with multiple convictions and/or indictments on his shoulders. It won’t matter. 

Mostly overlooked for now is how much of the apparent evidence against Trump at Mar-a-Lago came from his own attorneys. Attorney-client privilege is recognized as one of the cornerstones of fairness in our system. In the Trump case, the Justice Department used the one major exception to privilege, when the communication is intended to further a criminal or fraudulent act, to compel Trump's lawyers to give evidence against their own client.

Justice asserted Trump lied to his own team about having no more classified documents, and that this constituted a crime of fraud and maybe obstruction. For this reason, privilege is not available and Trump’s lawyer can be made to testify against his client. The crime or fraud exception to attorney-client privilege itself has a long history, rooted in English common law. But Trump’s supporters are unlikely to read deeply into the case law; all they’ll see is what looks like strong-arm tactics by the Department of Justice.

No one has to work very hard to convince Trump supporters of the truth of what he is saying, that he is the victim. Trump support remained unmoved by the many investigations that plagued his presidency. Even during peak crises, views of him were static. Post-presidency polls have continued the trend. Public opinion of Trump remains remarkably stable, despite his unprecedented legal challenges, and about half of Americans do not see his behavior as disqualifying.

When asked if Trump’s legal troubles would affect their views of him, two-thirds of his supporters said it would not make a difference. Fundraising goes up with each new legal tangle. A full 80 percent of likely Republican voters said Trump should be able to serve even if convicted. That's a committed bunch. Perhaps just as important, 57 percent of voters, including one-third of Democrats, said the indictment in New York earlier this year was politically motivated.

No one can say who will win in November 2024, but one loser is certain: faith in the rule of law by a large number of Americans. They will leave the polls certain the system was bent to "get" Trump, either saddened by the fall of blind justice or saddened that it did not work and Trump remains a powerful figure with a large movement behind him, either in or out of the Oval Office.