I was surprised to see that as of 7:00 this morning, there was only one article on DR.dk having to do with yesterday’s arraignment of former U.S. President Donald Trump in New York.
Then, suddenly, by 7:15 there were four.
The top of their website looked like this:
Trump tore into everything from his Florida pulpit: “My only crime is that I’ve protected our country”
Details in charges against Trump make “a gigantic difference,” correspondent says
Trump’s former lawyer: A significant number of documents support the accusations against him
Trump-critical Mitt Romney: The prosecutor has gone too far
DanmarksRadio (DR), like all Danish media, has never shown anything but contempt for Donald Trump. One can’t expect balanced journalism on anything having anything to do with him from DR, and I cite the years of evidence chronicled on this blog in support of that premise.
Looking to DR for objective news about America is therefore an exercise in futility.
Viewing their news while keeping their bias top of mind, however, can be very informative.
The main story is about Trump’s reaction to the arraignment. Then there’s a story about a correspondent saying the details of the charges are important, a story citing the convicted liar Michael Cohen saying there’s documentation for the charges against him, and finally a story about NeverTrumper Mitt Romney saying that the prosecution has gone too far.
Before I poke at those entrails for some kind of augury, let’s review the actual case.
The official indictment is now online and can be read here.
All thirty four charges are “FALSIFYING BUSINESS RECORDS IN THE FIRST DEGREE.”
Anyone who still can’t understand the frustration and disgust felt by American conservatives (and a majority of independents) would do well to read the indictment in its entirety and then refresh their memory of the speech in which FBI Director James Comey recommended no charges be brought against Hillary Clinton even though “there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information.”
That was a question of national security and Clinton was given a pass. The charges against Trump are about bookkeeping, and he’s being prosecuted.
Jeopardize national security and “no reasonable prosecutor” would file charges; exercise a little creative accounting and the hounds of hell are unleashed.
It’s an intolerable double standard.
The main problem with the Trump indictment seems to be that it’s all predicated on the notion that the non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) he made with Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal were specifically intended to serve the interests of his political campaign. That is, if it could be proved that those NDAs had been set up to keep Trump’s wife Melania from finding out about his infidelities, there would be no case. More to the point, unless it can be proved that Trump was not trying to conceal his dalliances from Melania, then these charges are essentially meaningless.
That’s because each of the 34 bookkeeping charges requires that the misdemeanor in question was committed “with intent to defraud and intent to commit another crime and aid and conceal the commission thereof.” That “other crime,” however, is never specified, even though it’s necessary to elevate these misdemeanors into Class E Felonies. Legal analysts on the left and right seem to believe that the underlying crime on top of which all of these charges are built is a violation of federal campaign finance law, but if that’s the case, as appears likely, then the underlying crime itself depends on prosecutors being able to prove that Trump was not doing all this to keep Melania from finding out what an unfaithful cad he’d been.
I’m not a lawyer, but Andrew McCarthy is. Here’s his take:
I think this is actually worse than what we anticipated. Because what we anticipated was that they were trying to bootstrap a misdemeanor—which, by the way, they’d have a good deal of difficulty proving if it was just a misdemeanor—but they need to show that he concealed another crime in supposedly falsifying the business records.
And what we’ve thought up until now is that … he was going to use that as an avenue to enforce federal campaign finance law. Now, maybe that’s what he’s planning to do, but he’s got to tell us what he’s planning to do, and more importantly, he’s got to tell Donald Trump. So I think this indictment—even before you get to the statute of limitations and whether he’s got jurisdiction to enforce federal law—I would dismiss it on its face because it fails to state a crime. Here it fails to state a crime 34 times!
But let’s get back to what the DR stories tell us about the whole sordid affair:
Trump gave a speech expressing his contempt for the system attacking him; a DR correspondent says the charges “make a big difference;” the prosecution’s star witness says there’s a lot of documentation; and one of Trump’s most rabid critics says the prosecution has gone too far.
This from a news organization absolutely dedicated to the destruction of Donald Trump and everything he represents—and everyone who supports him. That’s the best they could do.
That alone tells me that there’s no there there.
This thing is going to fizzle out and will ultimately be revealed to have been a big fat nothingburger all along.
That doesn’t mean this episode isn’t extremely serious.
The seriousness lies not in anything Trump did or didn’t do, but in the political weaponization of the American judicial system.
It’s certainly true that for America to work, no one can be above the law. But a corollary to that hackneyed truism is that the application of the law has to be consistent. That’s what people mean when they describe Justice as being blind: the facts and the law are what matter, the personal characteristics of the accused do not.
To many Americans, this prosecution suggests that the American legal system has been politicized (or the political system devolved into lawfare), and what matters is not whether you’re guilty or innocent but whether you’re in the good graces of the political party in power.
Such concerns were brought to the attention of Presidential Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre repeatedly yesterday. She dismissed them. One can understand why she’d do so publicly, but one hopes her boss is not as dismissive in private.
In recent years we’ve seen the political weaponization of American institutions like the IRS, the FBI, and the CIA. We’ve seen the largest communication platforms in human history censoring communication at the request of government authorities. Establishing a precedent for the criminal prosecution of politicians would cement America’s status as a banana republic—a nation in which the rule of law had been replaced by the rule of will.
Democrats have in recent years been content to run rough-shod over American norms because it’s been politically advantageous for them to do so, but the questions deflected by Jean-Pierre cut to the heart of the Boomerang Principle: do you idiots not worry that all of this is going to bite you in the ass the next time power changes hands?
Her breezy waving off of the questions suggests that, publicly at least, the Biden administration isn’t worried about that at all.
Her boss’s handling of the question suggests the same:
It would behoove Joe Biden to take these concerns more seriously, if not for America then for his own sake.
Otherwise it’s almost certain that some Florida or Texas DA will be issuing arrest orders for Joe Biden in the not-too-distant future.
Biden may not be worried about that, but the rest of us should be.