In March, thanks to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, America finally cleared that last hurdle keeping us from banana republic-dom: We now indict the leaders of the political opposition on flimsy charges mostly because they’re the leader of the political opposition.
As you will recall, Bragg persuaded a New York grand jury to indict former President Donald Trump on 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree — felony charges in New York, but those falsifications must be done to cover up another crime under New York law.
As you’ll note, Trump isn’t charged with any other crime, and the statute of limitations on the finance law violations Bragg was using to justify the falsification charges had long since passed.
But never mind: The gaggle of harridans on ABC’s “The View” couldn’t be happier — particularly after President Joe Biden refused to answer whether he’d pardon Trump were there a conviction.
In fact, co-panelist Sunny Hostin was practically jumping out of her chair over the prospect of Trump “in an orange jumpsuit.”
Then, Whoopi Goldberg — somehow the voice of reason in all of this — reminded Hostin of one cold, hard fact that’s designed to keep America from becoming the banana republic Bragg, Hostin and countless others want to see happen: You can put Trump in an orange jumpsuit, but you can’t take him off the presidential ballot.
So let’s go back to where this began — where it so often does, with a question from Fox News’ Peter Doocy to Biden before he left on Marine One from the White House lawn on Tuesday.
Doocy noted that Trump’s main challenger for the Republican presidential nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has publicly announced he would pardon Trump if there were a conviction.
“Where are you on the idea of presidents pardoning Trump?” he asked.
Biden laughed, waved, and walked away. “That’s a great question,” he said with a smile.
Doocy: Where are you on the idea of presidents pardoning Trump?
Biden: *laughs* pic.twitter.com/yTLVlnawjw
— Acyn (@Acyn) May 29, 2023
I’m assuming he then went off in the general direction of the presidential helicopter mumbling something about getting his usual 3 p.m. mint chocolate chip ice cream cone on the flight.
On Wednesday, the giddy hosts of “The View” discussed whether or not this was possible, given that presidential pardons cover federal crimes.
As Hostin — who, in fairness, is a trained lawyer and should go back to the profession, since I assume she can’t be any worse at it than she is at this job — pointed out, Trump is “facing 34 felony counts here in New York, and he will also face, in my view, some counts in Georgia” related to his post-2020 election phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he urged the secretary to “find” votes he believed would carry him over the top in the state.
“Try not to show how gleeful you are,” co-host Joy Behar said.
Hostin laughed and insisted she was trying to temper her enthusiasm (I’d love to see the ghost of F. Lee Bailey administer a lie-detector test on that one). However, she said she thought “it sends the wrong message to pardon a president who was impeached twice, but was also just — flouted the law, especially on Jan. 6, and tried to destroy our very democracy.”
And, as for a comparison to the pardon of former President Richard Nixon by President Gerald Ford, Hostin said “that felt like accountability,” whereas “Trump is accountable to no one. He needs to be held to account.”
Yeah! For something. He’s clearly guilty, as Hostin said. Just find a jury willing to convict him under flimsy pretexts and into the orange jumpsuit he goes — something Hostin said “would make me gleeful.”
The cold water moment, straight from Whoopi: “I know you’re applauding, but keep in mind the law does not prevent him from being president from jail,” she said.
“We got to change that,” Hostin responded.
“I always want to remind people that, just because he’s in the orange jumpsuit does not mean he cannot still be president,” Goldberg continued.
The life suddenly got sucked out of the crowd, as you can see:
And no, we do not got to change that, because the ability to run for president behind bars exists for the very reason the clapping seals on the panel and in the audience at “The View” believe a former president should be sent to prison on charges flimsier than North Korean toilet paper without even hearing the full slate of evidence against him.
Meanwhile, every one of them probably would have (or did) castigate Trump’s supporters for chanting “lock her up” during the 2016 presidential campaign when Hillary Clinton was accused of the very serious crime of handling classified information on a personal server in the bathroom of her home during her time as secretary of state.
Consider the case of Eugene V. Debs, the socialist union activist who helped found the Industrial Workers of the World and was the Socialist Party presidential candidate five times, taking home not insubstantial chunks of the vote.
In 1920, Debs was not a particularly popular man — not just because he was a socialist, mind you, but because, as Politico noted, he was serving a 10-year prison sentence for advocating resistance to the World War I draft.
Debs didn’t win, obviously, but he took home 3.4 percent of the national vote — not quite the 6 percent he’d taken in the 1912 presidential election, but not an insignificant total for a man who was in … well, I think they used black-and-white striped jumpsuits in those days, if old-timey movies were accurate.
I assure you that, even in the orange jumpsuit, Trump would better Debs’ vote total bigly.
Fomenting resistance to the draft in a time of war is a more serious crime than potentially miscategorizing nondisclosure agreements made with chatty porn stars during a political campaign seven years ago.
That said, there’s a reason our system doesn’t disqualify those convicted of either offense from running for president.
In Debs’ case, consider the alternative reality where the man was right. He wasn’t, but this is neither here nor there; should the people be barred from voting for a man whose crime is opposing a draft for an unjust war?
And in Trump’s case, the reason is more clear-cut: The political establishment doesn’t want him to run, and it will fabricate any charge necessary to put him on the sidelines.
While there may be more meat to the Raffensperger case, there likely isn’t a whole lot more of it. Unless there’s a considerable body of evidence we have yet to hear that proves intent to coerce election fraud on Trump’s part, using the word “find” in relation to vote counting doesn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the then-president was ordering the secretary of state to start stuffing ballot boxes posthaste.
But that’s what fills Hostin and her cohort with glee: These cases are taking place in Manhattan and Fulton County, Georgia — bastions of liberalism where an enterprising prosecutor stands at least a coin flip’s chance of persuading a jury to convict the former president on conspiring with Ted Cruz’s dad to kill JFK.
Fortunately, brighter minds than these flibbertigibbets knew that, at some point, public sentiment could be so aroused as to weaponize the criminal court system against a candidate.
That’s why, orange jumpsuit or not, Trump is going to be on the ballot if he wins the GOP primary.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.