June 7, 2023 6:53 pm
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Categories: Breitbart News democracy indictment JoshWho News Politics

Pollak: Indicting a Former President over Nonsense Is Playing with Fire

Reports are circulating that federal prosecutors are about to ask a grand jury to indict former President Donald Trump over his handling of classified documents after leaving office. If those reports are true, and prosecutors do move against Trump, it would be the first time in American history that the government had prosecuted the leading opposition candidate. It would also destroy public faith in the rule of law and voters’ trust in democracy.

The documents charges are incredibly weak, from what has been reported publicly thus far. The president has full declassification authority, and there is no formal procedure for declassifying documents. Breathless claims of “national security” secrets, even nuclear codes, being brought to Trump’s estate at Mar-a-Lago turned out to be fantasies. Prosecutors may fall back on charges of obstruction of justice, which seem to be just as speculative.

The double standard is glaring. The Department of Justice let Hillary Clinton evade charges relating to her handling of classified materials. In that case, she kept an illicit private email server in her own home (possibly to hide corrupt fundraising efforts for the Clinton Foundation), erased it, and had her staff smash phones on which her emails were stored, rather than turning over the data and documents to the Department of State.

President Joe Biden himself, who called Trump’s handling of classified documents “irresponsible,” took files with him when he left the Obama administration. As vice president, he had no declassification authority, but stored classified documents in the private garage of his home — to which his drug-addicted, foreign-dealing son had access. He also kept unauthorized boxes of files at the Penn-Biden Center, funded by Chinese largesse.

Biden even took documents with him when he left the U.S. Senate, and left them in archives that the University of Delaware mysteriously kept sealed until the FBI finally, after much public criticism, searched and seized. It may not be possible to indict a sitting president, but in this case President Biden appears to have benefited from years of protection — on other, more serious, charges as well — that allowed him to get elected in the first place.

Biden was never targeted by an FBI raid, like a dangerous criminal, the way that Trump was last year, when agents arrived at Mar-a-Lago with weapons drawn. Attorney General Merrick Garland, who promised not to let politics affect the Department of Justice, appointed a special counsel for the Trump allegations, and the Biden documents, but not the broader Biden family allegations — just the latest example of partisanship at the agency.

If Trump is indicted, Republicans will unite behind him — which may be what the Biden administration wants, believing Trump would be easier to defeat than his rivals. But that is just the beginning. The Department of Justice, which has never apologized for targeting Trump in 2016 and the years thereafter, will have completely discredited itself by targeting him again. Not just in the eyes of Trump supporters, but in the eyes of the world.

When Democrats tried to impeach Trump, they repeatedly declared that no one is above the law. But no one is beneath it, either. They called Trump’s indictment in Manhattan in April unprecedented. And so it was, not because of Trump’s conduct, but because no president or presidential candidate has ever been subjected to the kind of abuse, surveillance, and harassment, that Trump has — and over what are, inevitably, petty allegations.

Trump was impeached the first time because, we were told, he tried to have his leading opponent investigated. Now Biden and Garland are doing exactly that — and while Trump’s suspicions of Biden’s corruption were well-founded, and have serious national security implications, Trump is being accused of misplacing dinner napkins. Indicting him, for this, would open a Pandora’s Box and unleash passions that will not easily be controlled.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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