Trump Indictment Unifies GOP, Undermines Americans’ Trust in Justice System: Experts

Trump Indictment Unifies GOP, Undermines Americans’ Trust in Justice System: Experts
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Waco Regional Airport in Waco, Texas, on March 25, 2023. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Alice Giordano

The indictment of Donald Trump, which appears to have intensified the former president’s base within the Republican Party, may very well dampen any trust Americans have in the justice system, political and legal experts say.

“I think this is going to backfire. I think this is going to leave a bad taste in people’s mouths,” Gavin Wax, president of the New York Young Republican Club, told The Epoch Times. “It’s bigger than Trump.”

Meanwhile, five Republicans who are seeking to outstep Trump for the party’s nomination for president have put political differences aside to condemn Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for the indictment.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who hasn’t yet declared his intention although he’s considered to be Trump’s biggest rival for the nomination, called the indictment un-American and vowed that his state wouldn’t assist with extradition of Trump to New York.

Trump, who is a New York native, has been living in Palm Beach, Florida, at Mar-a-Lago, his home and private club, since leaving the White House. He also stays at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course during the summer.

“The weaponization of the legal system to advance a political agenda turns the rule of law on its head. It is un-American,” DeSantis wrote in a Twitter post.

Even New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, who is a well-known Trump critic, condemned the indictment, saying he thinks the former president is “being attacked.”

Trump’s attorney Jesse Binnall told NTD’s “Capitol Report” that he believes that the Bragg indictment will be perceived as prosecutorial bullying that will, alarmingly, broadly cast the justice system in a poor light.

“It’s a very, very dangerous road that they have decided to go down here,” he said.

Immediately following the announcement of the Trump indictment, longtime columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winner Peggy Noonan, who has been critical of Trump, even joined Trump loyalists in warning that Bragg may end up bringing unwanted scrutiny not only to his office, but also to the entire U.S. justice system.

In a column titled “The Wrong Indictment Against Trump,” the Wall Street Journal columnist wrote the indictment is “below us—not below him, but us.”

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, known to be pro-Trump, said that even if the allegations against Trump prove to be true, it will end up discrediting the U.S. justice system.

“If reports are to be believed, it is not merely an unworthy exercise of prosecutorial discretion. It is one that will threaten the legitimacy of the justice system—on the public acceptance of which the rule of law hinges,” he wrote in a March 31 commentary for the National Review.

Wax says that Bragg’s avowed “soft-on-crime” agenda beginning in 2022 has created distrust in the conjoined U.S. political and justice systems, especially given the violent nature of the cases that he isn’t prosecuting.

“He is not prosecuting rapists. He’s not prosecuting assaults, people committing a burglary, or mugging people, or people with long raps,” Wax said. “He has this worldview of narco-tyranny that he’s going to allow criminals to rampage the streets, but then go after Trump for basically [what] was effectively a bookkeeping infraction.”

Two of the crimes Bragg hasn’t prosecuted recently are a hate crime against a Jewish man and a group of teens’ violently assaulting FOX weatherman Adam Klotz at a New York subway station.

Bragg has brought a sort of unity to the GOP.

Conservative television host and pro-Trumper Tucker Carlson said on his show that the indictment likely regarding “a payment that federal regulators said [several years ago] violated no law” will send “American politics into complete chaos, perhaps permanently,” as presidential historian Michael Beschloss told MSNBC, “Tomorrow, I think, in terms of American history, we will be waking up in a different country.”

Gene Healey, senior vice president of policy of the Cato Institute, warned in a 2004 article that the broadening of laws was expanding more opportunities for the abuse of prosecutorial power. It was based on the indictment and conviction of Martha Stewart at the time for insider trading.

In the article, Healey quoted a famous 1940 speech by U.S. Attorney General Robert Jackson.

“With the law books filled with a great assortment of crimes, a prosecutor stands a fair chance of finding at least a technical violation of some act on the part of almost anyone.

“The great danger,” Jackson said, is that “he will pick people that he thinks he should get, rather than pick cases that need to be prosecuted.”

Alice Giordano is a freelance reporter for The Epoch Times. She is a former news correspondent for The Boston Globe, Associated Press, and the New England bureau of The New York Times.
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