Donald Trump’s Indictment Case has a Looming 2024 End Date

Below is my column in the New York Post on the Trump indictment and why so many citizens have little interest in its content or charges. The reaction of many citizens vividly shows the costs of years of biased and inconsistent decisions involving Democratic and Republican figures. The result is what you now see. The Justice Department has lost the room.

Here is the column:

When Special Counsel Jack Smith walked before cameras on Friday after the release of the Trump 44-page indictment against former President Donald Trump, he started with arguably his most difficult case to make.

He declared “we have one set of laws in this country and they apply to everyone.”

After years of scandal and documented political bias by key Justice officials, the line likely left many skeptical, assuming many were even watching.

The indictment was clearly a pitch to the public that this is a prosecution entirely removed from recent history.

We’re also meant to not think about the fact that the Biden Administration is charging the leading candidate opposing him in the upcoming election.

This indictment has merit, but the Justice Department lost the right to expect trust from the citizens years ago — long before the damning Inspector General’s Report and the recent report of Special Counsel John Durham.

To make matters worse, the same suspects have surfaced to celebrate Trump’s expected demise — and remind the public of the perceived double standard in Washington.

Peter Strzok, the FBI special agent who was fired over his anti-Trump bias in the Russian collusion investigation, cheered the indictment by tweeting a photo of handcuffs with Trump’s image.

Strzok seems to think that it is a good thing for Smith to remind everyone of how he promised his colleague and lover Lisa Page that she did not have to worry about Trump being elected because they had an “insurance policy” to “stop it.”

Hillary Clinton went on social media to hawk her line of merchandize mocking the case against her for storing classified material on her personal server and then destroying tens of thousands of emails sought by the Congress.

She sent out a picture mocking Trump while wearing her “But Her Emails” hat.

With millions of Americans wondering why Trump is being charged but Clinton was given a pass, Clinton decided to do a victory lap.

And hey, why not: James Comey is back.

It was Comey who declined to prosecute Clinton despite finding that she violated federal rules and handled classified material “carelessly.” He then launched a Russian collusion investigation that Durham found lacked minimal support against Trump.

Former President Donald Trump has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges related to mishandling classified White House documents that were recovered at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

Trump unlawfully kept hundreds of documents after leaving office — including papers detailing America’s conventional and nuclear weapons programs, potential weak points in US defenses, and plans to respond to a foreign attack, federal prosecutors charged Friday.

The 45th president stored boxes containing the documents throughout his estate, including “a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, an office space, his bedroom, and a storage room,” according to a 49-page indictment filed in Miami federal court Thursday.

The indictment against Trump was unsealed hours after the 76-year-old announced he had been charged by Jack Smith, the special counsel tapped in November to examine Trump’s retention of official documents at Mar-a-Lago.

The indictment is the former commander in chief’s second since leaving office and marks the first time in US history a former president has faced federal charges.

In April, Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg related to hush money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election.

Nevertheless, Comey chose this month to declare that, in the 2024 election, “it has to be Joe Biden.”

For critics, that is consistent with his views and actions before he was fired as FBI director.

After Trump was indicted in a raw political prosecution in New York, Comey also went public to declare it a “good day.”

So in the court of public opinion, past history and hypocrisy may mean that few are swayed about whether they back Trump or not. Which leaves the criminal court.

This indictment has some devastating elements, including an audiotape in which Trump tells two visitors about a highly classified attack plan on Iran while admitting that it remained classified.

That tape directly contradicts his past claims of declassification and suggests that Trump was using the document as a type of trophy.

There are also damaging statements from former staff and counsel alleging that Trump actively sought to conceal documents.

Smith is now left in a battle not with Trump but time.

There are a variety of challenges expected from the Trump team, including arguing that the government misused the civil statute of the Presidential Records Act to launch a criminal prosecution.

They are likely to cite a 2012 opinion that Bill Clinton could remove classified tapes with foreign leaders — even if the tapes are designated to be presidential records.

Amy Berman Jackson declared “the [Presidential Records Act] does not confer any mandatory or even discretional authority on the archivist. Under the statute, this responsibility is left solely to the president.”

The Trump team is likely to litigate that and other questions.

While there are good-faith arguments to make in rebuttal, it will take time.

And if enough time passes, the ultimate judgment in the case will be the millions of jurors in the coming election.

Not only can Trump pardon himself, but fellow candidates like Vivek Ramaswamy have also suggested that they will also pardon him.

Smith’s case could end with a stroke of a pen.

It seems for both Comey and Smith, it has to be Biden in 2024.

Jonathan Turley is an attorney and professor at George Washington University Law School.

285 thoughts on “Donald Trump’s Indictment Case has a Looming 2024 End Date”

  1. FYI:
    When is a Prosecution Political?
    by Scott Horton on February 7, 2008
    – 3. Timing and Circumstances of Criminal Investigations and Charges. Secure information concerning the time line. When was the probe initiated and how did it come to be initiated? Does it comply with established procedures and rules governing investigations? All departures from the rules should be noted. Any investigator may make a mistake, of course, but chronic violations may suggest something else, especially if they consistently prejudice the rights of the target. Consider the parallels between this time line and potentially relevant political events, particularly elections and election campaigns. Charges brought against political candidates during an election cycle are particularly suspect. In several states in this region, certain criminal charges will result in disqualifying a candidate for office. Obviously when charges are brought against an opposition political candidate during an election cycle, this is suspicious. When the Government then seeks the candidate’s disqualification, this is still more suspicious. –

  2. During his first term in the White House, in the face of continual, untruthful, and hypocritical attacks from the left and his own party, Donald Trump achieved gasoline prices under $2 a gallon, record low unemployment, inflation under 2%, rising real wages for working-class Americans, a dramatic reduction in illegal immigration, the end of NAFTA, better trade agreements with Mexico and Canada, higher tariffs on products from Communist China, lower taxes on American corporations and small businesses, reduced regulation of American manufacturing and energy production, withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, American energy independence, a significant increase in American military spending, a significant increase in military spending by the other NATO allies, the creation of the United States Space Force, no new wars, reduced missile testing by North Korea, cancellation of the Obama nuclear weapons agreement with Iran, recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the brokering of historic trade agreements between Israel and its Arab neighbors, restoration of quality medical care for veterans at the VA, elimination of the Obamacare mandate to buy health insurance, the right of terminally ill patients to try experimental treatment, the appointment of more than 230 federal judges who believe in following the Constitution, the appointment of three Supreme Court justices who believe in following the Constitution, and a welcoming environment in the Republican Party for good and decent Americans of all races and classes. Seventeen months after Trump left office, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade with a 6-3 vote. Go Trump.

    1. I have been following Trump’s career for 46 years. I found his talent for understanding the cultural tastes of the average American remarkable. I would never trust him alone in a room with my wife but he is an extremely experienced international business man and he knows how to read people, especially in negotiations. He proved his management ability in his presidential administration. He was targeted by the swamp for elimination and somehow has thus far survived. I want him to be our next president but he has given his (our) opponents the ammunition they need. This does not look good for him. He should think of cooking a deal with DeSantis for a pardon.

  3. I am sick of Trump and his arrogant boorishness. Nevertheless, I will vote for him in a heartbeat against ANY Democrat. Democrat anarcho-tyranny and unabashed corruption are destroying this country.

  4. I don’t care about these charges at all. The Deep State is the enemy of the American people and must be destroyed. Trump has promised to do that, so I will vote for Trump in 2024.

  5. Why should anyone be expected to cooperate with an FBI/DOJ who tried to criminally frame them, their family, friends, associate, for seven straight years now

    Trump was under no ethical obligation to cooperate with these goons in the FBI and DOJ, NONE WHATSOEVER!

    Its like demanding that you cooperate with your rapist

  6. I believe Trump. FBI checked his home just week before found nothing. Then a paid and every military secret was found. Humm? FBI planted those docs! Why do they think that anybody doesn’t alreamy have all the so called secrets? Bet china has them!

    1. It is truly a shame that we can even entertain the idea that the FBI is corrupt enough to plant evidence (but they are). The fact is, we can’t know they didn’t. Meanwhile, Biden and his 1850 boxes of documents in 3 different places apparently doesn’t merit an investigation, though ones supposed to be underway. America is gone…And the DEMS did it.

  7. I believe the goal of Smith is to tie up Trump in court time so he cannot spend time on the campaign trail. I do not believe there is a true case and the FBI wants to drag it out. I expect Trump will push this case to move fast, which the FBI will try to stop but likely will not be able to. This is all designed for election interference as Biden and his Puppet Masters know Trump will be the GOP choice to run in 2024, but they want Trump stopped from debating and campaigning as Trump will make Biden look like a fool.

  8. It’s modestly embarrassing to read Turley these days. The Republic is dead. It developed cancer in 2016, when the entire government apparatus was deployed in a failed attempt to defeat Trump, the cancer metastasized from 2016-2020, as the the entire government apparatus conspired to render Trump impotent as the President, and it died in 2020 with the rigging and theft of the presidential election. The Constitution, so revered by conservatives, is dead letter law. Anyone who doesn’t realize that by now is either willfully ignorant, controlled opposition, or has their head planted firmly where the sun doesn’t shine.

    These people are Marxists. Whether they are Bolsheviks or Trotskyites is not particularly important. They care about power. Period. They care not one whit about the Constitution, equal application of the law, or even the appearance of equal application of the law, intellecual consistency, public opinion of their agency, etc. They will stop at nothing in their quest to accrue and wield power and control. Appeals to the Constitution or to principles like the rule of law are quite literally the mark of an insane person now.

    This article is particularly moronic. News flash: Biden will win in 2024 because they are going to rig the 2024 election too. They have already announced their intention to do so. Why is this so hard for conservatives to grasp?

    Turley will be clutching his copy of the Consitution as the jackboots tie him to the post in front of the firing squad.

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