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America’s Corrupt Political Class Should Be Prosecuted, Not Trump

The people telling you Trump is uniquely corrupt want you to ignore decades of worse crimes committed by politicians favored by the establishment.


In By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission, Charles Murray’s terrific book on the death of American constitutional order, the famed social scientist tells a remarkable anecdote that suddenly seems very prescient:

A former member of the US Attorney’s Office in New York has written about a popular training exercise among the staff: Name a famous person and then tell the junior prosecutors to figure out a plausible crime that could be pinned on him. The junior prosecutors win the game by finding the most obscure offense that fits the character of the celebrity and carries the toughest sentences.

Indeed, Murray goes on to note that this isn’t merely a game — there are many notable examples of how prosecutorial discretion is indistinguishable from lawlessness and that this seems to be particularly evident when America’s law enforcement apparatus gets involved in cases involving celebrities or high-profile targets. In the infamous case of financier Michael Milken:

The judge threw out the only real criminal charge, insider trading, leaving charges of violating financial regulations that, as the prosecutor in the case later acknowledged, amounted to “criminalizing technical offenses.” The regulations in question hadn’t ever been charged as crimes before, nor have they been charged as crimes since.

By the People was published nine years ago, and with the Trump conviction in New York, we may well have just witnessed the nadir of abuse of prosecutorial discretion. It’s not just that a former president — and the leading contender to be the next president — has been convicted of a felony on dubious and untested charges.

For all of the demands that we respect “rule of law” in the wake of the Trump verdict, it has become patently obvious that prosecuting corruption is not bound by law or principle — it’s about gatekeeping. Those favored by our entrenched institutions get away with it, those who threaten unaccountable power do not.

The Washington establishment has kept its Sauron-like gaze fixed on Trump in the hopes that you won’t notice that nearly our entire political class is corrupt in ways that threaten the country far more than paying off a mistress and classifying it as “legal services.”

To understand how distorted the system has become, it helps to understand how Trump’s various court battles stack up next to his political peers.

Donald Trump Paid ‘Hush Money’ to a Woman to Influence an Election!

It’s hard to begin to unpack the insane, never-before-charged legal theories that led to Trump’s recent felony conviction. But in short, Trump was charged by the New York district attorney with misclassifying a payment to silence his alleged tryst with a pornographer as “legal services,” normally a misdemeanor. But then that charge was bumped up to a felony because it was allegedly in the furtherance of a second crime, which is ostensibly (I say ostensibly because the outrageous jury instructions on this matter were basically a “choose your own adventure”) violating federal election law, with the goal of attempting to influence the outcome of an election.

How then do we square this with the fact that in 2016, Hillary Clinton and the Democrat Party hired a foreign spy to concoct a demonstrably false dossier claiming Trump was a Russian spy, which they then circulated to the media and law enforcement while concealing the partisan origins of the report? Clinton, whose campaign was based in Brooklyn, and the DNC were eventually fined $113,000 for mislabeling the Steele dossier as a legal expense — the exact same predicate for the charge against Trump. And unlike Trump, the dossier was absolutely created with the intent of influencing the election.

By contrast, the case that Trump buying the silence of a woman he allegedly had an affair with was done expressly to influence the election is absurd — and the country’s leading campaign finance expert, Bradley Smith, insists Trump’s payment didn’t violate federal election law. (Judge Merchan, who presided over the trial, refused to let Smith testify in Trump’s defense for his own highly indefensible reasons.)

And for the kicker, as Matt Taibbi notes, the bogus Steele dossier kicked off a feeding frenzy among law enforcement to launch unending inquests into Trump, culminating in the Mueller investigation.

“Joe Biden’s post-verdict address insisted ‘this is a state case, not a federal case,’ omitting the minor detail that original evidence came from an FBI raid conducted after Special Counsel Robert Mueller referred the matter to the Southern District of New York. Mueller’s investigation, remember, grew out of the FBI’s dubious Crossfire Hurricane investigation,” notes Taibbi. So this entire case against Trump is the fruit of Hillary Clinton’s poison dossier tree in the 2016 election.

Anyway, there’s no doubt that New York prosecutors could have charged Hillary Clinton with a far worse version of the same crime they just convicted Trump of. But she paid a mere fine, and Trump is a convicted felon.

Donald Trump Was Convicted of Sexual Assault!

It’s hard to know where to begin except to say that most Americans wish to be ruled by moral people, let alone ones that are not sleazy. As distasteful as it might be defending Trump on these matters given his public history with women, it is true that Trump was convicted of sexual assault in a case bankrolled by his political enemies and orchestrated publicly by prominent members of “the resistance,” which only came to fruition after the New York Legislature took the remarkable step of passing a law to revive the expired statute of limitations specifically so Trump could be sued.

Even then, he was convicted in civil court despite the fact that his accuser could not remember when the alleged assault took place. The conviction, despite being misreported in the media as “liable for rape,” only means that the jury found Trump guilty of the vague crime of “sexual assault,” which could mean as little as unwanted touching.

Now, Bill Clinton, who has appeared at multiple fundraisers with Biden in recent months, has been publicly identified by Virginia Giuffre, one of the women sex-trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein, as having been at Epstein’s private island. She has said in testimony that she once saw Clinton on Epstein’s infamous island with “two young girls” from New York.

Another victim of Epstein’s has said Epstein told her “Clinton likes them young.” At this point, the fact that all manner of law enforcement has been notoriously reticent to investigate or prosecute anyone surrounding Epstein has become a tragic national joke. And this is on top of decades of other questionable sexual affairs, such as the Paula Jones incident and Lewinsky affair, as well as perjuring himself trying to keep evidence out of a civil lawsuit involving an affair.

It’s also worth noting that federal law enforcement explored charging Hunter Biden with sex-trafficking crimes for working with sex traffickers and bringing prostitutes across state lines. Yet none of these charges were brought. Instead, his father’s own Department of Justice ultimately tried to arrange maybe the most extraordinary immunity deal ever to sweep any potentially serious sex crimes under the rug, as well as deliberately letting the statute of limitations on his tax crimes expire, while persecuting IRS whistleblowers who called them out for ignoring it. (Hunter’s money laundering and acting as an unregistered foreign agent are also mysteriously being ignored.)

There’s no point in even going into the outrageous Kavanaugh accusations or the sexual assault accusations made against Biden himself by a former staffer, which are at least as credible as the sexual assault charges Trump was incredulously convicted of in civil court in New York, not that this means much in either case. The fact is there’s no principled concern at all here about the alleged abuse of women involving politicians. When the establishment likes you, apparently they let you do it.

Trump Illegally Retained Classified Records!

Trump’s alleged taking of classified documents to Mar-A-Lago is the closest thing to what looks like a conventional legal case with an understandable crime. However, the case has been aggressively prosecuted with yet more novel legal moves in an attempt to rush a conviction before the election. There were egregious leaks to the press from the prosecution that misrepresented the seriousness of the national security threat allegedly posed. The judge, assisted by the prosecution’s own incompetence after screwing up the chain of custody on the documents, has kept the case from getting out of control or moving on a rushed timeline. But the political motivations of the prosecution here cannot be in question — they wanted a conviction in time to influence the election.

Meanwhile, we’re still dealing with the fallout of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton running her own email off of a server in a closet in her private home, a server with top-secret information on it. In fact, the FBI has “assess[ed] it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.” When this private server became an issue, Hillary Clinton destroyed the evidence. And yet, James Comey gave a speech about how what she did was all very wrong before announcing she would not be charged for any of this egregious violation of the law.

Similarly, Biden has also been caught retaining classified documents going back decades, even from his time as a senator when he had no right to remove the documents from where he viewed them. He has shared these docs with outside people such as his ghostwriter. Yet he was not charged by the DOJ because “Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory.”

Indeed, when three politicians are guilty of the same crime — but only one man gets prosecuted, while it is openly acknowledged his electoral opponents have committed the same (or worse) crimes and do not get charged — what does that tell us? Indeed, it’s particularly noteworthy that Trump publicly declined to pursue charges against Clinton after he defeated her because he recognized “it would be very, very divisive.”

Donald Trump Is a Corrupt Businessman!

You might also recall that Trump, whose business is real estate, was ordered to pay a $454 million bond as the result of a fraud trial earlier this year. (The bond was later lowered to $175 million.) Trump’s crime? He applied for a loan from a bank, the bank granted Trump the loan, Trump paid the loan back with interest, and everyone made money.

The supposed criminal element of this is Trump inflating the value of his assets on the loan paperwork, never mind that the bank did its own thorough due diligence and concluded Trump was loan-worthy. Even the media could not defend this judgment: “An Associated Press analysis of nearly 70 years of similar cases showed Trump’s case stands apart: It’s the only big business found that was threatened with a shutdown without a showing of obvious victims and major losses.”

Let’s look at some other real-estate deals from politicians, shall we? When Barack Obama bought his Chicago home, he was only able to make the purchase because a developer named Tony Rezko purchased the adjoining property next to the house (owned by the same person) for $625,000 under his wife’s name. The common owner insisted on selling both properties as a condition of the sale, which was the only way the Obamas could purchase the house.

Of course, Rezko was under investigation by the FBI at the time and purchased the property for the Obamas under his wife’s name to try to hide what he was doing. Rezko later went to jail on a smorgasboard of public corruption charges involving some of Illinois’ biggest politicians. It was never determined if there was any quid pro quo involving Obama, but this is Chicago after all, and there was never a serious investigation either.

Then there’s the Whitewater controversy, a land development deal in Arkansas that went south. The case is complicated, but Jim and Susan McDougal, the Clintons’ partners in the deal, went to jail over their role in the scheme falling apart, as did Jim Guy Tucker, Bill Clinton’s successor as governor of Arkansas.

As governor, Clinton was accused of using political pressure to force a $300,000 loan from a failing savings and loan to fund the deal. This deal was actually investigated thoroughly for once, and while the Clintons were never charged, that doesn’t mean we should believe they didn’t do anything illegal. Susan McDougal spent 18 months in prison for contempt of court because she refused to answer any questions about the matter. And wouldn’t you know it, she was pardoned by Clinton on his way out of the White House.

Now which of these three real-estate deals seems the most damning as a potential criminal matter, let alone worthy of a $454 fraud judgment?

Follow the Money

In general, when it comes to politicians and money, ask yourself why leaders such as Obama and the Clintons are worth hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of their political careers. What did they actually do to earn this money? Why is Nancy Pelosi one of the most profitable stock traders in America?

For all of Trump’s touting of his business acumen, and questions surrounding his various major business deals, at the root of it all, we know he inherited millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs and major corporate interests don’t pay politicians $300,000 for a speech or give millions to their foundations because they value their counsel that much — they do it for favors to be named later.

As it currently exists, America’s system of government is set up to be exploited for money and power by a narrow few. Even if you took the worst, most narcissistic reading of Trump’s personal motives, the threat of his personal corruption wouldn’t amount to much of anything relative to the size of the corruption in the system he threatens to disrupt. His mere presence in the White House threatens to put vast swaths of D.C. insiders, who make their living advancing unpopular ideological agendas and looting the treasury, on the outs of the corrupt system they currently tightly control.  

Now ask yourself why so many other politicians are never held accountable. Are we supposed to believe the Clintons escaped criminal charges because, relative to Trump, their decades of public service haven’t been marked by constant scandal and moral turpitude? Are we really supposed to believe that Biden having dinner, appearing in photos, and joining phone calls with his son’s dodgy foreign business partners, whose money was laundered through an elaborate series of shell accounts to various Biden family members, was of no personal benefit to him personally? That there’s no untoward reason Nancy Pelosi, despite spending decades in public service, now has a net worth of over $100 million, primarily as a result of expertly timed stock trades?

You will hear a lot about why Trump is a convicted felon between now and November. But you should really ask yourself why no one is much interested in the more obvious corruption of so many of America’s best-known politicians.

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