“Show me the man,” Lavrentiy Beria boasted, “and I’ll show you the crime.”
It took nearly a century. But this mindset eventually migrated from Moscow to Manhattan.
The grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, CNN reports, voted to indict former President Donald Trump on more than 30 charges related to business fraud.
Bragg pledged to not prosecute laws against trespassing, prostitution, skipping a subway fare, and resisting arrest. The unstated flipside of selectively ignoring laws involved wielding criminal charges against individuals in violation of laws not passed by any legislature but instead imagined by woke district attorneys.
The former president’s votaries scoff at the idea of this case succeeding. Manhattan voted for Joe Biden over Trump 85 percent to 15 percent. The former president does not face a jury of his peers. He faces a jury of seething partisans. This feels par for the course.
The Obama administration unleashed the surveillance state to spy on Trump’s presidential campaign in a maneuver unprecedented in any place where the rule of law prevails.
Courts opted to reflexively view cases against Trump as those extreme instances in which the violation of attorney-client privilege represents no violation at all.
The same Justice Department that hushed for months any talk of Joe Biden holding onto a cache of classified documents turned the raid on Mar-a-Lago for the same offense into a made-for-TV spectacle.
Here we see a district attorney weasel around the statute of limitations and the federalism that forbids a local official from prosecuting a federal case.
Pundits evoke the historical gravitas of this, noting that no president ever endured indictment. This isn’t exactly true. Officials in Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, El Salvador, Mauritania, Myanmar, Panama, Botswana, South Africa, and other Third World nations dragooned former presidents into court in recent years.
A one-party dominion in New York now joins them, and in doing so joins the United States to an ignoble tradition foreign to thriving republics and thriving in foreign banana republics.