Are Trump's criminal charges election interference?


Fact Box

  • Donald J. Trump served as America’s 45th President from 2017-2020. Before serving as president, Trump was a well-known media personality and business mogul. 
  • Upon leaving office in 2021, President Trump has been indicted (formally accused) on several criminal charges. These indictments occurred just a year before the 2024 election and followed Trump’s re-election campaign announcement in November 2022
  • As of August 2023, the four indictments against Trump are for alleged falsification of business records (with the trial set for March 2024), alleged mishandling of classified government documents (trial began August 2023), alleged federal interference in the certification of the 2020 election (no trial date set), and alleged interference in the 2020 election in Georgia (no trial date set). Reportedly, the potential prison sentences of all the indictments together adds up to a maximum sentence of 717.5 years in prison.
  • Banana republic’ refers to a government that operates more like a commercial company, where profits from an export are its bottom line. Banana republics are not functioning republics since their citizens have no sovereignty or control of the state through representatives. This term is now used to describe “scenarios of corruption, repression, and failures to control executive power.”

Curtice (Yes)

One thing that separates banana republics and dictatorships from functioning democracies and republics is that leaders of the former have no qualms about criminalizing their political opponents. The repeated indictments of Donald Trump--the leading opposition candidate to President Biden--represents banana republicanism in a big way. 

In appearance, and even in fact, the news of impending indictments, or actual indictments against Trump, have surfaced almost immediately after bad news hits the Biden administration. The intent is clear--to eliminate Donald Trump as the biggest challenge to Joe Biden's re-election. This, in fact, has been telegraphed by many Democrats, who care less about whether or not Trump is ultimately found guilty of any charges but instead would be content to have him unable to run for president against Biden.

Classified documents have been found unsecured at Biden's personal residence, office, and elsewhere, yet the Department of Justice has looked the other way. It's hard to see this as anything other than a case of selective enforcement. And if someone wants to talk about inciteful comments, perhaps one should start with Maxine Waters, who urged protestors to 'get more confrontational.' Not surprisingly, these comments never seemed to ruffle any feathers--perhaps because Waters is a Democrat.

Despite having no criminal record, Trump has been hit with repeated indictments, and the reasons are clear. One needs to look no further than the personal negative comments prosecutors and their families have made regarding Trump in the past and the arguably biased appointed judges tasked to handle the cases. And perhaps most damning are the politicians and commentators suggesting that charges could be dropped if Trump only exited presidential politics. This is clearly election interference. 

Andrew (No)

It is deeply ironic that former President Donald Trump and his allies are claiming the criminal charges against now-candidate Trump are election interference since some of the charges involve Trump’s own attempted election interference. Our justice system relies on cold, hard facts in the sober light of day, not spin, histrionics, or Twitter tantrums. Trump stands accused of wilful retention of documents, obstruction of justice, and many other serious crimes; the American people deserve to have the facts examined neutrally and justice be given.

Former President Trump is not even the Republican nominee yet. Though he is far ahead in polls and maintains a stranglehold on the GOP, the election is still over a year away. There is simply no reason not to examine these charges ahead of the election. Justice delayed is justice denied.

Trump’s indictments were not brought lightly. They have been put together by high-ranking professionals in the justice system who may be staking their careers on the line by attempting to find justice for the American people. Less than half of one percent of federal cases that go to trial find defendants acquitted; in other words, federal prosecutors don’t take chances on flimsy cases. Further, federal grand jury indictments carry a very high standard of proof to proceed.

Donald Trump claimed to be a law and order president. Like every other American, he is bound equally by the law, and if he is innocent of these charges, as he claims, he should walk through a speedy and public trial with his head held high into likely future political success. This is not election interference; this is, as Republican rival Will Hurd said, “[Trump running] to stay out of jail.”

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