Former president Donald Trump was indicted Tuesday on 34 felony counts by a Manhattan-based grand jury, in what Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton on “Washington Watch” called an “unprecedented indictment” of a former president. “The two-tiered system of law that is unfolding here is disturbing and just outright wrong,” said former Congressman Jody Hice, who now serves as FRC’s senior advisor to the president, on “Washington Watch.”
Representative Bob Good (R-Va.) on “Washington Watch” said the “conviction in search of a crime” is a plain attempt to prosecute a political opponent, “like we’re a third world country, or a banana republic, or a communist totalitarian state.” Good pointed out that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg campaigned by “saying he was going to go after President Trump … bragging about how many times he’d filed suit against President Trump before he ran for office. And now he’s trying to make good on that and deliver to his radical left base.”
“They went after this president for some seven, eight years now. And this is what they’ve come up with, a false business charge?” demanded Good.
Professor Phill Kline, who was formerly the attorney general of Kansas, agreed. “This [case] is not being brought because Mr. Trump is a big threat on the loose to America, even though these charges force him to face life in prison. … He’s being charged because the DA doesn’t like him.”
“They’ve turned this president every which way but loose,” said FRC president and “Washington Watch” host Tony Perkins. “Fifty congressional investigations, impeached twice by a Democrat-led House,” he recounted. “Of course, nothing stuck to him because, at the end of the day, there was nothing there.”
This opinion is not exclusively held by those immersed in the details; the crowd outside the Manhattan courthouse reportedly held the same view. Reporter Jarrett Stepman, who was present in Manhattan when the indictment was unsealed, said the sense “from the crowd, even before this came down,” was that the Trump indictment “was essentially a political charge … because of his governing philosophy, because of who he was.”
“This standard [that] is being held to now former President Donald Trump,” Stepman added, “wouldn’t be held to other people.” Days after taking office, Bragg announced he would not prosecute marijuana misdemeanors, public transportation fare evasion, most trespassing charges, unpaid traffic fines, “any violation, traffic infraction, or other non-criminal offense,” resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, prostitution, and outdated offenses.
“To be clear, President Trump’s immoral behavior of the past really set in motion these wheels of political attacks that have been churning for years now,” said Perkins.
But, Perkins added, “if [Trump] would have governed the way he is alleged to have lived prior to being president, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, because the Left would have loved him. But he governed as a conservative, and he put people around him unlike any other Republican president in modern history, who actually advanced a conservative agenda.” Perkins said the Left has made him a target because “he represents a movement.”
“Unfortunately, we have seen increasing weaponization of government against political enemies,” Kline agreed. “You see that with the Department of Justice now and how they’re treating different potential investigative targets based on really their political opinions and positions that they have taken. So, we are creating a two-tiered system of justice in this country.”
“It’s also about scaring folks like you, and me … and every average day Americans and activists who are conservative, Republican, or frankly, dissident liberals,” added Fitton. Last week, IRS agents visited the home of Matt Taibbi, one of the liberal journalists reporting on the Twitter files, while Taibbi was testifying before the House Committee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. “They must fear — rightly so — their personal liberties [are] at stake or at risk as a result of this authoritarian, this totalitarian instinct among the Left to use the powers of prosecutors, all government bodies to try to jail their opponents.”
Hice said that the injustice of this situation should bother Christians, even if Trump’s immoral lifestyle offends them. “God loves those who stand for justice,” he said, “and this is a time where the two-tiered system … is becoming so blatantly obvious to every American citizen.”
“It doesn’t matter your points of view on whatever it is, the law should be applied to everyone,” Hice continued. “Where crimes have been committed, then there should be consequences. But where there is the strong arm of government simply going after political opponents, that is injustice.”
Perkins agreed. “We addressed this when this [scandal] came up, when the president was running for office back in 2016. This does not measure up to the standard by which we like to see as Christians in this country. In fact, I was not an early, early supporter of the president for these very reasons.” But now, he added, former president Trump is being made “a target because of his policies and the way he governed.”
“All of us have fallen and come short of the glory of God,” said Hice, and “every single one of us one day will stand before God, and we’ll give an account of our lives.”
“We understand the love and the grace of God to reach out and forgive us and transform us through giving his Son,” Hice continued, “so let’s keep that hope in mind. … And at the end of the day, God will have the final word over each of our lives. But until then, we are here in a world trying to stand for justice.”
“I can’t vouch for everything the president did,” Perkins said. But now that a man who “took the heat in advancing policies that we advocated for” is under attack, Perkins said he feels an obligation to defend “the rule of law and the fact that there is a disparity here in the justice that he is being denied.”
“I think we need to be passionate. We need to be engaged,” said Perkins. “But I do think we’ve got to be very careful that we do not breach this line of inciting and calling for political violence against our political opponents. I think that’s where we completely lose it as a country.”
Fitton echoed the same concern that the indictment of a former president and current presidential candidate will erode America’s bedrock institution. “This is a rigged prosecution for a rigged election,” he said. It “not only is designed to thwart the exercise of President Trump’s First Amendment rights, but to thwart our right to govern ourselves.”
“Bragg isn’t running the country, and we have to remind him of that. Congress should remind him of that,” said Fitton. He urged Congress to “figure out how much U.S taxpayer money at the federal level is being used by Bragg and anyone else” in New York City and “defund New York to the extent practical. If New York and the justice system up in New York wants to undermine our republic … taxpayers should have nothing to do with it at the federal level.”
“This isn’t ordinary, in terms of our nation’s history,” Fitton warned, to “have an entire movement who’s rejecting the American way, the protection of law, equal protection of the law, respect for election systems, and elections generally. … We don’t use criminal law to just go after our political opponents just because they’re our political opponents.”
Joshua Arnold is a staff writer at The Washington Stand.
EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.
The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.