The Democrats' parallel prosecutions of former president and 2024 frontrunner Donald Trump are establishing precedents that could backfire on themselves, according to Victor Davis Hanson, a historian and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
"The irony of this whole mess is that they are prosecuting Donald Trump for election interference, but they're interfering in a way that's never happened in American history," Mr. Hanson said in an interview with EpochTV's "American Thought Leaders: NOW."
"These prosecutors are very left-wing, and they're in left-wing jurisdictions, and they depend on left-wing grand juries and eventually a left-wing trial jury. They're assuming that otherwise, they don't have a good case," Mr. Hanson told host Jan Jekielek.
"I think their point is they're going to exhaust Donald Trump financially," he continued. "They're going to gain him empathy, but destroy him as a viable candidate. And they don't really care if whether all these charges will be thrown out on appeal."
Premature Posting of Criminal Charges
In the Georgia case, a list of criminal charges against President Trump was published on the court's website hours before the grand jury actually handed up the indictment to the judge.
District Attorney Fani Willis shrugged the premature posting as a mere mishap by the clerk of the court system, but the Trump legal team claimed this reflects "the pervasive and glaring constitutional violations which have plagued this case from its very inception."
"The events that have unfolded today have been shocking and absurd, starting with the leak of a presumed and premature indictment before the witnesses had testified or the grand jurors had deliberated and ending with the District Attorney being unable to offer any explanation," President Trump's lawyers said in a statement after the indictment was released.
"In light of this major fumble, the Fulton County District Attorney's Office clearly decided to force through and rush this 98-page indictment."
When asked about this incident, Mr. Hanson said there appears to be a pattern of anti-Trump prosecutors violating legal protocols.
"We've seen that with Merrick Garland," he said, pointing to the attorney general's appointment of Delaware District Attorney David Weiss as special counsel to probe the Biden family's financial dealings in disregard of the federal rule limiting the choice to someone "outside the U.S. government."
"The Department of Justice regulation says that he's supposed to search for an independent counsel outside of government. He just ignored that and violated his own internal rules or guideline," the historian continued.
"And then we saw Alvin Bragg, who really took a misdemeanor and conflated it into a felony campaign violation. Nobody had ever heard of doing that before."
The Georgia case is also setting a precedent that it is considered conspiratorial for a candidate to object to the ballot count or consult campaign lawyers on that matter because otherwise, the lawyers would be at risk of being disbarred.
"But yet that's what [Democrats] do all the time," Mr. Hanson said.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks during a news conference at the Fulton County Government building in Atlanta, Ga., on Aug. 14, 2023. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
"They all tried to subvert the normal ballot, and they changed ballot laws. They changed it so that addresses and names didn't have to be accurate. They extended the deadline way after the election night, [and] that rendered election night irrelevant. And yet, according to these new statutes and this lawfare that was all a conspiracy or racketeering to deny the American people their vote."
A part of the reason Democrats pursue these precedents is a sense of moral superiority, according to Mr. Hanson. "They had declared themselves more intelligent and more superior in a moral and ethical sense than their opponents," he told Mr. Jekielek. "Then that gave them a blank check."
Some leading journalists at legacy media have also taken this route of breaking away with protocols in favor of anti-Trump activism, Mr. Hanson noted.
For example, in 2016, New York Times columnist James Rutenberg suggested that journalists should feel no need to treat the Trump candidacy by "normal standards." He was echoed by CNN's Christiane Amanpour, who told journalists that they can't remain neutral when it comes to topics like President Trump and global warming. Jorge Ramos of Univision also argued that there can be no such thing as neutral reporting on President Trump and his border and immigration policies.
"'We have to be partisan,' they said that openly. All three of them did," Mr. Hanson said. "That was a new journalism that that Donald Trump was sui generis, and he represented an existential threat. So they felt that they were no longer bound by any code of honor or protocols of their profession."
Former U.S. President Donald Trump as he arrives at Reagan National Airport following an arraignment in a Washington, D.C., court in Arlington, Virginia, on Aug. 3, 2023. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
This anti-Trump coalition, according to Mr. Hanson, is relying on the premise that there won't be a Republican president or Republican-controlled Congress that will do to them what they're doing to undermine the nation's top Republican.
"They don't think that a Donald Trump or a Ron DeSantis would ever be elected; and that if they were, they would never appoint a conservative version of Merrick Garland; and that if they did have a Merrick Garland, they would never get a special prosecutor who would go after them; and that they would never end up in a jury in Utah or West Virginia or Wyoming," he said.
"They don't think that anybody would do that to them. And yet that could happen, given the precedent that they're establishing," he said.
"If it gets to the point where people say, 'You can call me racist, call me a homophobe, call me a sexist misogynist, I don't care; you have no credibility. I'm just going to do what has to be done,' then I think the left will be in big trouble."