Start United States USA — Events Pollak: Indicting a Former President over Nonsense Is Playing with Fire

Pollak: Indicting a Former President over Nonsense Is Playing with Fire

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Reports are circulating that federal prosecutors are about to ask a grand jury to indict former President Donald Trump over his handling of classified documents after leaving office. If those reports are true, and prosecutors do move against Trump, it would be the first time in American history that the government had prosecuted the leading opposition candidate. It would also destroy public faith in the rule of law and voters’ trust in democracy.
The documents charges are incredibly weak, from what has been reported publicly thus far. The president has full declassification authority, and there is no formal procedure for declassifying documents. Breathless claims of “national security” secrets, even nuclear codes, being brought to Trump’s estate at Mar-a-Lago turned out to be fantasies. Prosecutors may fall back on charges of obstruction of justice, which seem to be just as speculative.
The double standard is glaring. The Department of Justice let Hillary Clinton evade charges relating to her handling of classified materials. In that case, she kept an illicit private email server in her own home (possibly to hide corrupt fundraising efforts for the Clinton Foundation), erased it, and had her staff smash phones on which her emails were stored, rather than turning over the data and documents to the Department of State.

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