You can see this double standard at work in a recent court filing by the lawyers for Jack Teixeira, the reckless, self-aggrandizing youth who posted highly classified documents online. He has been in jail ever since his indictment and arraignment more than three months ago. His attorneys argue he should be let out of jail as he awaits his classified documents trial, citing Trump’s release. In contrast, Trump, who stole the most sensitive government secrets and perhaps even monetized the missing ones–search warrants for the Kremlin and the royal palace in Riyadh are in order–rambles all over the country projecting (and lying) that his enemies are doing to him exactly what he is accused of doing. He is even permitted to fulminate, unmuzzled, threatening his foes with violence if he is convicted of his countless crimes and jailed for his transgressions. While we should never make light of the Constitutional right to free speech, viewing Trump’s threats as protected speech is a flagrant perversion of the First Amendment.
The difference between the two, say the courts, is that Teixeira is a flight risk whereas Trump, who flies around on a private plane, is not. Does anyone really believe that if imprisonment loomed, Trump would not skedaddle to Russia, Saudi Arabia—or even North Korea, where he says he is loved?
You can also see the double standard at work among Trump’s prosecutors. The evidence of his misconduct is so obvious and copious that the question must be asked: what is taking everyone so long? It’s been 30 months since he was caught on tape attempting to overturn the 2020 Georgia election results. That case was already a slam dunk when the tape went public. It’s been an equal amount of time since he committed high treason, trying to overthrow the government and cling to power despite being resoundingly rejected by the public to the tune of 7 million votes. Even aside from the Capitol attack and insurrection he perpetrated, there is enough evidence to condemn him to a life in an orange jumpsuit to match his comb-over.
And then there was the fake elector scheme, organized and operated from the White House in the interregnum between the election he decisively lost and the inauguration of the man who trounced him. The double standard with respect to that vile conspiracy was emphasized this month in the indictment of 16 fake Michigan Trump electors by that state’s attorney general, Dana Nessel. She too put Trump above the law by not indicting him, the mastermind of the conspiracy to steal the election. The question must also be asked: why haven’t the AGs in the other battleground states where the fake elector scheme flourished indicted Trump and his co-conspirators?
Assuming that the Trump nightmare will one day be behind us, this double standard of according far more leeway to the powerful than the rest of us merits a careful reassessment. There is no justification for any American to be above the law and cut the slack that Trump enjoys.
Also, Republicans, before you barricade yourselves in the two-tier glass house of cards you have constructed with your incessant lies about our justice system, better set aside those stones.
July 29, 2023