Other voices: Trump’s day in court must come before the 2024 election

16 July 2023

Let’s ask a simple question: should any credible presidential candidate be allowed to commit crimes unperturbed, no matter their severity or how flagrantly, openly and unapologetically they’re committed? Should a presidential candidate be able to, in effect, shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and have that dealt with only after the election?

In court filings attorneys for Donald Trump and his valet Walt Nauta suggested yes, calling for their trial in the classified documents case to begin after the 2024 election. The correct answer, obviously, is no, an answer everyone seems to agree with so long as it applies to a candidate they oppose.

Trump’s most strident defenders, who screech that the former president — who in full public view attempted to overturn a democratic election and faces significant evidence that he willfully and illegally retained incredibly sensitive classified documents — is being targeted for his political activity have seemed all too happy to push investigations into Joe Biden’s unproven and far more tenuous supposed involvement in his son Hunter’s alleged misconduct.

What exactly is the endpoint of Trump and his sycophants’ position? That if a presidential candidate can in fact be conclusively proven to have committed egregious crimes against the public, the voters should only learn about it after they send him to the White House? It’s an absurd contention on its face, and like all else in Trumpworld, it’s driven not by principle but by grubby self-interest, the one governing tenet of this domain.

This is without even considering that, contrary to Trump’s farcical claims, the undisputed champion of executive meddling in prosecutorial decision-making is Trump himself, having pardoned multiple cronies and even toyed with the idea of attempting to pardon himself if he becomes president again.

Let the trial commence when the parties are ready, between the judge’s suggestion of next month and the prosecution wanting December. Then let the public see the allegations meticulously laid out. It won’t necessarily make a difference for millions of voters unfortunately firmly under his spell, but we all deserve to see justice through regardless.

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