Jim Crawford: It’s not a witch hunt

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 11, 2023

Do you believe in the American legal system of judges and juries protecting and enforcing our laws?

 If you do, there are some facts you should know about presidential candidate Donald Trump. If you do not, you are most likely Republican and willing to bend the curve of justice as far as necessary to exonerate Trump from any accountability to our laws.

 Do you think that a US president should have respect for the laws of the country? Do you think a president or ex-president should be above the law? 

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How you answer these questions should not be a political response, but rather a reflection of how stable and trustworthy you find the American form of government.

 Would you say an individual has respect for the law if they defrauded a charitable foundation and stole money from a children’s cancer fund, resulting in a $2 million fine and disallowed to operate any charitable fund ever again?

 Would you have respect for the law if you were guilty of defrauding students at Trump University and forced to pay $25 million in settlement money to the cheated students?

Would you consider it respect for the law to deny a civil jury verdict that found you liable for sexual harassment, sexual battery, and character defamation?

Would an individual respect the law if they paid hush money in a sex scandal and falsified campaign records to conceal the payoffs? Would it reflect justice if your co-conspirator was convicted and given a three-year sentence and you claimed it was a “witch hunt” if you were to be held legally accountable for those same actions?

As president, should you be exonerated from campaign finance violations for welcoming Russian help in the 2016 election — an election where a Republican-led committee found extensive communication with Russian officials, Russian intelligence agents and Russian nationals to the extent of over 140 proven contacts? 

Should you, as president, have acted to obstruct an investigation into these matters, with at least 10 examples that could have led to criminal charges had the U.S. Department of Justice not had a policy that would not charge a sitting president?

 Was it ethical, as our president, to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate your political opponent, Joe Biden, in order to receive congressionally-passed military funding?

Was it ethical for Trump to ask his attorney general, William Barr, to arrest his rival presidential candidate, Joe Biden, 26 days before the election of 2020?

 And this week, with Trump facing charges in his alleged attempt to steal highly classified US documents, including a war plan against Iran, is it really justified to call this simply a witch hunt? 

Is it persecution to seek to enforce the laws designed to ensure our national security? Or is it an egregious crime on the part of a man who knows the danger of having such documents out of secure storage to protect our methods and personnel who risk all to gather this knowledge?

Trump also faces potential charges for the Jan. 6, 2021 capitol riot, charges that could include obstruction of justice and seditious conspiracy. Additionally, he faces potential charges from the state of Georgia for his alleged attempt to coerce the Georgia Secretary of State to “find” 11,700 votes to overturn his election loss there in 2020. 

Do our laws matter, or is it acceptable to you to overlook whatever charges may be presented, without examining the evidence, as superficial?

Some of our Republican friends in Congress are today promising to cut funding to the Department of Justice and the FBI for investigating their leader. They are not examining facts; they are not weighing the importance of our laws; and they are not considering the seriousness of the possible remaining charges.

It is not a witch hunt.

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.