Trump’s Prosecution Endangers US Political System – Analysis
By Xia Ri
On the afternoon of April 4, former U.S. President Donald Trump appeared in the Criminal Courts Building in Lower Manhattan. With 34 felony charges of falsifying business records, before the Manhattan District Attorney and a grand jury, Trump refused to plead guilty. As early as March 30, a grand jury in New York State voted to indict Trump on criminal charges, marking the first time in U.S. history that a former President has faced such charges.
No U.S. president has ever been brought to trial, even in events such as the Watergate scandal, Iran-Contra Affair, or the “Zippergate” scandal. It is said that the only incumbent President to have been arrested and taken to a police station as a defendant was Ulysses S. Grant, who was stopped by police for speeding, but he left after paying a USD 20 fine. In 1974, Republican President Richard Nixon was forced to resign due to the Watergate scandal and was later pardoned by his successor Gerald Ford. In 1998, President Bill Clinton reached an agreement with the prosecutor in which he admitted to providing false testimony in the investigation of the “Zippergate” scandal, and in exchange for not being prosecuted, he gave up his law license for five years and paid a USD 25,000 fine.
The actions of the Democratic Party and President Joe Biden carry obvious political motives. As the establishment party, the Democratic Party is willing to break the existing political system at any cost to ensure Biden’s political security and win the next election by putting Trump in legal trouble. According to a CNN poll, 76% of Americans believe that political factors played at least some role in the grand jury’s decision to indict. Speaker of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy said he felt “very sad and concerned” over the indictment of former President Trump, implying that the indictment was politically motivated.
In the opinion of ANBOUND’s founder Kung Chan, the Democratic Party and President Biden have chosen a very risky path, creating an extremely dangerous precedent that could lead to a cycle of political retaliation. The Democratic Party cannot keep the government in its own hands forever. Once the Republican Party returns to power and gains administrative power, it is entirely possible for them to use U.S. law to settle scores with the Democratic Party or the Biden administration, following the example of the Democratic Party. CNN also pointed out that the historical tradition of peaceful transfer of power in the U.S. may be broken. Trump has rooted his campaign in the narrative of political persecution, promising to retaliate against his opponents if he is elected president again.
According to the Constitution, the presidential elections of the U.S. are held every four years. “Stepping down” is a regular corrective mechanism inherent in this electoral system, and there is no need or necessity to prosecute through legal procedures. Each President can exercise executive power according to their own party’s way of doing things. Even if a President performs poorly in office, they are still expected to end their term in office by “stepping down”, and the next President has the responsibility to correct the mistakes of the previous administration. It is precisely this cyclical corrective mechanism that has ensured the continued operation of the U.S. government for hundreds of years and America’s prosperity and strength. Otherwise, the U.S. would undoubtedly encounter various political, economic, and social problems and ultimately decline.
The U.S. civil service system ensures that they support the president in fulfilling their term responsibilities. An error by a U.S. President is not a personal error, but an error of the entire administrative system behind the President. This means that even if Trump really made a mistake, it must be a failure of the entire U.S. administrative system, even involving thousands of government officials. Since a conviction in a New York state criminal case requires the unanimous agreement of all 12 jurors, it will be difficult to expect that none of the 12 jurors are Republicans or Trump supporters and ultimately reach a consensus. Therefore, the final outcome of this case is likely to be dismissed, and Trump will not be imprisoned for such a minor offense. However, prosecuting a President is extraordinary. Whether or not Trump is convicted, the prosecution will still result in significant issues.
Final analysis conclusion:
The U.S. presidential election system has an inherent mechanism for correcting errors on a regular basis, and there is no need or requirement to prosecute the President through legal proceedings. The decision by the Democratic Party and the current President Joe Biden, to bring former President Donald Trump to the court is not a wise choice but rather sets an extremely dangerous precedent. Whether or not Trump is ultimately convicted, this breaks through the U.S. political system and will cause enormous problems for the peaceful transfer of power and the judicial system in the country. This will be recorded in the annals of American history.
Xia Ri is a researcher at ANBOUND