Donald Trump, NC GOP Convention
Former President of the United States Donald J. Trump delivers remarks at the 2023 North Carolina State GOP Convention in Greensboro, NC on June 10, 2023. Photo credit: © Kyle Mazza/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire

In the case of the stolen documents, the justice system is rigged in Donald Trump's favor to an almost comical degree.

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Following the indictment of former President Donald Trump for hoarding classified documents like others collect Pokémon cards (with the difference being that nobody stashes Pokémon cards next to his toilet), one Republican after another went on TV or social media to lament that there is a “two-tiered justice system” in the US and that Trump is being treated differently. They are absolutely right.

However, while their assertion is that the system is somehow rigged against the former president, the opposite is true. Any number of times, if he had not been a rich white dude with connections who can afford pricey lawyers, his crimes would have caught up with him a long time ago.

This case is a perfect example. Per the indictment, which seems more credible than Trump’s assertion that he could declassify any document by merely thinking about it and wiggling his nose, the former president knowingly took classified documents, didn’t return them when asked, lied about it, tried to hide them from the people who were supposed to retrieve them, and showed them to guests at Mar-a-Lago so he could feel important.

If a regular person had done any of these things, they’d likely end up in prison.

Trump, however, may not.

Even though this case places him in the greatest legal jeopardy that he has encountered during a lifetime of criminal activity, there are still many ways in which he can escape meaningful accountability once again. 

Yes, today’s arraignment is an important milestone, but there is still a long way to go before he faces any real consequences.

And all of the stumbling blocks that Trump can use to trip up Lady Justice one more time also demonstrate how, contrary to what you might hear on right-wing news, the system specifically favors him.

In other words, if every single American had committed the same crimes, Trump is the least likely to be punished for them.

That starts with Aileen Cannon, the judge who has initially been assigned the case. Not only did Trump appoint her, but she has also made some controversial rulings in his favor in the past that left legal experts scratching their heads.

If she presides over the trial, Cannon could become an invaluable ally for the former president. She could, for example, exclude evidence or simply help Trump’s legal team delay the proceedings, which is one of his favorite strategies.

Let’s say that delaying tactic is successful. Then, Trump may be spared if he or another Republican wins the White House and works through the Department of Justice to kill the case. That isn’t supposed to happen, but neither is a former president supposed to steal classified documents and use them as party props.

If there is a trial, it will end up before a jury. Here, too, Trump has unique advantages. He has a cult-like following of millions, so if any of these people makes it onto that jury, there is virtually no chance of reaching a unanimous decision against him.

And even if a jury member isn’t one of Trump’s most rabid supporters, simply being a consumer of conservative media might make them irreparably biased toward Trump because it stands to reason that Fox “News” et al. will inundate their audiences with an endless stream of propaganda claiming that the former president is the victim of a witch hunt.

But let’s say the case is taken from Cannon and given to a non-biased judge, and the delaying tactics are unsuccessful, and an open-minded jury finds Trump guilty — that still doesn’t mean he will actually go to prison or stay there for a long time.

That’s because it seems quite possible — and likely even — that he will end up getting pardoned.

Given Trump’s penchant for inciting violence, a conviction would almost certainly involve some sort of unrest.

In that case, even a Democrat — especially someone like Joe Biden who yearns for bipartisanship — would feel compelled to spare Trump jail as long as he tells his supporters stands down, and it goes without saying the next Republican president would have to set him free.

So, yes, justice isn’t blind… but time and again, it has been turning a blind eye to Trump.


  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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