Jonathan Chait Thinks It's No Big Deal That Trump Is The Victim Of Political Persecution—Because Trump Deserves It
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Blogger/law professor Ann Althouse, who started as a centrist Democrat, quotes Jonathon Chait in New York Magazine:

Many global heads of state of democratic countries (France, Japan, Israel, etc.) have gone to prison.... The incongruity of the Manhattan case as the venue for Trump’s legal humiliation is that it did not represent his worst crimes, or close to it. The case was always marginal, the kind of charge you would never bring against a regular first-time offender. It was the sort of charge you’d concoct if the target is a bad guy and you want to nail him for something. This, too, is not without precedent. Al Capone’s conviction for tax evasion is the paradigmatic example.... The legal ramifications of this weakness will play out in some indeterminate, possibly terrible fashion.... Life isn’t fair, nor is the legal system....

She responds:

Possibly terrible.... It’s obviously terrible. It’s only a question of which form of terribleness lies ahead.
So Chait is openly saying the the legal system isn’t fair and Trump was convicted for being ”a bad guy.” You want us non-haters to just accept that, as if it’s a form of world-weary sophistication? No, you will have to bear the weight of the consequences of persecuting a political opponent. You should not get off easy.

Chait [Tweet him] feels that Trump has done worse things, and should be convicted of more, but he’s basically OK with this:

Incredibly, he invokes the fear that somehow Trump will use the powers of the government against his enemies:

  • “Once he ascended to the presidency, Trump’s criminality only grew. He issued illegal orders constantly, flummoxing his staff. He attempted (with unrecognized partial success) in turning the powers of the Justice Department into a weapon against his enemy, which was in turn an expression of his criminal’s view of the law: as an inherently hypocritical tool of the powerful against the weak.”
  • “Trump may win the election, come to power, and quash all the remaining cases. In that case, his Manhattan prosecution could well stand out as a weak-sauce gesture, one he and his allies cite as their rationale to harass Trump’s enemies with spurious charges.”

Noah Pollak said people would say this—he may have missed Chait (and probably others) saying it already:

In 2019, when Democrats in Congress were trying to get Trump’s returns to use for political purposes, I wrote On Trump Tax Returns, Democrats Are Doing What Nixon Was Being Impeached For TRYING To Do.

The late Richard Nixon thought, while he was in office, that the IRS and the Justice Department should go after some of his enemies, many of whom, to be fair, were also America’s enemies.

From articles voted on in Congress in 1974:
  • He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposes not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be intitiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.
Emphasis added. Note that Nixon ”endeavoured,” but did not succeed in using the IRS against his political enemies. Why did he think this was a possible tactic for a President to use?
To quote David Frum’s book about the 70s ”...although nobody ever proved any political connection, it is an odd coincidence that private citizen Richard Nixon was audited three times between 1961 and 1968.”
See more on the long tradition of Democrats doing this here or in Victor Lasky’s 1977 book It Didn’t Start with Watergate.
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