History professor dismantles Trump's claim that investigations into him are 'politically motivated'
Facing a barrage of criminal investigations, former President Donald Trump is making attempts to undermine the credibility of prosecutors' investigations in hopes of salvaging his already-sordid reputation. Now, one history professor is pushing back against those arguments.
In an op-ed published by The Guardian, Heather Cox Richardson, a Boston College history professor and the co-host of NPR's "Freak Out and Carry On" podcast, explained why Trump's arguments are not only reprehensible but also dangerous. She highlighted Trump's remarks made last week when he sounded off about the latest unfavorable legal developments.
Trump suggested Democrats had crafted a smear campaign targeting him as he claimed judges' "hatred" toward him is impacting the fairness of his case; all of which are not true.
The former president claims that “[T]he Radical Left Democrats don’t want [him] to run again,” and, per Richardson, "their targeting of him 'represents an unconstitutional attack on our Country… a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in history.' Finally, he said, 'I can’t get a fair hearing in New York because of the hatred of me by Judges and the judiciary. It is not possible.'”
Trump's arguments in court last week also echoed the claims he'd made in his statement.
"The arguments in last week’s hearing raised a troubling point," Richardson wrote. "Trump sued Attorney General James last December, alleging that '[h]er mission is guided solely by political animus and a desire to harass, intimidate, and retaliate against a private citizen who she views as a political opponent.' In the hearing, Trump’s lawyers continually portrayed James’s investigation not as a valid exercise in protecting the rule of law, but as a political attack on Trump. His lawyers argued that James’s investigation is “selective prosecution” and is “unconstitutional”, and that she is pursuing the case only to hurt the former president before the 2024 election."
Despite Trump's deluded arguments, Richardson pushed back with facts about the credibility of the investigations. She placed emphasis on the judge's response when he denied Trump's claims.
"The judge rejected these claims, pointing out, among other things, that none of the 600 or more documents in the case refer to Trump’s politics; they focus on his financial practices," Richardson wrote. "'In the final analysis,' the judge wrote, 'a State Attorney General commences investigating a business entity, uncovers copious evidence of possible financial fraud, and wants to question, under oath, several of the entities’ principals, including its namesake. She has the clear right to do so.'"
Richardson went on to express concern about the disturbing message Trump and his allies are sending by always describing accountability as forms of personal attack.
"There is a dangerous theme running through these stories," she wrote, later adding, "Trump and his loyalists are setting up the idea that any attempt to hold Trump and his allies accountable for illegal activities – including the attempt to overturn the 2020 election and thereby destroy our democracy – is a partisan attack."
However, she also highlighted the possible adverse effect of Trump's arguments which could prove to be favorable for Republicans as midterm elections approach.
Referring to former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich's previous remarks, Richardson wrote, "While that argument will undermine the rule of law, there is a twist to it: if Republicans can convince their voters that Democrats have engaged in partisan prosecutions of Trump and his allies, the Republicans can justify partisan prosecutions of Democrats as soon as they get the opportunity, just as Gingrich."
She added, 'If this rhetoric works, Trump can undercut legitimate prosecutions, while Democrats will become fair game for partisan prosecutors."
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