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County Hall Corner: The Beginning of the End?

Decades from now, researchers will be trying to figure out how the United States went so far off the rails in the mid-2020s. Without any doubt, we are living in historic times. Never in two and a half centuries of our democracy has one party denigrated an opposing person from the opposite party as the Democratic Party has done with Donald Trump.

Four different cases appeared in 2024: federal indictment on classified document charges in Florida (40 counts), federal indictment for election interference in Washington, D.C. (4 counts), RICO racketeering in election interference in Georgia (13 counts), and the recent trial for falsified business records as part of a scheme to pay hush money (34 counts).

And if this was not enough, more than 30 states filed cases based on the Fourteenth Amendment to keep Trump off the ballot, period. This had to do with a novel legal theory that this amendment disqualifies anyone who took an oath defending the Constitution and then subsequently participated in a rebellion or an insurrection (January 6th, get it?) That particular one was so ridiculous that in March of this year, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously (!) against Colorado using this to disqualify Trump from the ballot. This essentially killed that idea for the other states as well.

Never has a presidential candidate, and a former President for that matter, ever seen as much vitriol thrown at him as Donald J. Trump. He was impeached by the House of Representatives twice while in office as President, once for utilizing Russian interference in the 2016 election and the other for instigating an ‘insurrection’ on January 6, 2021. In the first one, the “Russian interference” turned out to be instigated by the Clinton campaign, not Trump’s. The second was a part of the “January 6th Worst Day in American History” mantra.

Nothing in our history has ever seen such a blatant attempt to win an election through what has become known as ‘lawfare.’ All four of those charges were purposely pushed to this year, even though they could have been tried earlier, in some cases years earlier. All of this just to be able to put in front of Trump’s name — “convicted felon.”

The charges could go one of two ways. First, Trump could go to jail. Judge Juan Merchan has chosen July 11th to sentence Donald Trump for his 34 federal convictions, which could be as much as a one-year prison incarceration. By an amazing coincidence, that date just happens to be four days before the Republican National Convention, where he is expected to become the official Republican Party nominee for President.

The second would be if the Supreme Court were to step in based on the violations in that recent trial. The jury was anything but impartial, starting with Judge Merchan himself, a Biden donor and father to a Democratic Party consultant. Among the 34 federal indictments, 23 of the 34 “hush money” counts could not be traced to Trump, and beyond that, there was nothing to “hush.” The “hush” related to Stormy Daniels’s hours of testimony had nothing relevant to the charges; the only purpose was to be inflammatory. And when Trump’s lawyers objected, they were always denied. Judge Merchan allowed one witness in Trump’s defense, attorney Robert J. Costello and he was consistently admonished by the judge to the point that he was even warned about rolling his eyes!

What makes all of this even more disgusting is the one way this arc of justice goes. Why is it that we never heard any more about the cocaine that was found in the White House? Someone had to be responsible, and are they still in the White House? What about the unprecedented leak in the Supreme Court of a draft of Justice Alito’s opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision? Crickets on that one, too. Is there any justice coming as a result of the humiliating flight from Kabul that took the lives of 13 American service personnel and the abandonment of $50 billion in weapons to the Taliban terrorists? Or the recent embarrassment of the failed $320 million Gaza pier that lasted two weeks and managed to injure three US Service members? These and a stack of other offenses are infinitely more important and impact our country than business records and nonexistent election interference issues.

These truly are historic times. The phrase “crossing the Rubicon” is an idiom that means “passing a point of no return.” Its meaning comes from the crossing of the river Rubicon by Julius Caesar in early January 49 BC. At the time, Rome was a Republic, and it was forbidden for a general to bring his army into Rome itself. Yet Julius Caesar wanted to create an empire, so he crossed the Rubicon, which started a five-year Roman civil war. At the war’s end, Julius Caesar was declared dictator for life. As dictator, Caesar presided over the end of the Roman Republic and the start of the Roman Empire. Yet he went too far and was murdered by his friend, Brutus.

Sadly, our country has seen a crossing of the Rubicon, and may God help us all.