by Conrad Black
There is already a very discernible pattern to the developing presidential election campaign, although there is a widespread inability or refusal to recognize it. The campaign to portray Donald Trump as a thug and a compulsive and recidivistic lawbreaker is not succeeding, while the gradual disclosure of the corruption of his enemies and in particular the Biden family, is accelerating and gaining momentum every week.
The only case against the 45th president that authentic criminal law experts who are political opponents of Trump but reasonable people, such as Alan Dershowitz, Andrew McCarthy, and Jonathan Turley, seem to take seriously are some of the counts in the Mar-a-Lago documents case.
I don’t profess to be qualified to judge the merits of each count, but I don’t think ex-presidents of the United States, given all their powers and prerogatives, can be convicted of crimes as a result of haggling about documents, and dilatory procedures should push the trial beyond the election anyway.
The country shows no disposition to decide the election on the basis of what Mr. Trump did with some documents that he had a right to possess and declassify and there is clearly a large and growing feeling that he is being persecuted by a corrupt and carefully calibrated partisan manipulation of the power to prosecute.
This is causing him to appear for the first time as a doughty underdog rather than, as his enemies have delighted in portraying him, and in which he has sometimes been unintentionally cooperative, a blustering bully. He wears this change well, and it is not an act.
On the other side, the phrases that Mr. Trump’s enemies so much enjoyed falsely applying to him, such as the “drip, drip, drip” of scandal causing them to claim that “the walls are closing in,” have for some time applied to the Bidens.
Candidate and President Biden’s endlessly repeated claims that he knew nothing of his son’s business dealings and never discussed business with him, have gradually been reformulated by facts adduced with excruciating difficulty to suggest that the then-vice president and his son each took a straight $5 million bribe from Ukraine’s Burisma Energy Company to withhold $1 billion of US assistance to Ukraine until the chief prosecutor in that country, Viktor Shokin, was dismissed.
That was as Mr. Shokin was on the verge (he now claims) of getting to grips in his investigation, with the Biden role with Burisma. Of course, the famous benefit of doubt which the press have generally withheld from Mr. Trump, must be granted to the Bidens, but the evidence to date is damaging.
It is reprehensible but understandable that those who toiled so furiously to vilify and defame Mr. Trump are extremely reluctant to awaken to the vulnerabilities of the president whom they elevated in his place. And it is also understandable that many people are disappointed and even incredulous that Mr. Trump might be the beneficiary of this startling exposé of the Bidens’ apparent licentiousness.
Mr. Trump does not enjoy a Lincolnian reputation for uprightness; he broke an agreement to preserve a historic facade in building Trump Tower, allegedly employed illegal Polish migrants at sub-union pay grades in the construction of it, and inflicted on the public a series of exercises in unutterable hucksterism, from the preposterous “Trump University,” to his health plan, which consisted of quarterly urinalyses and vitamin pills. It isn’t hard to see why many people would be reluctant to see Mr. Trump benefit from the deepening Biden legal quagmire.
Though the Republicans found the midterm election results last year a disappointment, the fact that they regained control of the House of Representatives by a very narrow margin is all that has really cracked the glacial cover-up of Biden influence-peddling in which the former attorney general, William Barr was complicit and which the current attorney general, Merrick Garland, has imposed on these apparent larcenies.
It is hard to see the so-called special prosecutor, the United States attorney in Delaware, David Weiss, as other than a patsy for the Bidens. He allowed the statute of limitations to expire on some offenses, and attempted to gain court approval of an outright whitewash of Hunter Biden. He pretends that he will be more aggressive as a special prosecutor than he was in his five years of inertia as U.S. attorney that preceded that designation.
Mr. Weiss’s notice of intent to indict Hunter Biden on the side-issue of denying on his application for a gun permit that he had a drug problem, looks like it is just a tokenistic effort to distract the public from the real issues: apparently naked bribes to the elder Mr. Biden.
The country will soon be seriously disconcerted not just by the cupidity of the first family but by the depth of the rot in the Justice Department. The tireless efforts and deluge of subpoenas from the House of Representatives oversight committee seems to have unearthed troubling findings in an FBI report in June 2020, which the FBI director, Christopher Wray, has desperately attempted to keep secret.
That report concluded that Hunter Biden and his father each received $5 million for the vice president’s intervention to dismiss Mr. Shokin, a matter Joe Biden subsequently boasted about as if it were a disinterested and triumphant promotion of integrity of government in Ukraine.
There is no reason to doubt the present trend will continue: damaging information about the Bidens will be dragged out, as in James Joyce’s famous description of a religious confession: “sluggish and filthy.” And the country, with varying degrees of reluctance, will conclude that Mr. Trump is being sandbagged by partisan accusers abusing their offices.
The Biden administration set out to destroy President Trump with spurious accusations, but is being undermined by the steady production of evidence of their own wrong-doing. The last stand of the Trump-haters is that both Messrs. Trump and Biden are too old and that both should go.
Having managed to elect Mr. Biden in place of Trump, they are appalled and embarrassed at the consequences and want to call the game a draw. Problem is that neither man is too old. Mr. Biden is clearly losing his faculties and Mr. Trump clearly is not.
Age, it turns out, is a substitute for more serious issues. One assumes that the Democratic powers who installed Mr. Biden will persuade him of the virtues of retirement, but whatever happens, the Democrats have cackled too loudly and too soon: they will soon be facing an uphill fight against an imperishable Donald Trump.
First published in the New York Sun.