It’s official: America is a Third World country.

Don’t let the industrial prowess and atomic weapons fool you. Haiti and Honduras have nothing on the U.S. regarding a legal system that the ruling party hurls like a harpoon at its opponents and holsters on behalf of its friends.

Masons should chisel quotation marks around the words in marble above the entrance to the U.S. Supreme Court. Equal Justice Under Law is now purely sarcastic.

Consider the radically different treatment afforded 2016’s presidential nominees.

Republican Donald Trump is in a heap of trouble, thanks to Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. On April 4, Bragg indicted Trump on 34 felony counts of first-degree falsification of business records.

Bragg accuses Trump of reimbursing his then-attorney Michael Cohen for paying porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money to conceal an affair that she has claimed, and Trump denies. Her silence helped Trump become president. Bragg further contends that “each check was disguised as a payment for legal services.”

Luckily for Trump, Bragg’s indictment is emptier than a punch bowl of helium.

Bragg accuses Trump of violating Penal Law §175.10—a Class E Felony. According to New York criminal law, beyond the gravest Class A felonies, “A prosecution for any other felony must be commenced within five years after the commission thereof.”

The 34th and most recent charge in Bragg’s indictment cites Trump’s check dated Dec. 5, 2017. So, this alleged crime’s statute of limitations lapsed on Dec. 5, 2022. Bragg’s other charges expired even earlier.

Can Bragg count to five?

All 34 counts connect to an “intent to commit another crime.” What is that second crime? Who knows? The indictment does not say. Without that second crime, Bragg is like a man with 34 sticks of dynamite and no lighter.

Rather than a landmark in criminal justice, Bragg’s indictment is the quintessence of copy and paste. Essentially, the same paragraph appears, but with unique dates for each of Trump’s checks. This equals 11 alleged felonies, from February through December 2017. The corresponding invoices add 11 more charges—never mind that Cohen submitted them to Trump, which should make Cohen culpable. Twelve attendant ledger entries round out Bragg’s 34 charges.

Let’s see if Bragg now will indict a killer with six homicide charges—one for each bullet he unloads from his revolver into his victim.

Bragg clearly drafted his indictment with crayons.

Never mind!   

In an unprecedented scenario, the former president of the United States spent April 4 in Manhattan criminal court getting arraigned, fingerprinted, and dragged before Judge Juan Marchan, a Biden donor. Trump now faces massive legal bills and relentless migraines as he fights these charges between now and a Dec. 4 preliminary hearing, two months before the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. What priceless ammunition for Trump’s rivals.

So, what befell 2016’s Democratic nominee for strikingly similar conduct?

According to the Federal Election Commission, Hillary Clinton’s campaign “paid $175,000 to Perkins Coie for what was alleged in the complaints to be ‘opposition research done by Fusion [GPS].’ Respondent reported the purpose of payment to Perkins Coie as ‘legal services’ on its disclosure reports.”

The FEC further “found probable cause to believe that Hillary for America” broke the law by “misreporting the purpose of certain disbursements.”

Those “legal services,” in fact, financed former British spy Christopher Steele’s fictitious dossier that tarred Trump as a Kremlin stooge. Clinton cash launched the three-year Russia hoax that cleaved America with an ax. Half the country thought Trump served Vladimir Putin. The other contracted laryngitis while refuting those lies.

So, what punishment did Clinton endure for funneling six figures to her lawyers to smear Trump, sway the 2016 election, and then shroud her evil with bogus bookkeeping?

As the FEC’s Feb. 22, 2022, Conciliation Agreement states: “Respondent will pay a civil penalty to the Commission in the amount of eight thousand dollars ($8,000) pursuant to 52 U.S.C. § 30109(a)(5)(A).”

Also, “Respondent agrees not to violate 52 U.S.C. § 30104(b)(5)(A) and 11 CFR § 104.3(b)(4)(i) in the future.”

That’s it. As FEC attorney Richard L. Weiss declared: “The Commission closed the file in this matter on March 25, 2022.”

Clinton then jetted around, signaled virtue, and relaxed in her Chappaqua, New York, mansion without a care in the world.

In other words:

At least eight months of legal hell for the Republican.

An $8,000 fine and serenity for the Democrat.

One nation. Two justice systems. Third World status for all.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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