Imagine if, following the disputed 2016 presidential election, the recently sworn-in President Donald Trump had sicced his Justice Department, hand-in-hand with allies in Congress and state governments throughout the country, after his Democratic political opponents who maintained that his election was the work of Russian interference.
Although the claim that Trump was a Russian asset was laughably false, and the subsequent investigation into those spurious claims damaged the federal government’s credibility in immense and perhaps irreparable ways domestically and internationally, applying criminal penalties to the promulgation of that theory would have been wrong, anti-American, and contrary to the First Amendment. In keeping with his stalwart defense of American values, President Trump made no directive to the Justice Department to pursue criminal charges against these Democrats.
Similarly, his Republican predecessor allowed Democrats to freely “challenge an election”: Democrats had previously contested the 2000 election by claiming that George W. Bush was “selected, not elected” as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore. A smaller minority contested Bush’s reelection in 2004, alleging irregularities in Ohio and elsewhere.Read More