Trump isn’t a victim of the system. He’s one of its primary beneficiaries | Opinion

Donald Trump and his supporters are right. The Department of Justice has interfered in elections far too often. In fact, the DOJ helped Trump win the presidency in 2016.

The DOJ twice interfered to the benefit of Trump. In July of that year, FBI director James Comey announced Hillary Clinton had not committed a crime. Defying DOJ protocol, he went further.

“Now let me tell you what we found: Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” Comey proclaimed.

Eleven days before the election, when polls showed Clinton clinging to a small lead, the FBI director intervened again, announcing a reopening of the email investigation despite being warned by a young DOJ lawyer he’d be handing the White House to Trump. Days later, he revealed it was a false alarm, that there had been no new evidence after all. It was too late. Clinton’s lead had evaporated, and Trump became president while losing the popular vote by a few million.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigated Trump’s ties to Russia. Though falling short of saying a conspiracy had been established, the Mueller report outlined numerous incidents of wrongdoing by Trump — things no other campaign, Republican, Democrat or independent, had done — but that Mueller had decided not to break a long-standing DOJ tradition of refusing to indict presidents.

Within the past few weeks, yet another special counsel took a public dig at yet another Democratic candidate, painting President Joe Biden as an ”elderly man with a poor memory,” despite once again finding no evidence of a crime. Now we are learning an FBI informant had been secretly working with Russian officials to lie about the president and his troubled son Hunter Biden. You read that right. On the FBI’s payroll was a man helping fuel Republican fever dreams about alleged criminal activity by the Bidens that never occurred.

“What the American people are seeing and what I hear on the ground here in South Carolina, is they see a two-tiered system of justice, a double standard, one for Donald Trump, and one for everybody else,” Rep. Nancy Mace of Charleston recently said on Fox News.

Sen. Tim Scott has been singing from the same song sheet, along with a bevy of Republican officials and voters, that Trump has been treated differently. They’re right. He has been. Despite overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing throughout his adult life, only now is Trump being charged or convicted of things such as fraud and being civilly held liable for rape.

Trump’s power and influence kept him out of prison when those without his wealth would have been behind bars long ago. The calls to let voters decide are just the latest effort, unintentionally or not, to ensure that Trump remains above the law, in effect claiming the judicial system isn’t a legit part of the democratic process.

It’s just that those making that case, not only Trump defenders but those looking for a middle path out of the mess of Trump’s creation, don’t apply that standard to the poor and downtrodden, people who are subject to the harshest sanctions from our “justice” system even when they can’t get people to raise tens of millions of dollars on their behalf the way Trump has.

More than 5% of Black would-be voters can’t cast a ballot because of our system. In Florida, nearly a million people are ineligible to vote because they can’t pay court-ordered fines. But Trump can become president again while facing multiple felonies and despite the Colorado Supreme Court and a district court judge finding that he incited a violent insurrection.

Trump isn’t a victim of the system, but rather one of its primary beneficiaries.

Issac Bailey is a Carolinas opinion writer for McClatchy.