Out of all of the doomsday prognostications about how Donald Trump’s criminal trials were going to get magically pushed past the election, they all have the same fatal flaw. They require Special Counsel Jack Smith to be a complete idiot.
The narratives about how Trump will be able to skate on his criminal trials are all based on the premise that Jack Smith doesn’t know how to build a criminal case, or doesn’t know how the court system works, or doesn’t know how to read a calendar.
First we were told that Jack Smith wouldn’t bring the indictments against Trump in time for them to get to trial. That was absurd. As if a seasoned prosecutor like Smith doesn’t know how long it takes an indictment to get to trial, and wasn’t going to plan accordingly.
Then even after Judge Chutkan set Trump’s criminal trial date for spring of 2024, we were still told that Trump would be able use appeals to delay the start of the trial for as long as he liked. But this would also require Jack Smith to be an idiot, specifically the kind of idiot who doesn’t know how to win an appeal, or how to get an appeal heard in a timely fashion. We do remember that this guy has successfully prosecuted war criminals, right? He’s not a castaway from Gilligan’s Island.
Sure enough, Trump’s essentially final attempt at a delay failed today, when the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected his big “presidential immunity” claim. Trump was never going to win this appeal, and he was never going to be able to drag it out in meaningful fashion. Given that the Supreme Court keeps showing no interest in his criminal cases, Trump’s trial should now get underway pretty close to the original projected start date.
But then, if you were looking at things logically, you already knew all of this was going to play out this way. All of the scenarios involving Donald Trump “getting away with it all” required Jack Smith to be a naive incompetent rube. Today was a reminder that Smith is none of those things – and that Trump does not have a magic wand.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report