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Trump's indictment

Does it really make sense to prosecute Trump?

“He probably believes he discovered penicillin.” Tom Pennington/Getty

Here’s the paradox around Donald Trump’s “deepening legal jeopardy”, says Gerard Baker in The Times: it’s perfectly reasonable to think both that he’s a crook, and that the charges against him are a “grave injustice”. Yes, his role in trying to overturn the 2020 election was “indefensible”. But his prosecution rests on the idea that he knew he was lying – and proving that would require “truffling through the rag-and-bone jumble” that is Trump’s mind. Besides, his “ego is so large” he probably did believe he had prevailed. “He probably believes he discovered penicillin and wrote Chopin’s Piano Concerto No 1, for that matter.” The decision to prosecute a well-known madman for floating “madcap ideas” – particularly as federal investigators delve into the “murky business dealings” of Joe Biden’s son, Hunter – is “legally dubious and politically reckless”.

But at least it demonstrates that “the rule of law still matters”, says Daniel Henninger in The Wall Street Journal, and that’s nothing to sniff at, given what’s happening elsewhere. Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner mercenaries, for example, operate in clear violation of international laws: plundering gold, diamonds and timber in Africa; refusing to adhere to the “standards of modern warfare” in Ukraine; attempting a coup back in Russia. Prigozhin, a “limitless cynic”, is sending a message: “Grow up. The world is returning to survival of the fittest, and all your rules be damned.” Authoritarian leaders often seek to discredit liberal democracy by highlighting badly behaved Western elites. By holding Trump and Biden Jr accountable for their actions, the US is proving it is still a “credible example” of the principle of equality before the law.