What country doesn’t allow the accused to defend himself?

What country doesn’t allow the accused to defend himself?

A 1950s show trial in communist China

What country doesn’t allow the prosecution’s witnesses to be cross-examined by the defense?

What country puts the prosecution’s friends on the jury?

What country allows members of the jury to have made up their minds beforehand?

What country puts on show trials for the sole purpose of persuading everyone that the defendant is surely guilty?

What country allows politicians to put their opponents on trial?

Maybe you said communist China. Or communist North Korea. Or Russia. Or Iran and any of the other autocratic nations run by tyrants.

You’d be right. But you’d also be wrong if you left out the United States.

I have in mind the show trial being put on in the U.S. House of Representatives exclusively for the benefit for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Adam Schiff and the rest of the Democratic lynch mob who see political gains from the so-called bi-partisan hearings into the Jan, 6 riot.

It was obvious from the first of the six “hearings” this past week that it has all the earmarks of a show trial in an autocratic country. The defendant–former president Donald Trump–was not allowed to put on a defense. T’here was no defense attorney present to cross-examine the parade of witnesses the Democrats have called to “prove” that Trump inspired or even planned the attack on Congress.

The “jury” was rigged from the start. Unlike jury trials, only the prosecution (i.e. Pelosi) was allowed to pick the jurors, without the other side present to challenge their bias. Clearly, all the jurors have made of their minds, proclaiming from the first moment (i.e. Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat, and Republican Vice-chair Liz Cheney, Republican–sort of) Trump’s guilt.

Bernie Thompson

It doesn’t seem to bother anyone on the left or in the legacy media that Pelosi refused to allow Republicans to pick members of their own party to sit on the panel. Nor is there much outrage about Pelosi picking the only Republicans to sit on the committee and already publicly condemned Trump for supposedly master-minding the assault on democracy.

But, but, you’re saying, this isn’t a criminal trial. It is a congressional hearing, that has its own, vastly different rules of procedure. Which is true.

And yet. What we have here is a procedure that offends every principle of a fair and just democracy. It is built into our consciousness (well at least in some of ours) that everyone should have a chance to defend himself. That everyone has a right to face his accusers and challenge their accuracy and honesty. It strikes at the heart and meaning of due process, guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to protect every citizen.

Never in this history of the House of Representatives has the majority party imposed such a straight jacket on the minority opposition.

For all the yammering from the left about the right’s threats to democracy (and there’s some truth to that), this show trial is a perfect example of throwing our historic American values into the dumpster.

It’s truly a show trial in which the authorities have already determined the defendant’s guilt, conducted in public as a propaganda device. Perhaps this young generation of wokesters isn’t acquainted with the USSR’s frequent show trials to justify disposing of any bothersome opponent. It reeks of all the arbitrariness of a star chamber,

Those who broke into the Capitol intending to do damage of overturn the election should be investigated and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney General. Just as those among the “mostly peaceful” rioters who attacked the federal courthouse in Portland.

Here I should repeat that I don’t absolve Trump of his responsibility for setting in motion the chain of events that resulted in what I immediately condemned. I think we need to get to the bottom of all such events–not just Trump’s role in it, but Pelosi’s appalling failure to protect the House from the mob, was her responsibility. Did she actually leave the Capitol police to be trampled by the crowd? So too, why Lt. Michael Byrd escaped any responsibility for showing and killing unarmed civilian Ashli Babbitt?

Perhaps someday we can return to (if we were ever there) the idea of objective justice in which everyone has a right to due process and equal punishment under the law.

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