The Trump Overreach

Terry Schwadron
4 min readMar 24


Terry H. Schwadron

March 24, 2023

All the speculating, unfounded predictions, and pre-trial political fallout involving the first of what appear to be a series of indictments that Donald Trump may face are pointing toward social illness of their own that promises to outlive pending grand jury action.

The impatience on all sides won’t allow us to wait a few days and let the events happen as they will. Instead, we feel obliged to game it all out, as if it is a sports championship match, or worse — in the case of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and his “political weaponization of justice” congressional committee, to try to derail the local prosecutor in the last days before there could be an indictment.

Naturally, as the targeted defendant, Trump himself is well within his rights to denounce his circumstances as they unfold in his own legal defense. Indeed, he should be regarded as innocent of a crime, if not the circumstances, until a jury verdict happens in what well may turn out to be a complicated legal finding.

Nevertheless, he doubled down yesterday on preaching outright against insisting that protests on his behalf be peaceful — inviting not only violence but, well, the kind of crimes that come with violence — even showing himself with a raised baseball bat.

Meanwhile, using his own legal victimhood to raise another $1.5 million in Trump campaign funds has the distinct odor of grift.

Flooding the Zone

We’re hearing from Christian nationalists who are comparing Trump’s self-made legal issues the equivalent of persecution of Christ. We’re hearing ceaseless defense of Trump from Republican leaders who seem to say the opposite in private. We’re hearing the details of a yet-to-happen trial being played out in televised trial balloons by defense lawyers who turn out themselves to have some legal exposure in these events.

Yes, the potential indictment of a former president is unprecedented — as are the series of events being examined as potential crimes by a former president.

But our partisan divides are so great that even the possibility of having to face accountability for past acts under a system of law that promises equal standing of rich and poor, former presidents and peasants, is somehow anathema to the Trump loyalists. Even questioning Trump over his actions in and out of office apparently is verboten.

For the rest of us, the daily news and constant cable talk have become an avalanche of would-be speculation over the details with little actual news — and signifying nothing. As a sign of our over-the-top reaction, television news was carrying reports that the New York grand jury was given a day off as final decisions are being made — as if that was an important development.

In pursuit of protest of one form or another, we’ve lost perspective of appropriate procedures.

‘Weaponizing’ Justice

Picking on one set of reactions may seem selective, but the behaviors of Jordan and two fellow committee chairs to pressure Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg before bringing any indictment (or not) is openly and provocatively partisan.

Hypocritically, it is an expression of the exact kind of government intrusion into justice affairs that Jordan’s “weaponization” committee supposedly was created to root out — apparently except for when the committee inserts itself into a state process that is beyond its juridisdiction.

There has been no move to seek testimony from former Attorney General Bill Barr, who halted New York U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman from pursuing this exact case against Trump after the Justice Department had identified Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator — as Berman has written in a book he is selling.

Norman Eisen, senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institute and government ethicist and two co-authors argue in an NBC essay that the action may well run afoul of the recent Supreme Court decisions that allowed, but limited, its investigative power to engage in law enforcement.

Congress cannot lawfully use its investigative power to engage in law enforcement,” they say. “But we argue that is precisely what these congressmen are attempting by seeking to second-guess and superintend a single specific pending case by a prosecutor. Any move to issue a subpoena demanding Bragg appear in Washington should be viewed as meddling that is both brazenly partisan and probably unlawful.”

In the case allowing a House committee to obtain Trump tax filings, the Supreme Court noted that the “congressional power to obtain information is ‘broad’ and ‘indispensable’ but limited to inquiries related to a legitimate task of Congress.

Any move to subpoena Bragg is likely to be held as unenforceable.

This move by Jordan lacks that kind of legitimacy and is built around grievance that a legal move is being taken by a state official.

Any move to subpoena Bragg is likely to be held as unenforceable.

We can project there will be a similar move in Georgia, where more criminal charges are under consideration, or even towards the Department of Justice if and when it acts on at least two separate Trump inquiries.

Protest is good. Protest on behalf of a political candidate is fine. Bending the rules to use congressional power to halt the gears of local justice is not. Calling for your supporters to overturn justice by posing with a baseball bat — way over the line.